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  • DarthDiggler

    @Jack Medland-Slater

    Nerd Trash name checks out for this article! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I miss the days that gaming websites used to have scoops, rumors and actual news.

    Today is just opinion after opinion. Opinions are like a-holes. Everyone has them but I don’t have time to read them all. Quite honestly I am finding myself caring less for other people’s opinions because I am saturated with them. How about some FACTS?

    Now this article is going through and making a boogeyman of Pre-Orders.

    Pre-Orders do not obligate you to buy the game (unless you do it digitally in some cases). If you don’t want to buy a game your Pre-Order you just cancel it. No harm no foul. The nice thing about digital Pre-Orders is you can wait until the day before and Pre-Order from the comfort of your couch. Generally speaking you should see some reviews about that time.

    That being said I am SICK TO DEATH of these articles that try to turn gamers into victims. This article is no different and I quote…

    “Pre-ordering is a practice left over from the days when games were only available on physical media and availability was limited. But now, in an age where more and more people are turning to digital platforms to get their fix, pre-orders have changed from a logistical necessity to a nefarious practice with all the benefits for the developer but none of the advantages for the purchaser.”

    Once gaming left the cartridge era, game availability has never been that limited. There are only a few disc based games in history that sales exceeded the supply. Digital games don’t really need to be Pre-Ordered, or can be Pre-Ordered after the reviews are out (usually 1 week before the game release, USUALLY). In some cases you can not get a refund on digital software, depends on where you live and the laws. People in these areas are likely well aware of this and if they are not they will find out if they ever try to refund a digital product.

    “It’s quite ingenious really, in a terrible, terrible way. Rather than having to actually produce a quality product, publishers can instead rely on their marketing to build hype, build pre-orders, build up their fat stack of cash, without ever needing to worry about critics slamming the title; because the consumers have already paid for it.”

    LOL this statement is categorically STUPID.

    I just reject this idea that developers and publishers are some Shakespearean style Shylock looking for a pound of your flesh. Video games are recreation and entertainment, if you are not driving that hobby with disposable income you may need to reanalyze your priorities. People don’t have a right to game it is a privilege that is the result of having disposable income. If game companies wanted to just take money out of your wallet they would get in to government. 🙂 It’s far easier to steal from people when you have the ability to make theft legal. 🙂

    Game companies (developers, publishers, etc). Have to provide value for their product. Sure people hate on EA, but at the end of the day plenty of folks still buy their games. Do you really think they only reason they are buying EA games is because they are all mind numbed robots who do not value the money in their wallets? Do you really think your audience is filled with idiots that do not know how to spend their money in a manner that is in alignment with their values and tastes? Most of us are saavy consumers, we don’t need personal economic advice from the Jack Medland-Slaters on the internet.

    Unless a game has an embargo generally you can read a review for any game a up to a week maybe a few days before release. There are few games that are released that have zero previews or reviews available by the time it hits the store shelves.

    “In essence, pre-ordering promotes hype instead of content.”

    There it is the word HYPE. That word is used, over used and abused by the gaming media. At this point it is just a boogeyman and its meaning has been diminished. What many in the games media call HYPE most other industries just refer to as MARKETING.

    “If you can make the bulk of your money simply by releasing some trailers and doing some interviews, why on Earth would you use the more expensive method of making sure the final product is made of sufficient quality? There is no business reason to do that, and pre-ordering does nothing but encourage shady practice.”

    This statement here has to be one of the most ignorant and stupid ones in the entire article.

    Game companies want your continued business. You can’t satisfy a marketplace on empty promises alone. You are suggesting the world we live in is one where developers and publisher can do whatever they want Carte Blanche. That is not the case. This industry the competition is HIGH. Call of Duty has made some stumbles and Battlefield has benefited. If a company were to act as you suggest one of their competition would pick up the slack.

    You lack understanding of practical economics in a free market economy. I’d suggest you bone up on your economics before writing about it in the future. With all due respect you are ill informed.

    • Hi Darth, thanks for the comment! I’m glad you engaged with the piece, and you bring up some good points – though your delivery of them leaves something to be desired.

      I don’t pretend to be an economic expert, nor do I try to give out economic advice. There is a wide dearth of things I know little about, but the outcomes that pre-ordering has on the industry is not one of them. With games from major developers having graphical downgrades and features stripped out before being resold later on, it’s hard not to recognise when a bad thing is happening; though you’ve certainly made an excellent effort towards willful ignorance. “You can’t satisfy a marketplace on empty promises alone”. Except they have. Multiple times.

      There is a difference between representing a product in a favourable light (marketing) and misrepresenting what that product is actually capable of doing. The gaming industry swells with both of them, but more and more we’ve seen big names push towards the latter. Because it works. Look at No Man’s Sky. Not a big developer by any means, but certainly had a big publisher, and who do you think is going to be more culpable for the disastrous misrepresentation that game turned out to be?

