Jimquisition: The Poison of Pre-Order Culture

Andrew Majik

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Jul 31, 2013
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Have you seen the mind-boggling shit that they are peddling over at https://www.eternalcrusade.com/ yet? Buying cosmetic content for a Freemium game, before the game has hit the shelves. Before the game is in ALPHA stage! Last weekend they did a live streamed in which they showed off PRE-ALPHA footage, with grey tanks, and stand-in EVERYTHING while at least 2 weeks before, they open their "founder's store" where you could buy individual pre-order content. THE GAME ISN'T IN ALPHA. They PROMISE the game will be out some time in the next 9 months. Like a gestating Zygote.

Please Jim, take a look at this thing. I'm sure you'll just shake your head, but wow. Actually, the pre-alpha stream was interesting for seeing the mind-set behind the game's development, and they do even talk about their monetization scheme, which is quite interesting. But I still find it galling that they have some of the most BS pre-order mania I have ever seen.
 

Kameburger

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Apr 7, 2012
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Jimothy Sterling said:
The Poison of Pre-Order Culture

Sega is selling the cast of Alien separately from Alien: Isolation. GameStop wants to help developers make exclusive pre-order content. AAA is getting desperate, and as usual, the customer has to face publishers' consequences for them.

Watch Video
I really don't think this was fair, alien isolation was originally pitched as a seperate story and although I agree with pre-orders being bad in general these really do seem a lot more benign then you give them credit for. I mean it's one preorder bonus with one specific piece of content for all platforms not like watchdogs. And even then it's greasy fan service content that they aren't even marketing as anything more then that. They haven't been pulling a lot of the preview garbage that many others have and they've been letting people play their game at least from what it seems. It just seems like you're preparing to be disappointed by the potential disappointment of another alien game dragging the franchise through the mud and maybe deservingly so but aren't you leading a charge a little early?
 

Cooperblack

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Never preorder anything but i do think people are complaining about the wrong company here - It's more than likely this preorder nonesense is NOT the making of the developers, More likely SEGA and their marketing department.
 

Chester Rabbit

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Yep that's pretty much why I don't preorder unless there is a lengthy art book involved and even then i have to actually be interested in the art to bother and it can't be priced at 100 fucking bucks. Otherwise like Jim said, what's the rush? I can just walk into Future Shop any day of the launch week or on launch day and pick up a copy of the game. It's not like it will be a hard item to come by.

Heck the last game I preordered was Mortal Kombat 2011 and before that it was MK Deception aaaah my first preorder heh back in 2004 when they actually came with content that was worth while and were kind of a rare thing.
 

happyninja42

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Citizen Graves said:
Hutzpah Chicken said:
Jim, I get that you want to point out the problems and such, but you look rather foolish to call shit on someone without offering a solution. I'm sure that you have one, so why not share it?
He did. And he offered it to you. It's: "don't fucking pre-order games."


P.S.: it's really nice how so many people here offer excuses for why they pre-ordered a game and how it was alright when they did it that one time.........

Hey, people, we all vomited on our own shoes at some point in our life.
It's fine.
As long as you learn from it and stop being a weak pussy after you learned your lesson.
1. I wasn't offering an excuse, I was simply giving an example of when I felt a pre-order was worth my time.

2. Wow, really classy follow up there pal.

3. Wow, just..really REALLY classy follow up. I'm stunned by your witty retort, truly. But not really.
 

Sheo_Dagana

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I think that the current pre-order culture as it is today is poisonous, but it's not a bad culture in theory. The 'pre-order culture' back when I first started buying games for myself used to give away nifty physical things for pre-ordering. Not always, but sometimes. So pre-ordering back then was sort of a prestigious (for want of a better term) thing that you did to show how committed you were. In this day and age of 'give it to me yesterday', I'm not surprised to see things like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare offering free DLC for their past two games if you pre-ordered it when it was announced a while back. Or Destiny, promising betas to folks since it was announced what feels like forever ago.

