Over the past several years, pre-orders have become a big part of the video game business. Extra eager players who just can’t wait to plunk their money down are encouraged, maybe now more than ever, to do so with special incentives. Where these incentives were once tangible items like t-shirts and figurines, they’re now more likely to take the form of free downloadable content or early access to other games in beta.
Pre-orders are a bit of a gamble. Sure, it might just be five or ten dollars here and there, but it’s still money down the drain if early reviews of the game are crappy enough that you don’t want to pick up the copy you “pre-ordered.”
I used to be extremely conservative with my game purchases. I’d never pre-order anything, and wouldn’t pick up a game until all the reviews were in. Now, I’m finally pre-ordering stuff. I pre-ordered a copy of “Aliens: Colonial Marines” at New York Comic Con. I didn’t plan on it, but they had cool t-shirts as an incentive and day-one access to playable original characters from the movie ALIENS. It only cost $5, but I still felt kind of foolish. I guess time will tell. Now, I’m probably going to do it again for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Why? I want early access to the Zero Dark Thirty maps. It’s the most rank form of consumerism – playing shoot em’ up games based on the compound where Bin Laden was capped – but at least I’m honest, I guess. Still, will the money down be worth it? It’s only $5, but it’s another little bit of money that will be wasted if the game turns out to be dismal.
I guess I’ve made my decision: Gamble on the hope that the games are worth picking up (and thus the DLC has some kind of value), but be prepared to eat my investment if not. However, I’m curious about your own thoughts. Do you pre-order games? Are there only certain times that you do so? Do you skip it entirely? Let me know in the comments below.