      I don’t believe that my audience (and yours now, congratulations) are “idiots that do not know how to spend their money in a manner that is in alignment with their values and tastes” – I’m sorry if that inference upset you. The reality is that they are not given a choice if they wish to get the full experience – pre-order bonuses lock that out from the get-go. Either pay them their money early or accept that the game you receive won’t be quite so content-rich as those who are happy to buy into the hype.

      I am also not describing a world where developers and publishers can do what they want – please don’t put words in my mouth. They certainly provide a product (and sometimes a service) that they have to compete for, and the competition is high; on that we agree on. But the fact is that nearly every AAA company is quite happy to keep using pre-ordering. In that sphere, there is no competition – merely different flavours of the same issue. If people don’t like pre-ordering, it’s not like they can go to other companies at a similar level, because they are doing it too.

      That being said, you have some points that ring true. Yes, you do often get reviews and previews of a game before release, and that is the content that people will (hopefully) base their views upon.

      However, as I have said, previews are not always accurate representations, nor are reviews. Biases exist, sometimes to a large degree, and commentators that people rely on to inform them before their purchase don’t always present the full picture. That is more an issue of the media and the consumer rather than the developer and publisher, but it still creates an environment where hype-style marketing is more effective.

      I will say it again: Pre-ordering is a terrible practice. It has no real advantages for the consumer anymore, beyond that which is artificially cut out from the main product. So why do we still do it?

      • DarthDiggler

        Well a response directly from the author this is unexpected. My delivery is only a result of being insulted by an article that assumes gamers are stupid and you have all the wisdom. The fact that you even published this suggests that you think this article is novel and you are genuinely attempting to inform people of a problem.

        “I don’t pretend to be an economic expert, nor do I try to give out economic advice. There is a wide dearth of things I know little about, but the outcomes that pre-ordering has on the industry is not one of them. ”

        Actually from my point of view this article and reply demonstrates that you really do not know the outcomes of pre-ordering has on the industry. I see no due diligence for any research of any kind. This is just your opinion, mixed with your speculations and assumptions. Assumptions you are still making in your reply after I made an attempt to point them out earlier.

        “With games from major developers having graphical downgrades…”

        Now you are just creating yet another strawman.

        Which games have had downgrades?

        Out of those games that you have in your mind, which one of those games promised that people were witnessing console graphics? The fact is most developers showcase their early footage on very high end PCs. They thought is, today we can only run our code on this PC but in the future we can get similar results on lower end PCs.

        “…features stripped out before being resold later on,…”

        This is definitely a stab at No Man’s Sky. Granted it did ship a few features short. I am 100% certain though that you and most gamers couldn’t tell me which features were shorted without looking it up.

        The whole problem with that Reddit laundry list is it was cherry picking Sean’s responses and videos to generate the most drama. Another Reddit list popped up which quotes Sean in many ways that explain things a little better. The whole ‘No Man’s Sky doesn’t have multiplayer’ complaint just showcases sometimes gamers hear what they want to hear. Sean himself said NMS is largely a solitary experience and to not expect robust multiplayer. Every other so called lie on that Reddit post was mostly features that did not affect the overall gameplay. The factions and the ships were simplified which was a legitimate beef, but the tent poles that Sean promised are in the game — huge universe to explore, tons of animals and plants to discover, various ships, trading, space battles, etc. etc. Some of the features Sean explained why they were cut, but anyone with an axe to grind wasn’t pulling from those quotes because they were trying to weave a narrative.

        At the end of the day ANYONE with a ‘gaming website’ should at the very least explain that game development is a fluid process that resembles sculpting more than painting a picture. On occasion when sculpting you will hit anomalies in the stone and you will have to work around it. You don’t end up with exactly what you intended but that doesn’t mean it is any less beautiful.

        Hello Games is a small outfit really the only crime they are guilty of is being open with what they were developing. Had Sean had a proper PR department they would have likely been telling him to shut up.

        The whole NMS fiasco showcases to me that there is a loud and vocal sect of gamers out there that are simply cry babies and have little to no understanding about game development.

        “…it’s hard not to recognise when a bad thing is happening”

        Your suggestion that companies are using pre-orders to leverage their so called hype is utter nonsense based on the fact that you haven’t given any evidence to support your point of view. You are simply presenting your opinions and speculations as facts. You are proclaiming these things as if you were some deity sitting upon a golden throne. I am here to toss mud on your shoes and call BULLSH!T.

        “though you’ve certainly made an excellent effort towards willful ignorance. ”

        If you are going to be a vagina about this I will treat you like one. In terms of willful ignorance you my friend are a academic quality case study. Your entire premise is a strawman argument.

