Question of the Week

Question of the Week: 5/28/14

How do you feel about pre-orders? Should people wait for reviews? Do you?

 

Courtney Osborn, Founder & Editor in Chief:

I am all about pre-orders.  If there is a game I am slightly interested in, I will pre-order it.  I have come to realize over time that most people who review games don’t typically agree with me on how good certain games are, so I don’t bother waiting for their reviews.  I also don’t regret spending $40-$60 on a game even if it didn’t live up to my expectations.  However I do understand that there are several crazy raging gamers out there, and if a game doesn’t live up to their standards they go out and start petitions to get games taken off the market and such.  For you idiots. Shut the hell up.  If you are that kind of person, then yes, by all means wait for reviews.  Otherwise, help the industry out and pre-order games and buy them new.

 

Lou Contaldi, Senior Editor:

I am all not about pre-orders. There was a time and place when pre-orders made sense. And that time and place was GameStop last decade. Now-a-days they have all the games you will ever need in stock, and when they don’t, most everything is Day 1 Digital (even for Nintendo platforms). People should ALWAYS wait to check the reviews, except for the following reasons: 1) there is some crazy pre-order swag attached, 2) there is a game that is beyond doubt about how good it will be (I’m looking at you Mario Kart 8), or 3) you are pre-ordering hardware (which are actually scarce). Pre-ordering games seem like archaic cash grabs of yester-year and show too little of a benefit for the $5-10 burden. Be excited about release dates, grab the game new, and play the hell out of it! There just isn’t a reason any more to give money to the First National Bank of GameStop to do it.

 

Chad Waller, Editor:

Back in the day, when the GameCube was hot and the PlayStation 2 was a juggernaut, pre-orders meant much more than squat. Bonuses didn’t matter, the need wasn’t for Gamestop’s flatter, and the Internet wasn’t ablaze with “which one should I get?” chatter. We pre-ordered games to insure a copy! Nowadays, the practice is cock-filled poppy, with publishers pandering in a fashion that’s sloppy. For pre-ordering, I will not anymore use, it’s a practice that’s long since become abused, and I’m sick of the industry’s childish views.  

 

Shawn Richards, Editor:

Pre-orders are a good thing and a bad thing in this industry. On the one hand, this is simply a matter of publishers wanting to sell people a game before it is even released. It was great for a while, but now preorders have come to the point where selling extra content for the promise that players are going buy the game before it is even released. It is ridiculous. I have a similar problem with day one DLC, but this is simply a matter of publishers telling you “You need this content for this game that isn’t released.” If people are sure to like the game, like an established series or a new IP from an established developer like Naughty Dog or Ubisoft Montreal, then it can be acceptable. Other than that, though, I can’t really buy into it.

On the other hand, pre-orders are great from a business standpoint. Since games and sequels go into developement years before it is released, having pre-order numbers for new IP show how interested the public is to a game. Now only will this cue journalists like your friends here at MONG, but this will tell publishers that this game has sequel potential and will greenlight a sequel to it. Based on pre-order numbers alone, I can almost guarentee that a game like Watch_Dogs will get a sequel, which isn’t a bad thing. Overall, pre-orders are not that great for the consumer in the short term and can get out of hand quickly, but in the long run, it helps the publishers keep making the games we want on a daily basis.

 

Mark Merville, PC Editor:

I love me a good pre-order.  What’s not to like?  You basically get to go pick up the game when it comes out, and be among the first “civilians” to play it.   Pre-orders are especially good for digital download content,  even allowing you to pre-load games so that you can play it literally the second it drops.  What’s not to love about standing in line with a bunch of other like-minded people out in the cold waiting for the latest game in a series you love.  Another fun addition is that when you pre-order your game, you get some kind of in-game reward.  Whether it be a cosmetic upgrade like a skin texture for a character, or something better like the free cars in Burnout Paradise, pre-orders give gamers a little something extra for believing in the game pre-release.

As for waiting for a review, it has been a long time since I’ve agreed with a reviewer on the score or quality of a game.  Maybe I’m just a little less critical of games as I understand the process a little better than the average person, but some of my favorite games have had terrible ratings.  My favorite game of all time, Ultima Online was given a bad review by a man named Johnny Wilson.  Had I heeded his advice I may not have played one of the greatest games ever created, but that’s just my opinion.

 

Brett Medlock, Editor:

I think pre-ordering games is great. It gets you amped for the release and sometimes gets you extra goodies/DLC. However, if you’re going to pre-order a game before reviews are in, I would make sure it’s a game you want to play is if critics are down on it.

I mainly pre-order triple-A games like The Last of Us, infamous: SS, Zelda. Only because I know I want to play it regardless of what other people think.

 

Steven Shearer, Editor:

Yep,  I pre-order all my games. Most the time, I know if I am going to like the game or not, so there’s no need to wait until reviews. However, in this day and age, pre-ordering is no longer necessary as stores have plenty of copies on launch day,   

 

Ryan Latuso, Editor:

This depends on a few factors for me. I usually play on PC so a preorder discount is very common from some websites.  If I can get a game that I know I want and trust for $45 instead of $60, I’ll preorder.  For physical copies of games, it makes sense also to make sure you get it day 1. I usually follow enough coverage of a game to know if it is worth my money or not ahead of time, so I can take that risk sometimes.

 

Dustin LaRoe, Editor:

Personally, it’s hard to shake the need to pre-order things. Before Funcoland and EB games were absorbed by GameStop, I used to frequent them to find out when games were going to come out. It was a bit harder to find out a games release date back then.

