09/09/14 – A date that will live in infamy, not only was it the day that saw the release of “the biggest game of the year”™ it was also the day that yet another online pre-order of mine led to nothing but disappointment.
When i rose from my bed there was no ‘Destiny’ awaiting me to rip open its cover, smell the disc and then install…no the postman had only delivered bills and disappointment. He may as well have woke me and punched my face in, his betrayal will not go unnoticed come Christmas card time.
Little satisfaction or consolation was had when a good friend of mine also fell foul to the dastardly dealings of the Royal Mail…especially when his copy had not been dispatched, he cancelled and purchased the game in a local retailer. No; this only led me to feel even more short-changed by my chosen retailer to pre-order from.
It got me thinking, i could have quite easily drove to town and picked up a copy of ‘Destiny’ to play yesterday, if my copy hadn’t been dispatched I would have done this as well…is pre-ordering really needed anymore? Is it worth the risk to save a few coins and pre-order online?
My patchy history with online pre-ordering dates back to the glory days of play.com and the release of ‘Rock Band’ in 2008 (one week before my birthday by the way). Being a massive fan of the guitar hero franchise I eagerly followed the development of ‘Rock Band’ with bated breath, I put down my pre-order in November ’07; a full seven months before release.
The morning of May 23rd there was a knock on the door, the courier was there with a massive box…the instruments. I ripped them from his clammy grasp, signed his delivery invoice and proceeded to build the drums, eager to play the game…the game…it wasn’t in the box. I thought, maybe the regular postman will have my copy of the game that I could play…it was not to be…what was I to do? I did what any video game nerd would do, i went on a quest to secure a copy of ‘Rock Band’. It wasn’t easy. I had to go to a retailer 3 towns over to secure the only copy I could find; and pay crazy money for it by-the-by. This has been affectionately named “rock-gate’ but the rock could not and would not be stopped.
After several angry emails to play.com it transpired that my game had got “lost in the post” …this was my first taste of bitter disappointment, and it wasn’t to be my last.
Next up ‘Bulletstorm’ from Amazon, i wasn’t looking forward to this game, i wanted it for the ‘Gears of War 3’ BETA code…two weeks late. It was a great game though.
After that ‘Luigi’s Mansion 2’ from shopto. Three days late.
Now here we are the afternoon of the 10th September and I am still to receive my copy of ‘Destiny’. I pre-ordered over a month ago; ironically so I would be guaranteed a copy for release and here I am, literally the last one of my group of friends that is not playing this game. In a world where I can quite simply walk into a number of retailers on the high street and pick up a copy of literally any game without bother; is there any point in pre-ordering anymore? The lure of getting a game a day early is not really worth the risk of it not being delivered day one. Let alone days or weeks late.
At the time of writing I have cancelled my pre-order for ‘Alien: Isolation’ just to avoid this disappointment for a second time this year. From now on I will use the high street, pretty much every online retailer has let me down with a pre-order at one time or another.
Before online shopping pre-ordering was a guarantee of a copy day one. Now that there is no-one to complain to or shout at it has become a risk-reward scenarion…you save a few pounds and could potentially have a game a day or two early…but if they miss the release date it is seldom good news, your waiting for a game that you have paid for, for an unknown period of time…there’s nothing worse than not knowing, the uncertainty principle as it were.
Pre-ordering has became something that is used as leverage by massive retailers to secure your money, with the promise of in-game items and bonuses to t-shirts, hoodies or hats. Gone is the promise of a new game – in it’s place, cheap tat and item’s that will be available to all when sales start to slump (that may be a week or a month).
All I know now is that i’m done with the online pre-order game. If I pre-order it won’t be from an online retailer, it’ll be from the high street so I can pick up my copy launch day (or midnight if it’s a particularly big launch) and play when i should be playing…no more disappointment for me.
Have you ever been let down by a retailer?
Been looking forward to game that has never arrived, or arrived late?
If so leave a comment…do you have a positive pre-order story? Tell us from whom in the comment section.