        (You can’t satisfy a marketplace on empty promises alone) “Except they have. Multiple times.”

        Who is they? Which multiple times? More importantly here — WHO ARE THE VICTIMS? Really? Be specific, be very specific. If there are bad actors in this industry and you are the so called expert on pre-order conspiracies please reveal to us your tomes of information outlining this nefarious practice.

        That is the one thing that really annoys the living SH!T out of me with these articles such as yours. Your prose makes it sound as though you are the only one who ever thought of this. At the end of the day you are just doing your fellow gamer a service and protecting them from making poor decisions. Have you checked the average age of a gamer these days? Right now the Average Age of a Gamer is making house payments and not working in a minimum wage position. To suggest that the average gamer doesn’t know what they are doing when they pre-order a game (and you know better) is simply hogwash.

        “There is a difference between representing a product in a favourable light (marketing) and misrepresenting what that product is actually capable of doing. The gaming industry swells with both of them, but more and more we’ve seen big names push towards the latter. Because it works.”

        Please be more specific again you are relying on strawman arguments. Just presenting your assumptions and presumptions as FACTS doesn’t make it so. Do some homework here if you really want to persuade people. This is why I hate opinion pieces, most of them are written in an extremely intellectually lazy matter and yours is no exception. You aren’t relying on facts because either you couldn’t find many that suited your narrative or you are just simply too lazy to do the footwork. The fact is you already published this with very few facts so you are already showcasing your bias. Any attempts to get evidence now you will simply ignore what won’t fit your narrative and focus on the things that will. Cherry picking your data just like the guys at Reddit did.

        You saying ‘because it works’ is the same as saying — gamers are complete imbeciles that don’t know how to spend their money. Let’s assume you are 100% correct. Publishers are just tossing SH!T on a disc and popping it out the door, hyping up not only features they cut, but features they never intended to have.

        You don’t think the average gamer will recognize this on their own and stop the practice of pre-orders? For your words to truly have any meaning that would have to be the case. We gamers would be slobbering all over ourselves just lapping at whatever teat the publishers threw out in front of us. Now lets assume that is the case yet again — do you really think these slobbering idiots would be reading your website?

        Which begs the question — just who is this article for? Who are you attempting to inform?

        “Look at No Man’s Sky. Not a big developer by any means, but certainly had a big publisher, and who do you think is going to be more culpable for the disastrous misrepresentation that game turned out to be?”

        In terms of No Man’s Sky it was a very small studio and I don’t think Sean ever had ill will about this game. He set out to make a certain type of game and the sheer scope of that game was what amazed people. People really didn’t give a ratsass about the factions, or the functions of the space ship. People were amazed by the smooth transition from planetside to space. People were amazed to find out that the game would take place within a procedural generated universe. It wasn’t until a few days after release that that Reddit post popped up and everyone just leaned on that as their scapegoat. I wish there was technology to be able to show exactly who has and hasn’t played the game. Whenever a game gets bad press now you get some trolls who will just be D!CKS about the game. Many of them rarely play these games they just diss on people who enjoy it.

        Sony was the publisher of No Man’s Sky but they didn’t have a hand in the development of the game. Likely the deal was: Hello Games makes the game, release it on PS4 at first and Sony will pick up the PS4 marketing efforts. Your suggestion that Sony was somehow culpable in this only further exposes your neophyte status. Also you are making yet another claim without ANY FACTS to back it up. If I was your Editor In Chief this kind of stuff would bother me. You seem to want to say things and have them published before doing any real research. Good writing is more than just grammar ans spelling. Research and fact checking go a very long way.

        “I don’t believe that my audience (and yours now, congratulations) are ‘idiots’ that do not know how to spend their money in a manner that is in alignment with their values and tastes” – I’m sorry if that inference upset you.”

        You may not believe that you think we are stupid, but for you to publish this with a straight face and think you are really providing value to anyone that reads it that would HAVE to be the case. As I explained a few passages above. Yes reading articles that are condescending and suggest that you are too stupid to NOT pre-order games is generally something that would upset people who have a working brain. 🙂

        “The reality is that they are not given a choice if they wish to get the full experience – pre-order bonuses lock that out from the get-go. Either pay them their money early or accept that the game you receive won’t be quite so content-rich as those who are happy to buy into the hype.”

        EVERYONE HAS A CHOICE. Period end of story. Yet again the inference that your audience is stupid. You just said ‘I don’t think the audience is stupid’ and follow it up with ‘the audience has no choice’. Why wouldn’t the audience have a choice? Either they are smart and they have a choice or they are dumb and they don’t. You say they don’t have a choice so the inference here is they are TOO DUMB TO HAVE A CHOICE! THEY MUST OBEY THE HYPE AND PRE-ORDER. I have to be honest, you are not that bright. You are contradicting yourself with your own poor logic.

