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Monday, January 26, 2015

Preorder Blues

Hey guys. First off, I'd just like to say thanks for reading this. Its a little weird for a post, but then again no subject is really too weird for me to talk about. I've probably talked about this subject before but apparently no one has listened considering it needs to be pointed out again.
Video games are really the only system that ever does this. Sure, you can argue with things like Amazon, paying upfront for an item to be delivered at a specific date, but even then you don't actually purchase said item till it is within a certain vicinity of being delivered to its final destination. For instance I've ordered three items and I've been charged for neither of them as of late. Preorders are the equivalent of putting your jacket on a chair in the movie theater to save a seat, but instead you left about 5 bucks. Of course there's a whole bunch of things that can go wrong with basically reserving a game for yourself. For instance in the case of the latest Duke Nukem game (topical reference, right?), the game came out fifteen years later. While GameStop handled it well enough, still accepting these decade old preorder slips in, its not always the case like right now where Best Buy is cancelling some preorders for the new Majora's Mask 3DS.
But I'm not really going to talk about the practice of this, rather going to talk about preorder bonuses. Its... weird. I'm more on the positive side of this fence. Prepurchasing a game gives incentive as well as extra income to show how well liked the game is or just how much people are excited for said game. In terms of triple A companies and titles, this is little more than a few extra numbers on their sales. In terms of indie games, this can be a huge bump. Okay, so how do we get people to preorder our game or at least give a greater incentive to do so? Preorder bonuses. Special content given 'free' to those dedicated customers that shelled out a few extra bucks for us. You can't see it, but I'm giving a thumbs up. This is a really cool idea. Personally, the best in my opinion is the season pass. YES, season passes are becoming less than... great. Its basically saying, "We are going to make you pay more for the full experience of this game." But in another light, its more saying that "We are making those who bought are game a bit happier with the realization that there will be more content on the way." Most of my reviews detail the first few hours of a game. Mostly because I feel that's because those few hours are really supposed to be what the game represents. You wouldn't continue eating something that tastes bad, so I shouldn't have to slog through a bad game because there's this one thing that totally redeems it in the end. Also I'm not that well known so a review copy is less likely for me, but whatever. Basically, I'm not hugely affected by wishing for more content other than, "I like this game past the review I did and I would still like to play more of it."
My negative point with preorders are lockouts. Basically, I have this game but I don't get that small little bit of content that was promised before hand. You may say that the incentive goes further to make sure that you preorder it again, which I tend to agree. However, that is a stupid business practice. Its like if you ordered a hot dog but the guy asked if you wanted some relish or mustard. You said no and started eating. After the first bite you change your mind and offer the vendor some more money to get some relish. A) Since you've taken some of the hot dog, he now has to put less relish on it but you are still expected to pay full price for the extra. B) He in turn makes more money or at least the same amount as you would have given him before. Refusing me is just a poor business idea.
Some companies do this better than others. EA recently made it possible for those who didn't preorder Dragon Age: Inquisition to get the content offered if you preordered the game. You may say that EA is putting profits first and I would say... yes. Its also sensible. Other people can now get this content for a small and reasonable fee, thereby making it so everyone can play at the same level or have the same amount of play and experience as others. I preordered Dying Light and they did something that is incredibly stupid. They've locked out some major content for those who don't preorder. Now I'm not talking about some weapon, schematic or skin, no this is an actual game mode for the game. This is... insane. They've made no comments as to why this is or if the content will be available later for free or purchase. Essentially now, if you don't preorder the game within a few hours of when this post will (hopefully) be posted, that means you will not have a major part of the game. This is not a new thing. Metro Last Light did the same thing with Ranger Mode. Basically, you were locked out of a few things IN THE GAME like an alternate difficulty. The only difference is THAT was available as paid DLC day one. As messed up as that sounds, this is worse. You've basically just been locked out of a game. This is not some special edition with added content, no special bonus, this is a part of the game cut out.
Will I be playing Dying Light? Of course. Will this reflect my view of the game? Eh... maybe. Its a poor business practice and pretty stupid. So if Dying Light is a good game despite this, they've basically made a few potential buyers have to do a double take. If its a bad game, then essentially its a bit worse considering they're trying to bleed a few more bucks just to make some money back on their bad game. I hope this isn't a trend that continues this year, or at least gets a little better. Say give us the option to buy it later for a sensible price. It gives you more money and it gives us more content. Its a win win.

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