Granted that this isn't a new problem - I remembered pre-ordering Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the GameCube back when it was first announced and then never picked it up because so much time passed that I even forgot I had it pre-ordered on the GC at that GameStop. Let me tell you, that is where GameStop thrives - do you have any idea how many people pre-order a ton of shit and then just completely forget some game or another on their list? That money stays in the GameStop system until some employee sees it and lets the customer know. If they do at all. Most people that hate GameStop beyond not wanting to listen to spiel know this already, but when my buddy that actually works there told me about just how people don't pick up pre-orders it astounded me.

Still, I like to pre-order the obscure games like Project X Zone and any Nintendo title that doesn't have something to do with Mario. While it's completely viable to just stroll into a GameStop on launch day and pick up Grand Theft Auto V, they are always out of games like Kirby Triple Deluxe or Bravely Default on day one. At least it's happened to me often enough to prompt pre-orders on 3DS and Wii U games, at least.
 

Citizen Graves

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Happyninja42 said:
Citizen Graves said:
Hutzpah Chicken said:
Jim, I get that you want to point out the problems and such, but you look rather foolish to call shit on someone without offering a solution. I'm sure that you have one, so why not share it?
He did. And he offered it to you. It's: "don't fucking pre-order games."


P.S.: it's really nice how so many people here offer excuses for why they pre-ordered a game and how it was alright when they did it that one time.........

Hey, people, we all vomited on our own shoes at some point in our life.
It's fine.
As long as you learn from it and stop being a weak pussy after you learned your lesson.
1. I wasn't offering an excuse, I was simply giving an example of when I felt a pre-order was worth my time.

2. Wow, really classy follow up there pal.

3. Wow, just..really REALLY classy follow up. I'm stunned by your witty retort, truly. But not really.
And no one cares. Especially me.

Who are you again?




Know what? Please continue your boring life story and maybe I'll stick around and write a book about you.

The title will be: "That one pointlessly butthurt guy from some internet forum thing and how his mouth-excrement changed my perspective on euthanasia."


Captcha: you are happy

P.S.: everybody, stop being weak human garbage like that one guy from that one time at that one thing AND stop fucking pre-ordering games. You done it, I done it, we all done it and now it's time to stop fucking doing it.

Also, tell your friends. You know, that part of the same compost heap that doesn't get informed and doesn't do it's own thinking and only follows the voice that tells it what to do during commercial breaks.
We all have such friends. They may be retards, but hey, they are friends and they tend to stick around.

Like vomit on shoes.
 

seditary

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Yep. Pretty much only stuff I preorder these days are obscure or niche Japanese stuff, for obvious reasons.

Otherwise there's no reason to buy into getting fucked over.
 

Macsen Wledig

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Kmadden2004 said:
Macsen Wledig said:
Trying to get us to pre-order a game before any actual gameplay has been seen reeks of desperation, and to think that I was looking forward to this game. Now I have a seeking suspicion that The Creative Assembly and Sega are working together to deliver us another turgid turd like Rome 2. Seriously these guys couldn't deliver on their flagship franchise, what makes people think that they give even the slightest fuck about Alien?
Actually, in all fairness, they have released gameplay footage, and it does at least look like it could be pretty solid on that front.

Doesn't mean you shouldn't wait for a couple of reviews before buying it, of course.
Oh, I wasn't aware. Still, Aliens: Colonial Marines had "gameplay" footage, so I guess it doesn't really mean that much in this day and age.
 

templar1138a

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I've only ever pre-ordered one game; Star Wars: The Old Republic. I did so because I'd taken part in the beta and wanted to start playing a week early. I still don't regret that decision; it's a great game.

Unfortunately, it involves other people. Sigh.
 

LobsterFeng

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Apr 10, 2011
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Thank you for bashing Gamestop. I was in there the other day buying Dark Souls for new at $20 (never played it before) and the clerk kept on bugging me and telling me that I can get the game pre-owned at only $17. I kept telling him no thank you I want to buy it new but he just didn't get me. I finally had to say, "Look, it's only a $3 difference. Besides I'd rather have the developer actually see the money instead of your store." He gave me the dirtiest look I've ever gotten and it was totally worth it.

