8 reasons why you should stop pre-ordering games

The concept of pre-ordering games has been around for a long time, and used to be a good way of ensuring you got a game when it released. Now however, the practice has become a real issue for the industry – not only because it no longer benefits the consumer, but because it’s hurting the consumer in a lot of ways.

Here are the reasons why you should never pre-order a game.

You don’t know if it will be any good

This is the key point above all others. You simply do not know if a game, or console, will be as good as you hope it will be. It doesn’t matter if it’s tied to a series that you’ve enjoyed – it may turn out to still be a disappointment, or worse, broken upon release (see below). Why not wait until it is released, and reviews of the game have come out, before making your decision? Instead of paying for something months in advance that you don’t know will be worth your hard-earned money.

You don’t know if it will work properly

We live in an age of Day 1 patches and always-online functionality. The fact is, in most cases the day 1 version of a game is not representative of the game it will become. In the worst cases, the release version is almost unplayable (Battlefield 3 anyone?) and only much later down the line do they become worth your time. Pre-ordering a game is telling the developer you don’t mind if they release an unfinished version of the game early.

It will be more expensive for you

Games today deprecate in value quicker than they ever have. Why spend £50 on a game when the chances are it will be half that in a month or two? Patience pays like never before for a gamer. Preorders are a way of publishers trying to work up that misplaced desire to have something ‘as soon as possible’ even if it isn’t the best thing for you.

Games will become worse

By pre-ordering, you’re incentivizing devs to not have to make games to the highest quality possible. If the money is already in their pocket, why would they go the extra yard to make it better? They won’t need to apply that extra layer of polish.

It will stop making publishers give preorder exclusive bonuses

Few things are more annoying than the feeling of missing out on something. But if people stop pre-ordering, then publishers will stop rewarding those who do. This has only become a real problem when pre-orderers are given a competitive edge, with a better weapon or better stats.

You may have been lied to

This is particularly pertinent to preorders that are done after a game is unveiled, be it by trailer or exhibition. Publishers admit that they produce pre-rendered versions of their games for these events, most of which run on high-powered PCs, and as many high-profile cases in the past few years have shown, what they unbeil is often not representative of the final product. And not in a good way.

They are not going to run out of stock

A legitimate reason for preordering 10-15 years ago was the fact that suppliers could genuinely run out of stock (remember the Wii launch?). Pre-ordering used to let you ensure you had a copy on launch day. Today, in the age of digital distribution and the ever-cheaper packaging costs for publishers, this does not happen. You will be able to get a copy on opening day for most if not all releases.

This is why we don’t have demos any more

Remember demos? Notice how they’ve dried up? This is because of pre-orders. Publishers don’t want to give you a taste of a game if they think it might jeopardize your excitement for it and thus stop you pre-ordering it, or cancel a current pre-order. Stop pre-ordering and publishers might have to start giving us demos again in order to fuel our excitement.


It’s become a big issue, and developers are now gauging the success of a game based on the amount of pre-orders it gets. When you next go to GameStop do not be tempted by their hard-hitting pre-order spiel. Get them game when you know it’s good, it works and it’s at a fair price.