These days, it seems like every store and site that sells games has got to have its own ultra-exclusive pre-order bonus. Shiny weapons or exclusive items are ready and waiting for any player who signs up at the right store. However, this growing trend encourages bad habits in both the consumer and game companies. Next time you see the hype building for a new title, here are a few reasons you might want to consider holding off until launch date.
Launch ProblemsThe rise of online game distribution is great for both players and developers. Gamers can connect with others from across the world, and get access to new content from the comfort of their couch. Developers can release new DLC on their own schedule, and patch critical issues that come up with already-released titles.
However, there has been a growing expectations for these patches on both sides of the relationship. Games are being released under-tested to launch day players that encounter a variety of bugs. While some are just minor graphical glitches, some releases have been put out with bugs that break the game, making it un-winnable. While fans clamor for a patch, it’s not always quick. Letting the first few rocky weeks pass can create a smoother, more enjoyable play experience, even if it does mean you have to sit through another update screen at first.
For those with multiple consoles, putting off a pre-order can also help you make the final call on what platform to buy it on. While most games run fine, problems can arise when a game meant for one console gets pushed onto another as well. Letting others test this can help you make the best call.
Breaking the Balance
The fancy new pre-ordered loot can be nice, but it’s not something the developers plan for. Many times, it’s made accessible to the player at a very low level. This is understandable, as it’s showing players as quickly as possible that they’re getting what they promised. However, this loot is often also powerful, which skews how the game plays. The developers balanced the game carefully, and getting powerful items early throws it off from how it was intended to be played. (If the items aren’t powerful, then were they really worth the pre-ordering hype?)
So maybe you can’t resist. The loot’s just too cool. But where to pre-order from? Many games have bonuses exclusive to a certain store and site, and to get them all would mean buying the game many times over.
Except… Lots of those bonuses aren’t so exclusive. Many are released later, as DLC to all players. If the game is good enough to get a special-edition re-release, some come packaged with some addition content, which can include these bonuses. While it might seem appealing, understand that pre-orders are not the only way.