Today, getting a game on launch day is more straightforward. Street dates are normally easy to find with a five second google search and because we have left cartridges behind, there is rarely a shortage of copies of a game. It’s pretty much irrelevant to preorder a game. Day and date digital sales are more common. If you happen to be unable to get a physical copy, just download that stuff from a storefront.

 

Benjamin Luthi, Editor:

I have no problem with pre-orders for certain games, particularly big franchises like Mario and Zelda. As for reviews, I rarely read reviews for games before I play them. Besides the fact that reviews often contain spoilers, I’ve found that my opinion on games often varies from other reviewers. For example, my favorite GameCube game is Kirby Air Ride, and its review scores were terrible. That being said, I often read reviews after I play games. I am curious about other opinions, but I don’t want someone’s poor reception of a game to sully my experience. The exception would be games I am not very familiar with. In that case, I will read various reviews to get an idea of how good a game is to others.

 

Myles Farrington, Editor:

I don’t have a problem with pre-orders in the least. I actually think people should pre-order titles as they normally come with some form of free swag. However, I normally keep my business to GameStop (even though they’re horrible) so I’m not absolutely sure how reservations work elsewhere. I know at GameStop if you reserve something you can take the reservation off without any issue and get your money back, so there’s no downside. If you reserve the game and buy it, you get your game and the bonus content, if you see reviews and decide that you don’t want it, you get your money back to spend on something you do want. Pretty simple and painless if you ask me.

 

Colin Conroy, Editor:

Personally, I have nothing against the idea of pre-orders, even though I dislike the idea of the various retailers offering different pre-order bonuses. I just think that everyone should have access to the same game regardless of where one decides to actually buy it.

I used to pre-order games all the time because I loved the idea of having my copy reserved and knowing that I would be getting it on the very first day. Most of the time, I had done enough research about the game beforehand that I didn’t need to wait for a review. I usually know what games I’m going to like. However, as the years have gone by, I have begun the pre-order games less and less. It’s not a question of waiting for reviews because I generally read the reviews even after I have bought a game. I usually just like to see what other people think about the same experience. Come to think of it, I’m not really sure why I don’t pre-order games. I’m probably missing out on a lot of great extras. Maybe I should start pre-ordering again.

 

Aaron Dobbe, Editor:

Wait, this is an issue? Huh. Well, I guess if a multiplayer-focused game gives out some exclusive super-weapon as a pre-order bonus, that’s kinda lame. Otherwise, I don’t see any problem with it (and I don’t usually play multiplayer-focused games anyway). I pre-order just about every game I plan on buying a physical copy of, and getting nice things like posters, soundtrack CDs, and in-game costumes is always fun. As a bonus, I can just spend the $40-$60 right away and then I don’t have to worry about setting aside the cash for later.

Regarding the question of waiting for reviews: I don’t, but I understand why other people do, and that’s fine. I usually do my own research and, knowing what I like, I’m able to judge whether or not I’ll enjoy the game. I read reviews because I’m interested in what other people thought of a game, not because I’m looking for a recommendation.

 

Audrey Lips, Editor:

I have no opinion on pre-orders, it seems like a matter of preference. Unless it’s a game I really covet (like the Kingdom Hearts series), I don’t really care much for all the extra commemorative stuff that comes with pre-ordering a game.

As far as waiting for reviews goes, I only recommend waiting for reviews to come out for a game that you’re on the fence about. Reviews are other people’s opinions, after all, and therefore are not fact–something that people sometimes forget. I believe that if you are passionate or interested enough for a game, or anything else for that matter, you should try it out yourself and draw your own conclusions. Playing a game is more about YOUR experience rather than others telling you theirs.

 

Mike Morrissette, Editor:

There are very, very few games that I pre-order anymore as there really is never a true need to do so. Do I care that Delsin gets 5 extra jackets when I pre-order? No, not really. Why? Because no one is going to see them.

 

Landon Luthi, Editor:

Pre-ordering games is a practice that I have long forgot.  The only two games that I have ever paid for before owning are World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade and Duke Nukem Forever, which were both special editions.  I’m not fond about being able to be one of the first million players to use some colon-cleansing shotgun that shouldn’t even be available until endgame.  I hate games that are too easy, and I hate it even more when developers hand you the proverbial ‘GameShark’.  There are a lot of early release alpha and beta games on Steam that I take part in, but that isn’t the same, because the unfinished game is released to you immediately.  

When I was younger, I religiously purchased every monthly issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly.  I depended on reviews about ninety percent of the time, because it saved me a lot of money and headache from purchasing games that ended up being awful.  I have also played through a lot of games that didn’t receive stellar reviews, and a lot of those I still enjoyed.  There is an exception to the rule of reviews, and that lies with the developer.  I have been able to put a lot of trust into Game Freak, SquareEnix, Bungie, Naughty Dog, RockStar, Nintendo and other talented developers without the use of reviews, because I have great faith that these companies shall release games that will be an amazing experience for me.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that these companies will always pump out platinum title games.  During the 90s, Rareware was king.  They made a lot of my favorite games of all time which I still play quite often.  Donkey Kong Country 2, Goldeneye and Perfect Dark made Rareware the gaming behemoth that it was, and then Perfect Dark: Zero for the Xbox 360 was the buster sword that brought it down (or at least wounded the hell out of it).

Read your reviews people.


 Want to submit a question?

There are all kinds of controversial questions out there regarding the video game industry.  Each and every Wednesday we will ask each member to give their opinion on one of them.   Every once in a while we will have simpler questions that are more of a “Get to know your editor” type question. This will give you a chance to see that we are not all like minded and have a wide range of opinions.   You, the readers can submit questions for us to answer here.  So feel free to submit them to this story or emailing them to mong.podcast@gmail.com.

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