Up For Debate - Do you normally pre-order games? And has that changed recently?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Jan 30, 2021 5:00 PM
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Games are made to make money. As much as we like to think it’s about providing a transformative experience, or delivering a poetic message, at the end of the day it comes down to money, which leads me onto distribution. Marketing is the main way for studios to get their game into your eyeballs, and statistics prove the more they shove into your moist face balls the more likely you are to purchase said product.

However, pre-orders are another form of marketing: a way to get your money and almost guarantee a sale before it has even launched. Companies would even entice gamers with special pre-order bonuses so that customers are more likely to pre-order the game than wait a few months down the line for a sale, hoping to snag on your FOMO.

But recently, and mostly due to the pandemic, it seems as though more and more publishers are rushing to get their game out the door before it’s even finished, and I’m not even talking about that one (you know what I’m talking about). In fact, when asked whether you feel as though games are rushed out the door more than usual these days, a staggering 276 of you voted for “Absolutely”, with “Some Games” and “No, same as usual” trailing behind at 34 and 4 votes each respectively.

So there’s a general consensus that games aren’t exactly up to their best standard when they're released. But a big reason as to why could be attributed to pre-orders, and how studios will still make a boatload of money whilst releasing their product early.

Cyberpunk 2077, one of the biggest launches of last year, was under a lot of scrutiny for being a very buggy and generally unfinished release. Yet it made all it’s money back in 1 day thanks to pre-orders alone, of which there were a whopping 8 million.

There is, of course, Early Access, which provides a game early to consumers in order to try and get as much Beta testing and feedback done before a full release. This usually comes with some benefits like (obviously) early access to the game, a cheaper price (usually), some special rewards for taking part in the early stages of development. 

It also allows players a bit more leeway when it comes to the gameplay and state of the game as, well, it’s Early Access and therefore not finished yet. But with a full release of a game you expect a finished product on launch day.

So it’s clear that pre-ordering games are still very popular and make lots of money, but has your viewpoint of it changed recently? Did you used to pre-order games before but now you don’t? Was it because of CP2077 or something else? And is Early Access better than pre-ordering? Let’s debate!

Do you usually pre-order games like Cyberpunk 2077?

Has your view on pre-ordering games changed recently?

Does pre-ordering have a negative influence on the gaming industry?

Is Early Access better than pre-ordering?

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11:12 Feb-01-2021

video gaming changed... ALOT

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15:58 Feb-01-2021

It took a turn for the worse, imho.

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21:53 Feb-02-2021

Agree with both of those statements. The whole market in general has gotten a lot worse in the last few years especially. On all platforms it seems.

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16:17 Jan-31-2021

I'm pre-ordering even if it's the same price as on launch day, if it's a title close to my heart. Probably because I've lowered my expectations in general so even CP2077's launch was very little problematic for me (despite the bugs which in my case were only ridiculous or aesthetic rather than game-breaking).

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15:03 Jan-31-2021

Pre orders lost all meaning,it was only useful when buying physical copies of games that were in a shortage. Digital pre orders are used to scam gamers.

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10:14 Jan-31-2021

While i has absolutely enjoyed and loved Cyberpunk 2077, i think it will be the last game i pre-order in a loooong time. Despite the game being good in my eyes, i won't deny what a mess the launch of the game have been. And it has definitely opened my eyes to what a mess games can be a launch.

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10:07 Jan-31-2021

People pre-order games? Whaaat

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09:28 Jan-31-2021

I preorderd cyberpunk 1.5 years in advance because I had 30 euro's worth of discount coupons in the 2019 steam sale and didn't know any other game wanted to buy.

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05:37 Jan-31-2021

Pre-order is only acceptable if include a huge discount over the final price.

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00:24 Jan-31-2021

I dont even buy games, let alone pre order them xD

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01:21 Jan-31-2021

Ahh yes you have the moral high ground of not spending any money on any game by travelling the seven seas. /s

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09:10 Jan-31-2021

not buying games doesn't necessarily mean pirating them I got over 20 games from giveaways by giveaway communities and another 20 or more from giveaways by developers or game stores like humble bundle and all this on steam and without counting the epic game store giveaways and other stores giveaways.

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10:29 Jan-31-2021

In my case its a little bit of both, i do sing some shanties from time to time however most of the time i play one or two games, right now i play R6 which i paid like $5 a year ago and SW BF2 which epic gave away a few weeks ago

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01:03 Feb-01-2021

Notice the /s

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10:19 Feb-07-2021

the P word LOLOLOL

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23:06 Jan-30-2021

Well, pre-odredring is one of bad habits I do practice occasionally, with games I would buy anyway, so I might as well pick up pre-order bonuses and early headstart with downloading. But I don't do it often, though Cyberpunk 2077 definitely surprised me in very negative way. But it didn't change my stance on pre-ordering, though to be fair, you could count my yearly preorders on one hand and...

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23:08 Jan-30-2021

... still have fingers left. But I won't pretend to be this white knight of anti-pre-order I am not. Still practice is terrible for industry, since it is in a way throwing away reviews and just saying how you don't care about quality of the game, just want to give developers your money before you had chance to see a product. Basically you are buying promises.

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23:09 Jan-30-2021

So basically why would they bother with quality, if you will just buy it before you had a chance to see if it is even worth it. So I definitely always advise against it, even if it is advice I should listen to those few times per year. So do what I say, not what I do, I guess. :-D

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23:11 Jan-30-2021

As for early access, I personally believe it is better thing, since it is game you can see and read early access reviews for. While it is only promise of game that will eventually get finished and might never actually see release. At least game being in early access is way more honest about it and you know what you are buying. It is up to you if you want to risk it, based on early reviews.

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21:58 Jan-30-2021

When im excited for a game ill probably pre order it. But if i see enough things like dont pre order it or the game is not that important to me ill usually wait to see. Also the pre order rewards can change my mind.

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20:51 Jan-30-2021

Only pre-order when I am dead certain that I want to play the game regardless of reviews. Usually an incentive if there are pre-order related content provided , otherwise for most games, i would just wait until the game was out to make a decision.

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18:48 Jan-30-2021

There's a few games I have pre-ordered in the past and I will definitely consider it in the future if the price is really good. Some games are cheaper in some regions if you pre-order them due to games initially being set to recommended Steam price.


That's how I got Mafia Definitive Edition for 11 USD and it's currently 46 USD in my country, which is 15%/$6 more expensive than in America.

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18:03 Jan-30-2021

I preorder games that I definitely wanna play, games that I've been waiting for for months.
Why would I wait? With a preorder you usually can download it before release, and if the game sucks I can refund it on steam.

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17:13 Jan-30-2021

my last preorder game was starcraft 2 wings of liberty, yes that far and it wasnt even preorder :D. Back then i didnt get what it was my friend always told me to order it and i will have a discount and i was like nah. I was like the day the game releases i will wake up early, yes early and buy the game. There was 1 other random person with me, but he wanted WoW monthly subscription.

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17:15 Jan-30-2021

and after that i bought COD black ops and it was my first steam game which i got my steam account stolen 3 times and the last time my friend have bought my account and didn't had access to it. At least they refunded his money, xD

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