Is it a Good Idea to Pre-Order a Video Game?
Pre-ordering a video game can be a lifesaver for gamers looking to make sure that they get their hands on the latest games. Pre-ordering ensures that a given game will be there and is worth considering if buzz for the game is high and there is a potential for it to sell out. However, pre-ordering has its drawbacks. Here are some tips to think about if you are contemplating pre-ordering a game.
Don’t be sucked in by special pre-order bonuses offered by retailers. It has become popular for certain retailers to offer additional game content for pre-ordering a game. Things like bonus costumes for characters, special weapons, or additional maps are common goodies that retailers like to dangle before buyers to make sure they purchase the game from their location. At first glance, these seem like a win-win proposition. After all., if you’ve decided to purchase the game, why not get a few extras for free? However, a word of caution is in order.
Retailers that offer these types of in-game bonuses (most notably Gamestop) have an eerie track record of not coming up with the bonus when the purchase is made. Most stores do not have any kind of iron-clad guarantee that the bonuses will be there, and most do not offer refunds on the pre-order payment. This goes, to a lesser degree, to pre-order bonuses like t-shirts or other physical objects. Those extras are almost always on a first-come-first-served basis.
Beware of potential release delays. Just because you pre-ordered a game that is scheduled to come out on a certain date, that does not guarantee that it will necessarily arrive then. If a game maker decides to delay the release, your game also gets delayed. It is best to wait until the final week or two before pre-ordering a game to attempt to keep this from happening. Once down to the final week or two, delaying release of a game is far less common.
Decide whether a trip to the store is worth it. Some retailers make it easy to pre-order a game by allowing the pre-order to be done online and the game to be picked up in-store. Not all retailers are this considerate, however. Some make you purchase the pre-order in-store and then pick up the game there as well. Depending on how far away your nearest game store is, it might be worth it to go with a store that has an online option to save yourself a trip.
Always call first, even if you have pre-ordered. Despite the release date cited on the pre-order receipt, there can be delivery foul-ups or other unexpected setbacks that keep the game from arriving in the store on the date expected. If you live close to the retailer, this may not be a big issue, but if you have a long drive to the store, this precaution is a must.
Finally, always consider waiting for a review before pre-ordering. Sequels to great games and popular franchises can sometimes disappoint, so unless you plan on buying a game come hell or high water, try holding off pre-ordering until a few hands-on reviews from game sites have appeared. Most game makers will give advance copies of their titles to these sites to help create buzz and generate interest. While these “pre-reviews” are generally not conclusive, they may give you an idea of whether pre-ordering will be worth it.