The Struggles of Gaming: Why Pre-Order?

Hello guys and gals, I hope you’ve all had a great January so far. This year starts a brand new round of video games, which will be a chance for some developers to redeem themselves (DICE), some to draw attention seemingly out of nowhere like that one girl who got surprisingly hot over the summer before high school (Tango Gameworks), and others to stick to their game plan (no pun intended) and tweak their formula enough to keep players engaged (Treyarch). This year looks promising for everyone so far, and I’m excited.

My first post of the year is the first of a series I’m fiddling around with: The Struggles of Gaming. I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting for this series, or how many topics I can even come up with that could fit into this category. I just know that I’ve decided to leave the news writing (more important stuff) to those on the team who are more experienced, and that I’ll stick to editorials a little longer while I still play around with news on the side.

The Struggles of Gaming is going to work just about how you might think it would. If I notice a certain issue that makes me wonder how many others have the same problem, I’ll post it here along with my thoughts on the issue. Discussion is always welcome, so feel free to express any agreements (or disagreements) you may have with what I say. While the problems themselves may be factual, anything else I say is highly opinionated. So, let’s get started, shall we?

I have a friend who says he has stopped pre-ordering games altogether. He’s had enough of pre-ordering games that get a lot of hype only to be disappointed and left feeling screwed over. After what’s happened with games like Brink and Alien: Colonial Marines, I believe we can empathize. Not only have developers taken to over-hyping their games in progress and showing content that’s not even in the game, but now fan-based loyalty to certain franchises and names is being taken advantage of more frequently than it should. We saw it happen a lot last year with Alien: CM, Battlefield 4, and some even argue that Total War: Rome II was a stab in the back.

Sure, we as consumers get nice toys and costumes and maybe an extra map or mission when we pre-order, but are those really worth the risk? What if the series has had a good run of games in the past? Should that be enough to earn your trust and a down payment?

This is the way I see it: Try not to pre-order anything brand new, no matter how amazing it may seem, and wait for reviews. For example: I am so excited about Dying Light that I can barely stand it. I’ve watched the same 5-minute demo over and over from different YouTubers just to see what all crazy stuff different people are doing with their short amount of time in this new world. Whatever this game’s release date is, it can’t get here fast enough. BUT, I will not be pre-ordering it. Unfortunately, a game this innovative (zombies and free-running, seriously dude) reeks of the potential to disappoint.

The only games I’ve ever pre-ordered were from series that I trusted to not fail; Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, for instance. I knew the risk of both of these games being below average, but I trusted both series enough, based on their past success, to pre-order. But that was before I knew about all of the disappointing games among franchises with huge fan bases.

The only games I believe I’ll ever pre-order from here on out are anything competitive. I’m a Call of Duty player, and I will pre-order every year until either developer somehow manages to make a crappy CoD game. I don’t like to be put at a disadvantage against those who got the game and are figuring out all the kinks and tweaks before me. My little sister (I love her to death) pre-ordered the Xbox One version of Titanfall for me for Christmas. I had planned on pre-ordering it myself anyway since it’s also competitive, but it would have been the only one besides CoD. This is where I go against what I said earlier about pre-ordering innovative or what I’m calling “super next-gen” games, I know. But that’s the risk I’m willing to take.

This leads me to my final point on this issue. Pre-ordering a game is a personal decision that things like trust and curiosity can affect. There are no definite “should”s and “should not”s when it comes to pre-ordering. Whether or not a game is worth making a down payment on is very subjective. Usually I stick to my guns until my curiosity for an innovative game from a developer that I trust gets the better of me. You have to know the risk you’re taking when you invest in a game that could end up being terrible.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter. What’s your pre-ordering strategy? Has the past scared you out of pre-ordering games altogether? Have a good weekend, and thanks for reading. Play hard.

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