Why You Shouldn’t Pre-Order Games: It’s All Hype

The hype is back for another brand new game, but is the game going to come out like what the developers promised?

Pre-ordering games has become controversial recently. There’s always bad news about it, and rarely anything good. It seems like every other month there’s another big budget game ending up different from the trailers, or how it was released in an unfinished state. 

With the bad reputation surrounding pre-orders, the relationship between game companies and their players gets thinner. And unfortunately, players now need to think twice before buying to avoid regretful purchases.

Should you pre-order games? Sadly with how corporate some game companies have become, you’re better off saving your money first and buying it after it comes out. 

I used to make a lot of excuses when I pre-ordered games before, but now I realized from experience that it’s usually not worth it. Here are some the realizations I had about why you shouldn’t pre-order games.

Trailers Love to Overhype Games

Trailers need to show off how good their game is; A good trailer turns potential buyers into players. Gameplay trailers will create hype, and people will pre-order based on how much excited they are.

While it’s not bad to be excited for a game, don’t always fall for the hype. Trailers are made to market games, and companies will try their best to convince you to pre-order by showing you all the best features.

If we were talking about movies, a trailer would be okay, but games are meant to be played, not watched. 

You shouldn’t pre-order games just because the trailer was cool. If you liked what you saw, it just means that their marketing was successful, not because the game was good. 

There’s Always the Digital Copy

Pre-ordering games means that there’s a reserved copy just for you, and you won’t need to fear that it would go out of stock on release day. But with the rise of game platforms like Steam, the fear of missing out is slowly going away; Games are starting to be available in just a few clicks.

If you can’t get your hands on a physical copy of a game, there’s always the digital version. It’s going to take up more storage, and you won’t get a cool poster unlike when you pre-order from the store, but what’s important is that the game is available to you digitally and there’s no need to worry about being left out.

Skyward Sword HD Preorder
You can always get the digital version, no need to wait in line and worry about getting a copy. Source: Nintendo’s Website.

The Game Could Be Unfinished

When you pre-order a game, you put money on a game that hasn’t come out yet. You place a lot of trust into the developers that they will deliver the game that you saw in the trailers.

But what happens when they release the game in an unfinished state? Bugs, glitches, and cut content even after the day-one updates. Was it the game you were promised?

Imagine pre-ordering a laptop, but only getting the screen on release day. They’ll send the other half when it’s done. At least you pre-ordered and got it first, right? 

Games should be playable once they are released. A few bugs on release day are understandable, but if the whole game feels like a beta test, they shouldn’t have been released at full price. 

The risk always isn’t worth the reward when it comes to pre-ordering. Whether you pre-ordered or not, the game will be the same for all players. It’s the risk of putting money out for a game with the possibility of it coming out different than what you wanted.

Pre-Ordering Should be About the Game, Not the Bonuses

At most, pre-ordering will get you access to bonus content, mostly in the form of cosmetics or bonuses in-game. Sometimes pre-orders come with collectible items like posters, soundtrack cds, or even a figure. These bonuses are one of the main reasons people pre-order games.

While these things are tempting to have, pre-orders should be about the game, not the bonuses that come with it. A cool figure and soundtrack are nice to have, but what if you don’t even like the game to begin with? 

If you miss the pre-order bonuses, it’s not the end of the world. Usually the pre-order bonuses you get are collectibles or in-game cosmetics, it’s not going to change the game itself. 

Battlefield 2042 Pre Order Editions
Battlefield 2042’s pre-orders bonuses are mostly cosmetics with an open beta test. Source: Battlefield 2024’s Website

Pre-Ordering Allows Mediocrity for Game Companies

The reason why pre-ordering is still alive is because game companies are making a profit out of it, even if they haven’t released anything yet. It gives companies the excuse of releasing an unfinished game and then updating it along the way. 

These companies know that their games aren’t ready for release, but they also know that it won’t matter because their fans would pre-order the game anyways. While it may not happen all the time, it certainly has happened frequently.

With infamous launches like Cyberpunk 2077 and Fallout 76’s, even the most loved game companies out there can mess up a release.

While those two games are getting better through a lot of updates, the initial damage has been done when they came out. People felt buyer’s remorse when they got their pre-orders; Those companies have hurt their relationships with their customers.

As buyers, we are entitled to get a working game on the day it’s out, not after weeks. If we keep pre-ordering games from companies that do this, they’ll keep getting away with unfinished games, and other companies might start doing the same.

Pre-Orders in a Nutshell

Pre-ordering was about supporting the developers and reserving a copy for the game, but it’s turned into something more corporate, and most don’t notice it. People pre-order based on hype and bonus pre-order content, it’s not anymore about having a copy to themselves because games have gone digital now.

The only real incentive to pre-order is for the bonus stuff you get, and most likely, it’s not going to be worth it if the game turns out bad. 

These days, pre-ordering games feels like gambling on whether a game company will deliver on what they promised. It shouldn’t be this way. Consumers pay full price for a full game, but end up with a beta test and future updates.

Avoid pre-ordering and take a wait-and-see attitude before paying full price for a game. Wait for the game to be released, try the demo, get it during a Steam sale, check out the reviews, or borrow a copy from a friend. Don’t let the bonuses sway you into pre-ordering.

It’s okay to ride a game’s “hype train”, but learn when to get off it too.