So most of you must have watched the latest Batman : Arkham Knight trailer and almost all of you must have screamed BATMOBILE! like I did. However, you might want to hold on to your horses.
We have all seen trailers like these before. Trailers that made our jaws drop to the floor. Trailers that left us salivating for more. Trailers that never made it into the game. It is trailers like these that make us want to throw our money at the companies’ faces (in a good way) and we do just that; by pre ordering games. By pre ordering these games, we are literally handing over a full deposit of our money for a game that still has more than 3 months or so till release date. Of course, they do tempt us with all those pre order bonuses like extra maps (oohhhh) and 1 HOUR of extra content (aahhhhh) but what most people fail to realize is that you are risking buying a broken/unfinished game for something as minimal as a new map or an extra mission. We’ve all seen how bad taking that risk can be (insert AC Unity puns here).
I am not taking a jab at Ubisoft or Rocksteady Studios but rather at the whole industry itself. With the whole review embargo system, publishers have the right to control when the reviews are to be released, even though review copies are sent out in advance. Which basically means that you will have no idea whether the game is good/functional until the game is released; at which point you are incapable of cancelling the pre order. Quite clever, if you ask me.
However, it is understandable as to why people pre order games. You get the game early, you get some additional content so it is all good, right? Right, but only as long as the game lives up to the promise. There is no use of additional content if the game crashes at the loading screen. Almost every AAA game nowadays comes out with a gigantic day one patch (I am looking at you Ubisoft). Wait for the game to release, check out some reviews from your trusted sources and you might or might not get the game a couple of days later; with one less map or mission. Trust the wrong company and pre-order the wrong kind of game; you will end up with a bad game and an empty pocket.
If it were upto me, I would completely abolish the whole practice of pre ordering games. The majority of gamers fail to understand that this whole pre ordering business has spawned rather disgusting practices where devs and publishers are downright lying about the features of the game (remember Aliens: Colonial Marines?). Companies are spending millions into publicizing games, which are still in the intermediate stages of development and could undergo changes. They are pumping out CGI trailers, live action trailers, hiring Kevin Spacey’s just to get you to pre order their games. Because they know that once you pre order their game, it’s hook, line and sinker.
In conclusion, pre order games only if you are absolutely sure that you are going to get what you paid for. If not just wait for the game and the reviews to come out and then get it. Getting a game a few days late is not a big bother. Getting a broken game is.
Speaking of Arkham Knight, Rocksteady has a pretty clean launch history with its titles. That being said, Rocksteady doesn’t have many titles to its name, so you can never be sure.
In the more near future, Ubisoft’s The Crew and The Division might feel the after effects of Unity’s tainted launch. Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes. Also, Ubisoft has announced that the upcoming DLC Dead Kings for Assassin’s Creed Unity will be free for everyone as a show of apology. Check it out here.
Let me know your thoughts on whether pre ordering games is for or against the consumer in the comments below. Until next time, Happy gaming folks.