Should You Pre-Order That Video Game? Tom May 10, 2012 Gaming Is there really a reason you need to put down $5 to $10 to pre-order a video game that doesn’t come out for another 6 months? In my opinion… absolutely not, companies like boostingboss sells accounts of League of Legends ready for ranked play. I grew up in the days of video game consoles that had actual plastic cartridges which were not as easy and not as cheap to produce as DVDs, CDs and Blu-Ray discs are. If you didn’t pre-order a popular game you wanted, there was a good chance that it would actually sell out in the stores and you’d have to wait to get your hands on it. I specifically remember the game “Maximum Carnage” for the Sega Genesis. At the time, Game Stop (Funco Land as it was known back then) was the only store around that would take pre-orders on games, but at this point in gaming history there was actually a reason to pre-order. I put down my $5 on the game and waited anxiously for it to come in. When the game did finally come out I was the only one amongst my friends to have secured a copy because the game sold out extremely fast. I was even lucky enough to score the cool limited edition red cartridge. This is a perfect example of when pre-ordering is a good idea… but that was almost 20 years ago, things have changed. I don’t even know if the game sold that many copies, but because it was a cartridge, it was expensive to produce therefore there weren’t a plethora of copies on hand. Not to mention video gaming popularity has grown exponential over the years. With the replacement of cartridges with CDs, the need to pre-order started to dwindle. CDs are cheap and easy to mass produce and therefore there are never any shortages of current games. The electronic stores and developers are now trying to push pre-sales by offering exclusive content depending on if, or where, you pre-order a video game. I find this practice to be a little ridiculous, but I understand that the pre-order and used game market, that stores like Game Stop were built on, are starting to disappear entirely and in order for them to stay in business they need to find a new way to generate income and get people in the stores. In essence, if you really need that exclusive that comes from pre-ordering a game at a certain store, then by all means go for it. The $5 you put down for the game up front is basically just an interest free loan to the store as you get it credited towards the full purchase price of the game once it comes out. And since video games are priced the same pretty much everywhere (unless there is a sale, which there usually isn’t on brand new games) there’s no need to shop around. It’s really a win/win situation for the store since they get a few bucks up front and then they know that they have a guaranteed sale in the future. Now even though I’m telling you that pre-ordering a game is pretty much pointless these days, I still believe in pre-ordering consoles if you have to have it on the day it’s released. Even with my Game Stop horror story, I will still pre-order the next generation of Microsoft console so that I can have it on launch day. The consoles are harder and more expensive to produce than an optical disc so there’s a good chance that they will sell out and you’ll be out of luck for a few months if you don’t pre-order. I have not pre-ordered a video game in years and have no intention of ever doing so again. I don’t need the exclusives that come with certain pre-orders, I don’t need to know that I have the game waiting for me when I show up at the store, because there are going to be hundreds of copies on the shelves that I can just grab and purchase. The idea of pre-order games is dying and the stores are trying to come up with ways to get people to guarantee them sales, but it’s truly pointless. Don’t feed the monster… Oh, and one other thing… please do not buy digital copies of games from a brick and mortar store… Game Stop is now offering digital downloads after purchase in the store, meaning that you go in, buy an online code for $50, go home, enter said code and download the game… Just buy the game yourself at home from some place like Steam or Origin. You need an internet connection to redeem and download the digital copy of the game at your house anyways so why would you go to the store to buy the code in the first place? I’m all for the digital download distribution method, but the whole point of it is to cut out the store and allow you instant access to the game. What’s the point of digital distribution if you’re going to go to the store to buy the code in the first place… dumb.