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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The problem with pre-orders


Games have come a long way since the late 80's and early 90's, it's needless to say really, but do we ever stop to think about how the business side of games has changed too?

Most games we play now a days are developed by many teams all specialising in different areas, sometimes during development these teams hardly ever meet to discuss the project. It's a stark contrast to development teams such as Core who brought us the original Tomb Raider, where the cerntral Core team was made up of around 5 or 6 people.

With the ever increasing need for huge development teams the cost of creating games has sky rocketed, devs and pubs want to make a profit and need to pay their employees, also investors and shareholders demand to see profit being made otherwise they will inevitably jump ship.

You only need to look toward publishers such as EA and Activision to see the cookie cutter mentality such a business model breads, the short sightedness of many publishers and the need for them to please investors and shareholders no doubt is a contributing factor in leading to the detriment of many of our beloved franchises.

The ever increasing likelihood of a hotly anticipated title turning out to be a bitter disappointment is more likely now than ever before, Dead Space, Final Fantasy and even Assassins creed are all franchises that are suffering due to an industry refusing to adapt to a changing medium and instead finding more ways to nickel and dime their consumers.

This all brings me to the point of this article.

pre-orders are a great way to ensure you will get your hands on your most anticipated titles as soon as they are available, the problem though, is the fact that that we don't know if a game is really good or not until we are actually playing it. Many once great franchises are getting put through the milking machine, we can't even honestly know for sure if a game that's part of a respectable franchise will blow us away or just be another forgetable flop.

We definitely can't trust pubs & devs to show us trailers with genuine gameplay footage, you only need look toward the recent Aliens: Colonial Marines debacle, Gearbox will never live that one down no matter how many Borderlands they make.

Gamers are growing cautious, we get burned all too often after all. So the games industry came up with clever incentives such as "pre-order bonuses" and online passes purely as insensitive for us to purchase games new (often as a pre-order) The problem with pre-ordering is whether or not the game you order turns out good or a bad we still fund the developer, we will never see an improvement in a franchise that is slipping or a dev team pushing out half finished games if we continue to support them. Equally so, we are more likely to get poorer games from a dev/pub that knows all they need to do is show us a cool tech demo or fake a trailer and the pre-order flood gates will fly open no matter what how bad the game actually turns out.

Yes, previews do go a long way to warning us early on of a possible turd, but with many a poor game receiving high praise these days from preveiwers and the embargoes preventing more reliable or legitimate sources from sounding the alarm, we really are blind to the truth and it is often too late to do anything about it when we pre-order.

Im not saying we should put an end to pre-ordering but we certainly need to have our wits about us, we should all realise that we have a big influence on the games industry both positive and negative and we should utilise that pull to our benefit.

Well, I guess I'll finish by saying this, don't fall for pre-order bonuses, if you're unsure about the actual game then don't take the plunge, keep as well informed on a pre-order product as possible, if the embargo is held suspiciously close to the games release date their is often reason, in the end it's your choice but pre-ordering can and does have a detrimental effect that I feel we all need to be aware off.

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope I actually made sense and offered up a good point or two, as always please feel free to comment but lets keep it clean, thanks.

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