Are pre-order incentives worth it?

“And your total comes out to $63.60, and while you’re here are there any games out there that you were looking to pre-order?"
     Pre-orders have been around for about a decade. The service that we as gamers are oh so familiar with. Putting down 5 dollars or more to reserve that new COD title that isn't coming out for another month or perhaps just reserving it in order to make sure you have a copy. Maybe you just really want that limited edition Pip-Boy Watch? Yes we all so easily put down a deposit on an up and coming title but do we ever stop and ask ourselves the question “are pre-order incentives worth it?”.

The PUBLIC HAS SPOKEN! Just kidding but the few people who did vote on our blog mostly voted no. For those who are not informed in the process of pre-ordering here is a quick rundown. Pre-ordering is a service offered by many retailers such as Gamestop, Amazon, Best Buy that allow consumers to pre-purchase a video-game ahead of its release window by either depositing a portion of the retail price, usually five dollars, or paying it off completely. Upon making pre-order for a video game the consumer would also get some type of bonus content. Sometimes you may get a collectors item and other times, you will receive digital content exclusively available to consumers who pre-ordered. These bonuses are known as pre-order incentives. So basically you hear about a new game coming out and you want to either get the pre-order incentives or just secure a copy of the game, you go to the nearest retailer to pre-order or do it online, then Boom! You have officially pre-ordered a game. That’s great!!!!... Right? Well after some research I have found an answer that may answer if pre-ordering is a good investment.


With pre-ordering there are many sides to the argument of whether it is worth it or not. Reasons spanning from “I want to ensure that I will own a copy before they sell out” to “the pre-order bonuses are never good enough for me to pre-purchase a game”. Gamers that agree with the method of pre-ordering also argue that spending the extra money for a game you were already looking forward to, doesn't hurt. Another argument was that digitally pre-purchasing a product allows consumers to pre download so that they can start the game as soon as it is released. It's like a cherry on top when they are gifted extra content as well. On the other hand arguments against pre-orders are pretty convincing as well. Merchandise and bonus content are not enough to entice one to purchase the game early. Some also say that it's not a big deal to wait a day or two if the copies were to sell out and that if one is patient enough, within a couple of months one could purchase the same game to up to 50% less than the price on release date.  
Released 6 months ago and already half Hype train over. 

With the reviews and opinions of consumers being so equalized I turned to other blogs and forums to see what they had to say on the matter of pre-purchasing games and their incentives. I even started a reddit post which received over 27 comments! (That's a lot for us okay so stop. Join the conversation here!) What I discovered is that they unanimously agree that pre-ordering a game is not worth it, and here were there reasons why. Pre-ordering was initially used as a means to secure a copy of a big title that was going to be released. With today's digital age, there's no real reason why you shouldn't be able to acquire a copy of your game. Pre-ordering has now become a way for retailers and companies to gauge sales of that game, as well as to get the consumers hooked before fully purchasing the game to ensure that they will come back to complete the purchase. The idea of pre-ordering has devolved into an illusion that sells product security to unsuspecting consumers.

With most retailers of these games, pre-ordering is encouraged and they do this by throwing all this extra content in your face. Pre-order incentives are usually spread across multiple retailers who all offer different "extra" content. Wal-Mart may offer you the Christmas festive camo pack, while Gamestop gives you the Zombie Armor add-on. As Non_Causa_Pro_Causa said on reddit, pre-order incentives seem to be anti-consumer.Are we suppose to pre-order in all five locations to enjoy the entirety of our game? Now with sales being as competitive as they are, having proprietary "extra" content, that can only be obtained through a specific retailer, has become a mainstream way of advertising these video games. If the pre-order incentives found at these different retailers are powerful enough to change the experience every gamer has, should you be supporting a developer that is willingly and purposefully excluding content to extort their customers?
"Exclusive" pre-order bonus

Many of the people who responded to the reddit post, said they would only pre-order if there was some type of monetary discount. Besides that reason, it doesn't make sense to support a game before knowing anything about it. Consumers have nothing to gain by guaranteeing a sale to a developer unless they do it to show support. 

People just don't think it's worth it

Now after looking over these forums and blogs and comparing and contrasting the pro’s and con’s I have also come up with my own opinions of pre-ordering and their incentives. First thing is first I myself have pre-ordered plenty of games and I am even planning on preordering a copy of Fallout 4 so I have been through this process plenty of times. I can say with 100% assurance that pre-order incentives has never fully enticed me to go a pre-order a game. To decide on pre-ordering a game it is usually determined by my excitement or passion for that game. If there is a tile that is coming out that I have been waiting to be announced for months or years in the making then I would most likely decide on pre-ordering that game. Aside from that reason there aren’t many other reasons that I would want to pre-order a title. Money is always a factor. When you look at it financially you most likely will end up spending more money when pre-ordering a game. What starts out as five bucks down turns into you deciding to buy the season pass and just to be safe an extra two dollars for that one year warranty, all on a game that you may or may not enjoy fully. There is also a possibility of pre-ordering a game from a retailer like Gamestop and later on deciding that you don't want the game anymore, but you keep forgetting to go back and cancel the preorder and just have your deposited money sitting there never to be returned to your wallet. Finally I just want to say that these “incentives” are never really worth it. Yeah an orange tiger camo skin for your assault rifle seems cool now, or yeah this spartan helmet looks awesome on my desk, but overall these DLCs and collector’s items are never really worth it. These bonus items never add much to the overall experience of the game, they are short lived, and at times seem unnecessary to the game.
The latest title that exemplifies "short-lived" DLC with the Bat Girl story line 

Now with all that said back to the question at hand “Are Pre-order incentives worth it?”

When looking over the facts and also the opinions of the general public of the gaming community we can determine that pre-ordering a game is 9 times out of 10 not worth it. Add-ons, DLCs and collectibles did not play a major factor that swayed the other 10% into pre-purchasing a game. So to conclude this post next time you're asked  “Are there any games out there that you were looking to pre-order?"  maybe answer with, “No it’s all right”.

Written by Samuel Dorsainvil

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A group of passionate gamers who are tired of seeing entertainment being marred by big companies and corporations. We're here to give the perspective of average gamers like yourselves and give you worthy content! With a team of passionate and talented writers, Undiscovered Gaming is striving to become one of your favorite places for your gaming content. Thank you for the support!

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