The Average Gamer

Pre-Order Facade?

Invisible high jumpPre-ordering video games is a big business. Now, it appears to have become and entity unto itself, and in my opinion, just another way to draw gamers to a particular retailer, rather than being able to just order from wherever we want, and obtain the same quality product as everyone else.

Take Batman: Arkham City. Bruce almighty, it’s a cracking game, isn’t it? Sorry, bad pun there. Anyway, before its release, I decided I would pre-order the game, but when shopping for the best price online, I found that competition of price was no longer the priority, but the pre-order bonuses were instead! I want the game , not some fangled 60’s style Batman statue, or a code to play as Robin straight off the bat. It was bad enough that the game had the Catwoman code bundled with the game itself, as a big ‘up yours’ to anyone purchasing a pre-owned copy.

A forum post on fansite Arkham City shows some of the pre-order offers that were available for the UK, and even has a section for those that trade Arkham City skins codes between each other.

Another recent title Rage received similar pre-order treatment, even offering a addition to the standard version’s entire design with the Anarchy edition. With 4 unlockable item codes only available in this version, including a double-barreled shotgun, armour that is stronger than any other available in the game, and even an exclusive vehicle (driving is a key element of the game), it feels unfair to those who cannot afford to pre-order. At least this version was the same across all retailers.

Now, for those that haven’t already stopped reading this due to anger/disapproval, I do see the benefit(s) of pre-ordering a video game. The key one being getting the game itself, often on the day before release, but the point I want to make is why not make these bonuses available at general retail also? If it means paying a little extra, well that’s our choice as consumers to make, surely?


  1. Simon

    14th Nov, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Can save a stack of money waiting a couple of weeks too. Once you get yourself a couple of weeks behind you’ll have just as many games to look forward to as everyone else.

  2. Cristiano Betta

    15th Nov, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I agree with Simon above in that you can just as well let the hype go by and get your hands on a good deal a few weeks later.

    But, I do buy pre-orders and collectors editions of the games I love. The thing that frustrates me the mot about it though is the lack of information on what the difference is! It used to be: standard and collectors edition, simple. Now with Deus Ex there was the standard, augmented, limited, and collectors edition. And although Amazon knows exactly that they exist and that the one is more expensive than the other, telling me why is apparently a harder thing to do.

    And this got even worse indeed with Batman Arkham City. Yes there was the plain version and the collectors edition, but then there were the “steel books” which featured characters like Catwoman on the cover. Great, I want to play as Catwoman so I got that version, oh, wait, the Catwoman DLC just comes with every box? WTF!

    The thing that frustrates me the most though is that I’m a completionist and I want to unlock everything in a game, and with a lot of this bonuses it’s unclear if you can unlock them in the game eventually, or download them as a separate DLC. Add to that the lack of information about the different editions and it generally stops me from pre-ordering due to high levels of doubt. Sounds to me like it’s achieving the opposite effect.

  3. Scott

    15th Nov, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Be fair to those can’t can’t afford to pre-order? Ummmm it’s a $5 deposit at GameStop. If you can’t afford a $5 deposit how the heck are you going to afford $60 when the game comes out? They also take trades so you can bring that crappy game in you aren’t playing and use that. I am so sick of hearing people whine about pre-order bonuses. It’s a bonus. If you just want the game with no extras just buy it when it releases. If you want extra bonus content pre-order it somewhere. When retailers fight for our business, we win.

    • Debbie Timmins (Weefz)

      15th Nov, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      That’s the thing, Scott. We don’t win. In Ireland there are basically two retailers, Game and Gamestop. Customers there could preorder from gamestop and get all Battlefield 3 bonuses. Over here in the UK and I believe over in the US as well, exactly the same content was split across multiple retailers. We’d have to preorder to get a portion of the content and then pay again later to buy the rest as DLC.