25th Nov2020

Could A Change Be Seen in Pre-Ordering Culture?

by James Smith

We’ve seen how pre-releases and pre-ordering can build huge hype for a game, but that hype doesn’t always live up to expectation. Perhaps the most notable case of this seen had been in the release of No Man’s Sky back in 2016 as the developers had promised to over deliver on features, but instead had delivered what was largely an unfinished game to the players. Whilst the relationship has been somewhat fixed as later updates and content patches had fixed much of what was lacking, it had started to sour the pre-order experience.

The same has also been true for games that have found success however – recent titles such as Valorant had found a huge pre-release and beta audience due to the broadcasting options on Twitch and how keys were handed out, with a now developing esports market at esportsbetting.site. Valorant has often started finding its way up in popularity – but even this had been met with some push back as numbers were much lower than release and those who had invested in early cosmetics feel they hadn’t been justly rewarded.

The latest in the long line of pre-release upsets has been with CD Projekt Red and their next big planned release in Cyberpunk 2077 – initially slated for release early this year but has now had two different delays attached to it causing an outcry from fans who pre-ordered. Other big titles have seen the same as World of Warcraft had been prepared to launch its latest expansion back in October, but with plenty of unfinished features the game was delayed until the end of November, once again causing an outcry from fans and a flood of refunds as last minute decisions were made to delay the launch.

For many, much of the issue that comes with the current pre-order culture has been a shift for developers to start shipping games that many feel aren’t in a complete state, and instead using the release as a pseudo beta testing phase where updates are included a few patches down the line – with different online platforms now offering ways for users to refund if a set amount of play time isn’t met it shows that there are efforts being made to ensure customers have an option if games are shipping whilst incomplete.

With this in mind, it does bring the question forward on whether or not change may be coming for this pre-ordering culture – it does of course rely on the wider audience being more patient, which is unlikely, but these bigger delays have certainly turned many away from risking pre-orders given there’s no certainty on what will be received, and now even when the product could be received – with a few titles in the pipelines that are promising to over deliver on features and offer huge changes to existing genres, hype is already starting to build despite no real launch to be seen, and with these titles relying on pre-orders to succeed any change could have a big impact.
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