Also I believe this video sums up the feelings of never having what you want without paying more for it quite nicely:

 

Saltyk

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Sep 12, 2010
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I feel there are legitimate reasons to preorder. If you know you will buy a game or system, preordering allows you to pay it off over a period of time making it hurt your wallet (especially in the case of a system) much less.

Now, I don't mind bonus content for preordering. I don't mind DLC. But I do miss the days when playing the game could unlock extra bits, bonuses, and additional characters.

Back when I played Tekken 3, I could unlock every single character simply by playing the game. Today, half the characters would likely be DLC.

I remember playing Vanguard Bandits, a game localized by Atlus which had three different campaigns and five different endings. You could see it all simply by playing the game. The hardest campaign to get simply required you to be a certain level by a the completion of a certain mission. But that was all available on the disc.

Yeah, I think the modern game development has a problem. Once upon a time, it seemed like they cared about making the game worth your time and gave the player plenty to discover. Today, they hold back content as DLC, and even give you the "option" to unlock things for real world money.
 

Shuu

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This is one reason I and more and more of my friends are taking up a new buying ethic: We wait.
That's what happens when you split the game up into chunks and even go out of your way to make it impossible to acquire all of the content (thanks a lot Watch_Dogs).
This is what happens, game's industry. I just decide to wait for the complete package which will go on the market at a later date. And you don't want me to do that, because that means I'll be buying it after price degradation has taken effect!

During the Steam Sale I saw Saints Row 4 at a good price. Eagerly I clicked the link only to find a WALL of DLC packages. I tried to tally up the price of it all and consider what if any of it was worth paying for before getting frustrated and throwing up my hands, saying "Fuck it! I've changed my mind! I don't want Saints Row 4 today!"

That's what happens publishers! There are a dozen of other games biding for my attention! Anything you do to inconvenience or frustrate me, the customer, is just asking for me to take my attention and my business to one of those other games! And I did. I bought Dishonored: Game of the Year Edition instead. It came with all the content that was withheld for certain customers, and all the DLC, and it only cost me a fraction of the price I would have payed had I bought at launch. But I didn't, because I knew I would get a better deal by simply waiting and resisting.

Fuck you Deep Silver. Fuck you Ubisoft. Fuck you EA. Fuck you Sega. And yes, Even fuck you a bit Bethesda.
 

IamLEAM1983

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Aug 22, 2011
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I tend to take preorders with a huge grain of salt, personally.

It's true that developers are growing desperate and are now considering preorder DLC to be some sort of Sine Qua Non clause for the release of a new title. "New game's coming out in a financial quarter or two? Damn, better iron out those Day One DLC plans, then!"

In an idea situation, preordering works out. Game Such-and-Such pops up with an announcement trailer, you follow a couple press releases or developer interviews, things look increasingly solid and polished as the months roll on, and then you see or hear something that seals the deal. You preorder, get your game a month or so later, and everything's peachy.

Now, we're looking at fiascos like Aliens: Colonial Marines. I know it's not a perfect solution, but my personal experience has driven me to be really careful with what's released to the public before a given game comes out. If there's too much hype, I start to smell desperation on the winds. I can almost see the number-crunchers begging the Marketing guys to find a way to bring in, oh, an extra twenty million purchases so they can break even on a stinker that's about to be released to the unsuspecting public.

Considering, I never pre-order the moment that option shows up. If I'm excited, I'll stick in the rinks for a few extra months and read up on everything I can. I usually pre-order near the tail end of that part of the release cycle, sometimes a day or two before the actual release. Taking my time and honestly researching really sudden gamer crushes, I saved myself from a couple awful flash-in-the-pan scenarios. I *almost* pre-ordered Colonial Marines, but the PR-based pressure was so intense I started getting suspicious.

