Are Video Game Preorders the Bane of the Industry?

2014 was a bad year for gaming, but were pre-orders to blame? I give my view on what I feel was to blame.
by Andy Cresswell -
Are Video Game Preorders the Bane of the Industry?

Video Game Preorders – We love them and we hate them, but as with all things there is two sides to every story. While we all love getting our games a day ahead of schedule it causes headaches when you boot up the game to realise it’s unplayable or full of bugs.

While it may come as a surprise, video game developers do not get paid a lot of money, as a web developer myself having looked into 3D game development I will say that you need to be one intelligent individual to be good at it, the amount of maths, physics and knowledge of vectors involved in making a high-end video game is simply out of this world, I’ll stick with my web applications.

Why are Video Game Preorders Bad?

One aspect of my job as a web developer is understanding my client’s customers and how not to alienate, one thing I have noticed over the past 20 odd years of gaming is that the market has shifted more away from how much fun they can deliver to how little they can provide us and still manage to charge us more, when you are faced with scenes like below, you start to feel alienated and like they only want one thing – money.

Why are Video Game Preorders Bad

When you preorder a game before its completed, you are feeling bad development. That money is not necessarily being poured back into the franchise right away to hire more developers to make sure the final product is bug-free, instead, they think they can achieve their target deadline and end up failing miserably.

Since you paid them $60 in advance and they told you that you would receive your game on a set day with some shiny limited edition game add-on, it’s effectively a contract between you and the publisher – regardless of whether the game is complete, they are sending you your game working or not.

We all know from Microsoft track record with Windows that, keeping to deadlines in the software development world is hard, preorder and you put yourself at risk of games not working on release day.

Stop preordering video games

It’s pretty obvious from 2014 that preordering your games does not work, consistently gamers were delivered sub-par products that were full of bugs or even sometimes completely unplayable, take Watch Dogs, while it is an amazing looking game, Watchdogs suffered huge optimisation issues at launch where it struggled to reach a smooth 60 fps.

dragon age inquisition blackscreen

Even now, 2 months after the official release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, users are still experiencing instability issues stopping them from playing.

The gaming industry is already in a state of despair, most games you play has some additional content that will cost you extra money at some point down the line, whether that is a shiny strange hat in team fortress 2 or extra maps in Call of Duty.

There was a time that every game we played served one purpose, entertain us, make us go wow and have us hooked to the TV screen at 2 am when we should have been sleeping for school, but times have changed. You shouldn’t be spending $400 on a knife skin, instead you should be climbing the bedroom walls because you can’t get past that well-thought-out finely crafted boss you have been trying to beat for the past 2 weeks, instead of in an age where games are almost as realistic as real-life we are still given an unplayable game.

The time has come for change

Things need to change and I feel that it has to start with us, If we stop preordering games and fueling the release of unfinished video games, instead of publishers making pre-release reviewers sign non-disclosure agreements(NDA) that effectively stop them from speaking about the state of the game until after it is been released, it will be down to us to decide based on real, solid uncensored reviews.

If we don’t pre-order video games, game publishers will be forced to release uncensored reviews so it encourages us to buy, not only that but they will likely be forced into including all of the content rather than charging us over the lifetime of the game with ‘additional DLC’.

Stop being putty in their hands by preordering and make them work for your money, you wouldn’t pay for a t-shirt or anything else before you had seen it (especially if you couldn’t return it) so why is a $60+ game any different?

What do you think about video game pre-orders? Do you think they are good for the gaming industry? Let me know in the comments.

Avatar for Andy Cresswell
Andy Cresswell

PerformancePSU Editor

Andy is the Founder & Editor of PerformancePSU with over 25 years of experience building custom PCs, watercooling and overclocking. When his thirst for more speed is under control, he is a programmer and father of one.
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