Up For Debate - Are you more likely to pre-order a game if its a huge download?

Written by Stuart Thomas on Thu, Dec 26, 2019 3:43 PM

Pre-ordering digital games always felt like a fairly futile endeavour. Stocks are unlimited, there is no need to pre-order games in the way we used to. But times, and our demands, change. 15 years ago we used to pre-order games so we could play them on the same day they came out. Now, games are pre-ordered so fans can play the very minute they unlock. We want it and we want it now is the prevailing consensus.

Still, digital game pre-orders have historically been the domain of the immensely impatient. Whoever’s pre-ordering Cyberpunk 2077 a year before its launch needs to give their head a wobble. Why on earth would you want to deposit cash in a publishers’ bank earlier than required? 

But a new phenomenon has now occurred. Phenomenon is probably too strong a word when talking about exploding game sizes but the bottom line is games are now 100 times bigger than they were 15 years ago. It’s not uncommon for a AAA title to be far in excess of 100GB and with the next-gen consoles right around the corner, it’s only going to get worse.

Suddenly, the convenience of digital is beginning to evaporate for those without ultra fast net connections. It’s absolutely quicker for me to get a bus into town and buy a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 than it is for me to download it, and by some margin.

Which is where pre-ordering comes in, or, more particularly, pre-loading. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may be huge but, knowing we had a week to download it ahead of launch, doesn’t this now lend a genuine advantage to pre-ordering? Those who pre-order a digital game could now potentially be days ahead of those who buy on launch day.

It means with these big tentpole releases there’s a tangible advantage to pre-ordering - the ability to download a huge game and have it ready for launch. Which brings us round to the question: knowing that a game is a 100GB download, are you now more likely to pre-order (and pre-load) it compared to if it was a 1GB download?

Our favourite comments:

Nope, I don't even bother considering download size when buying games. I generally for the most part stick to waiting for reviews, because you really don't know what you are actually getting. And with every pre-order you basically just incentivize developers to not bother with quality, since they already have your money anyway. It really undermines reviews and stuff.

Seth22087

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18:44 Jan-10-2020

Digital pre-order, with very few reliable devs, can be considered by the player only if he get something substantial in return included in the price and a discount.
Phisical pre-order is just a dumb decision that, 80 %, will only feed the used market.

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18:04 Dec-29-2019

I don't care about the download size. My internet is fast enough, RDR2 took 30 or 40min to download. Since I don't care to play the usually broken games on minute1 of launch - things like the download size don't influence my purchasing or pre-ordering decision whatsoever.

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20:55 Dec-27-2019

Nope, I don't even bother considering download size when buying games. I generally for the most part stick to waiting for reviews, because you really don't know what you are actually getting. And with every pre-order you basically just incentivize developers to not bother with quality, since they already have your money anyway. It really undermines reviews and stuff.

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20:58 Dec-27-2019

But then again, I am no saint and I definitely did pre-order games from franchises I would buy regardless. Though I do this less and less. Partially because my faith in AAA is kind of low and that is for good reason. Though usually some red flags are there, you can get situations where there are very few warning signs before disaster on release. Not every game can be Fallout 76. :-D

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20:59 Dec-27-2019

So I would rather wait big download after release, then having option of pre-loading, just to find out that game is garbage or they have server issues for whole week... And beside that, if game is good, I won't miss out on much anyway, since people will stick around for a long time. And if they don't, maybe there is good reason for me not buying the game at all.

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20:50 Dec-27-2019

I think it depends more on ones connection speed. I get like 55MB/s if I download a game from Steam so it's not a big deal for me to download a 100GB+ game. But I know there are many other ppl with slow connection speed or download limits.

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13:26 Dec-27-2019

I remember people going to the game shop at luch to get the new CoD or Fifa game and play the whole afternoon on their console. I only wished I had a console or a more powerful pc back then

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08:40 Dec-27-2019

seeing how devs treat game releases (day 1 patches, bugs, broken games, overloaded servers etc..) I don't see a reason to pre-order a game, sorry

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10:18 Dec-27-2019

No reason to be sorry.

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07:29 Dec-27-2019

I don't remember any game having a must-have pre-order bonus. If it's a singleplayer oriented game I don't see the point in rushing with a pre-order to pre-load since you're not competing with others and if it's an online game you don't lose so much edge by waiting 1-8 hours to download, hell, even if you get the game the second day...

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07:02 Dec-27-2019

I'd rather wait for a big download rather than paying for a broken game
coughs RDR2

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10:19 Dec-27-2019



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05:53 Dec-27-2019

User reviews matter for me more, so no pre-order. Also there are games that many like but I might not (Skyrim, Fallout 4 to name a few).

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09:49 Dec-27-2019

The user reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt as well. The same way you say there's games many people like, but you might not, there might be games many don't like, but you might. Or dislike a little less than the rest. A majority in any domain does not mean something is good for everyone

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03:53 Dec-27-2019

No, and if game size is too big i just ask my friend to download it.

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01:48 Dec-27-2019

Never, I always wait for user reviews (not IGN, GameSpot, etc.) before buying. Game day-1-patches are now too common, it gets on my nerves.

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23:46 Dec-26-2019

Short answer: No!
Long answer hell no, im glad physical media is no more.

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10:20 Dec-27-2019

Amen to that.

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22:53 Dec-26-2019

I've upgraded my internet to 300 Mbit/s just recently and it took me about 15 minutes to download 15GB Halo: Reach from steam. There's still problem with downloading a game with many small files.

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22:37 Dec-26-2019

I fail to see why you would pre-order, even if the internet you have is slow, it's pointless either way.

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07:32 Dec-27-2019

For me, pre order or buying after review/day one makes no difference if i really want to play the game. I will play it no matter what. If pre order give me bonuses or a discount, then i'll take it.

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15:20 Dec-27-2019

Same, but I would still not pre-order.

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12:22 Dec-27-2019

Nah if you've been waiting for a game for months and your download speed would force you to wait another couple of days when everyone else is already playing it's easier to just preload it a couple of days in advance.
You can just refund it if you don't like it, what's to lose?

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15:20 Dec-27-2019

Why does it matter if other people are playing it and you are not?

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21:49 Dec-26-2019

I mean when I still had my awful 250kb/s internet until a few weeks ago, definitely - unless it's just "too big" which generally was everything over 25GB or so. Now that I got 100mbit/s that's no argument in most cases, thanks to steams refund policy it really shouldn't matter though. If you don't like it, it doesn't run or you feel ripped off in any way you can always refund it.

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21:03 Dec-26-2019

Hard to say but to be honest, I highly doubt I ever will.

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20:24 Dec-26-2019

pfffft no.

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19:41 Dec-26-2019

Nope, never prerecorded anything.

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19:15 Dec-26-2019

A couple years ago yes, it's why i bought GTAV on release day on discs (was 20€ cheaper as well lol), but now having 1gbps internet connection it doesn't bother me. RDR2 preordered took me 20mins or so to download onto the SSD.

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17:43 Dec-26-2019

The only way I will preorder a game is if it comes with a preorder bonus I actually care about that cannot be obtained in game and I know the game will be good. I have plenty of drives and a 1gbps wired connection so storage/bandwidth are a non-issues.

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