What I really find difficult is less games that honestly don't live up to the hype, but cases where you're stuck with games that have diminishing potential over time. Spore was amazing at the time of its initial GDC demo, it was alright by the time of its release, and now I just wonder why I even have that particular disc.
 

Demonchaser27

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Demonchaser27 said:
If it takes the whole thing collapsing then so be it.
Assuming it would collapse, which is a pretty big assumption. We're not in the 80s anymore. That kind of crash is obscenely unlikely.

The next generation of developers and publishers will be forced to learn from that mistake or suffer the same fate.
Going back to the "takeaway" message, they might learn from their mistakes and institute other predatory processes which are more successful. Hell, this is why people are switching to the F2P model.

There are going to be more THQ's whether we like it or not.
THQ's demise came largely at the hands of overspeculation on niche, proprietary hardware and games based upon that. IT's actually kind of unlikely we'll see a lot of those, whether you like it or not. The only reason I can think to claim that is because you actually want it to happen, but wishful thinking isn't very pragmatic.

I'm sorry I'm not buying games that give me less content for more money than 10 years ago.
So, if I might be so bold as to ask, what was the last game you bought? Because that seems to apply to most of the game industry, indies included, unless you count sales. In which case, you could nullify the argument by a single Steam Sale.
Well there is also Capcom. Which has failed due to the same abusive practices Jim's video is referring to. When it was going downhill its answer was... more DLC. And look where that got them... their company up for sale. Its a sign of desperation when it gets worse. The worse they (publishers/devs) try to get, the more they hopelessly abandon their customers. As THQ was getting there they went full ridiculous on DLC/Preorders/Microtransactions as well. Look at Saints Row 3. They had started to do it with Saints Row 4 and then mid cycle they fell.

Last game I bought:
Well if you believe me, it was the original Dark Souls, which was not the largest game, but I got the entire thing on PC for $40 a few days after launch. I would say for the money it was definitely a large experience. If the industry wants to offer more like that, I'm all ears. But this kind of garbage? Not supporting it, irrespective of what happens. Buying these games I don't want and supporting their horrid business model isn't going to make them suddenly decide to produce better games. And talking of sales I'm referring to if I pay full retail for it. That being said, yes "sales" are a thing but few developers ever really make profit off of "sales" unless they are indie.
All I'm saying is that I'm tired. I'm probably done buying. If this game industry wants to transform into a cesspit of pieced away experiences and shallow adventures for premium prices then let the fools take it. I'm still calling the bullshit, but let them have it. I'll have no hand in it.
 

4Aces

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Pre-ordered two game in the last 20 years, one from gamestop the other from Desura. If they think that splitting content from the main game increases sales they really have to stop sniffing the sharpies.

I am a huge Alien fan, and would have bought this if they had not pulled this crap. Now I am just going to have to get it used, from an online source. Marketing at work.
 

Dragonbums

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Imp Emissary said:
Hmmm....You have a point, but it also brings a question to mind. Do Nintendo often give incentive for pre-orders?
The only one I can think of is they gave a pokemon or two to pre-orderers. Though, that could have just been for people who were early adopters, not just those who pre-ordered.

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. In fact it leads them to still do things like having alternate costumes still be things you unlock in-game, rather than buy as DLC.
Not really to be honest. The most they have done is have 3DS skinned as and coming with the game. But even then that's not a preorder bonus. People just do it because they are bound to be gone day 2 of release. I find that they just do it because the option...is there. For me just getting pokemon Day 1 is enough for me. But if that's all it is then that's hardly an incentive.
 

NiPah

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Jimothy Sterling said:
I loved the mention of NISA and Atlus, funny enough the only pre-orders I have right now are for Fairy Fencer and Ar Nosurge (the special edition from NISA's store).
Funny enough one's 75% and the other is 50% stock remaining, both several months before the game even releases.

I've always been a sucker for the niche Japanese titles, also loved your article on the first Neptunia when it was announced, that special edition is one of the rarest games out there now (stares at the box).