Up For Debate - Pre-Ordering Games Before Their System Requirements Are Revealed

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Apr 6, 2019 4:00 PM

Picture the scene. You’re about to go on holiday so you book an expensive flight to the sunkissed beaches of Seychelles. You rock up to the airport already wearing your skimpy swimming trunks, only to be told you can get only get on the flight if you’re below 4 foot 3 inches tall. Once you’d established they weren’t joking, you’d probably feel at least a little aggrieved.

Which brings us to the weird and not-so-wonderful world of digital game pre-orders. I don’t know why people do it, and I won’t pretend to know, but a ton of people do pre-order PC games on digital stores long before they’re even due to come out. Quite often, as well, you can pre-order a game, and pay upfront for it, before the developers have even released the system requirements. Publishers have potentially zero idea whether a game will even run on your PC, and yet they’ll gladly take your $60/$90/$120(!) upfront.

What ultimately led me here was none other than Borderlands 3, a game with a potentially eye-watering price tag, no system requirements information whatsoever, and Epic Store exclusivity. At what point does it seem a good idea to throw down £85/$100 on a blind pre-order?

And yep, the holiday analogy was on the extreme end of the scale, but it still seems pretty odd that at least some predicted system requirements aren’t put up alongside pre-orders. To just give us something to go on, at least, when we’re about to spend upwards of $60/£50.

In some stores, it ultimately doesn’t matter too much. Steam, for example, will give you a no-questions-asked refund on a pre-order once the system requirements are made public. Epic has recently updated its refund policy to allow for pre-order refunds provided you aren’t “abusing the system”, but until that point, users could be locked into pre-orders.

To me though, it just ultimately seems a little strange that it is possible to spend money a game while still being utterly uninformed about its hardware demands or performance. For those with beastly PCs it probably doesn’t even enter their minds to think about something like this, but for those teetering on the edge in terms of performance, pre-ordering without even knowing the system specs sounds like madness.

So, do you hold fire from pre-ordering a game until you’ve seen the system requirements? Do you even pre-order at all? Let us know below!

Would you buy a AAA game not knowing the system requirements?

Do you pre-order digital games?

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23:37 Apr-08-2019

I have olny preordered 2 games in my life:GTAV and Watch Dogs, the last one was a dissapointment so i wont ever preorder again.Wait 100 arican dollars for the standard version of Borderlands 3?

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16:54 Apr-08-2019

the Latin American version has to be made by Yayo Guridi

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16:42 Apr-08-2019

The only reason to preorder could be if they sell it for half the release price.

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15:12 Apr-08-2019

Why the hell would you pre-order in the first place!!????

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05:37 Apr-08-2019

I think even a 750TI and any other maxwell card and above not kepler due to drivers lol will run all games on the market with optimised settings. So you would have to be running an absolute potato not to be able to run a game you pre-order.

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05:39 Apr-08-2019

Hell I would be surprised if my Vega 56 cant run Borderlands 3 at 4k with optimised settings with it being a cell shaded game it should be on par with DOOM 2016 on requirements.

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20:19 Apr-07-2019

The last game I pre-ordered was DOOM and that was at a GameStop.
I won't pre-order anything else without a review, hardware included (except for my work desktop).

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17:35 Apr-07-2019

I do not preorder anymore, 'been disapointed everytime i did.

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11:09 Apr-07-2019

The issue is not how it will perform. If you have the most amazing game running at 30 fps ultra 1080p then you can argue it is worth it. The question is how polished the game is and how the gameplay is. For 60 USD I need to see footage.

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10:53 Apr-07-2019

NEVER pre-order. And yes that was NEVER so no "but CD Project RED and Cyberpunk is-" NO! NEVER!

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08:56 Apr-07-2019

I was a pc gamer for 11 years and not once did I bother with system req. I was always able to afford high range hardware though, but still, I never found system requirements to be helpful or even representative of the game's performance.

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13:11 Apr-07-2019

I agree. Had plenty of cases where I was able to play a game even tho my rig didn't meet the requirements.

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01:46 Apr-07-2019

Those that have powerful rigs don't have to care, and those that don't have to (provided they aren't sheep).

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23:29 Apr-06-2019

I do not worry about requirements anymore. But i do worry about the quality of the product i will be buying lol.

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23:10 Apr-06-2019

Not in a position to worry about minimum requirements yet, but if I were I would definitely find out first, though it's not difficult to lowball a good spot as to where they'd lie, within reason.

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23:02 Apr-06-2019

Problem of pre-ordering is not in not knowing requirements, it is in not knowing what you will buy, it is in giving up right to read independent reviews, it is basically paying developer regardless of whether they make good product, so they don't have to try, problem is that you are buying based on marketing material.

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23:04 Apr-06-2019

And marketing material will of course show you game in best light, in whole CGI and designed sequences, approved by marketing to sell most copies. Especially before reviewers can tell you why not. Because then they don't need to worry or care and they can just slap roadmap on it... that always solves everything. :-D

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23:06 Apr-06-2019

As for requirements, depends on whether you have low end or older system. For my build, I don't really have to look at requirements, it will run anything on 1080p with good quality preset, even if that is not ultra, which isn't worth performance hit anyway. But it really depends on your PC, as mentioned.

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23:08 Apr-06-2019

Which is why checking requirements is definitely recommended. Unless you are a man with i9 9900k and RTX2080Ti. That man doesn't have to be afraid of any system requirements... :-D

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22:49 Apr-06-2019

With my specs as they are, I never really worry about it. I have a faulty GPU so I have to run most things on low anyway, but I've never had a game I can't hit 60 fps in on some level of detail.

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22:35 Apr-06-2019

With pre-ordering it is more of a trusting that developer to release games without bs - that's why only game I've ever pre-ordered was Witcher 3 which I never regret, I might consider doing the same with Cyberpunk.

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21:19 Apr-06-2019

I once preordered a game I couldn't run but luckily I was got a new PC before it released.
If I still had that PC I wouldn't preorder again as it'd be really annoying to have bought a game you can't even play.

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21:18 Apr-06-2019

I dont think borderlands would be that demanding except if you use physix which is cool but at the same time it eats your gpu

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20:55 Apr-06-2019

Was pre-ordering through a key site but recently the launchers have been changing after they first advertised them as being on Steam.

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20:29 Apr-06-2019

I pre-ordered twice


Far Cry 3, which was a good pre-order


and then Watch Dogs 1, which ended up as a terrible pre-order! I never pre-ordered after that trash!

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Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
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100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX 540X 2GB Mobile 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-4670 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti EVGA Gaming 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2080 EVGA XC Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 7 4800H 8-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB 8GB
| High,
Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Palit Super JetStream 16GB
33.3333% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-11700K 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 32GB
75% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-4770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 6GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II 2GB OC Edition 16GB
57.1429% Yes [7 votes]
Pentium Dual Core B960 2.2GHz Radeon HD 6950M 4GB
25% No [8 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB