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!