        Sure some games have significant pre-order bonuses. Most games do not. What color tunic you wear will not greatly affect your gameplay experience. How soon you get the DL-44 Blaster in Battlefront won’t really move the needle that much in terms of gameplay. As a matter of fact I can’t really think of ANY pre-order bonuses for any recent game that would expand the experience of the game beyond customization or getting some items you can earn early. Feel free to provide any specific examples but so far specifics have eluded you.

        “I am also not describing a world where developers and publishers can do what they want – please don’t put words in my mouth. They certainly provide a product (and sometimes a service) that they have to compete for, and the competition is high; on that we agree on. But the fact is that nearly every AAA company is quite happy to keep using pre-ordering. In that sphere, there is no competition – merely different flavours of the same issue. If people don’t like pre-ordering, it’s not like they can go to other companies at a similar level, because they are doing it too.”

        Well you say that you are not describing that now but go back and re-read your original article. You are making publishers and developers out to be the boogeyman just using any trick they can to get into your wallet. There is a lack of constancy between your comments and your article, it is plain as black and white.

        If competition is high that will solve all woes. EA wants to be a total D!CK and charge people $5.99 to use the ( X ) button, I bet Activision is going to get more business, so will Ubisoft.

        Pre-orders do not change the competitive landscape at all. Not one iota. If people do not like pre-ordering people will not do it. If people do like pre-ordering they will pre-order. If they feel they are ripped off by a pre-order they will likely augment their behavior in the future. Which brings us right back to, you assume your audience is stupid and yet again your words provide the evidence for this. When we apply real world situations to these so called ‘issues’ that you suggest are commonplace the premise falls apart. Only very stupid people would continue to do things that damage them personally or financially.

        Nevermind the fact that just because you pre-order doesn’t mean you don’t have an opportiunity to change your mind and not purchase the game (on disc).

        “That being said, you have some points that ring true. Yes, you do often get reviews and previews of a game before release, and that is the content that people will (hopefully) base their views upon.”

        Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. etc. there is literally NO EXCUSE for a gamer to buy a game before he or she really knows what they are purchasing. NO EXCUSE! NONE. If you buy anything sight unseen — buyer beware. If the game happens to suck you can resell it (on disc). So there are literally NO WAYS to be a victim here unless you just prefer acting like a cry baby and giving yourself a pity party.

        “However, as I have said, previews are not always accurate representations, nor are reviews. Biases exist, sometimes to a large degree, and commentators that people rely on to inform them before their purchase don’t always present the full picture. That is more an issue of the media and the consumer rather than the developer and publisher, but it still creates an environment where hype-style marketing is more effective.”

        Yes there is a great deal of bias out there, you demonstrate that perfectly with a lack of specifics and drawing on cliche and myth while forming your strawmen arguments. There are plenty of places to get reviews. So the ‘Boo-Hoo-Hoo Woe is Me Who can I trust for a good game review?’ Falls flat on its face when there is a plethora of options. You have big names like IGN, GiantBomb and you have little outfits like yourself. There is no shortage of opinion about things on the internet. Again this falls back on there are no real victims of gaming. There are players, there are bad games. If you managed to get yourself stuck with a bad game, that is likely a result of your choices. In the future you will likely make different choices if you really feel burned. Most of us likely don’t care that much because this is a hobby driven by our disposable entertainment dollars.

        “I will say it again: Pre-ordering is a terrible practice. It has no real advantages for the consumer anymore, beyond that which is artificially cut out from the main product. So why do we still do it?”

        I will say this — you are just being an alarmist drama queen because this kind of stuff gets you hits. You don’t care about history because history gets in the way of your narrative. Seems these days that being hungry for page views everything seems to be a surprise, history seems to have started today for most of you. Why take all that time to research and go into the historical context of things when you too can play a victim and scream bloody murder?

        • My God, this reply really does go on. I’ll cut to the chase. This reads to me like the bee in your bonnet is the result of you thinking at some point I think my fellow gamers (yourself included) are somehow stupid, while also somehow taking offence at opinion within an opinion piece.

          I have repeatedly told you that the first is your interpretation and you are apparently attempting to say I said something I did not (is this how it feels to be interviewed by Fox?). For someone so keen on journalistic integrity, you seem to be quite averse to it yourself.

          As for the rest, I’m honestly not going to bother reading it word for word – a skim is what you have earned. I’ve been told that if you can’t explain something simply, then you do not understand it enough. Or perhaps you are more interested in your frothing than actual discourse – I’ll leave that to you.

          I know you may read this and come back with a long torrent of backhanded commentary on how I have not really replied to your all of your points (I suspect “cherry-picking” will be used, again), and you’re right – I haven’t and I won’t. Unfortunately there is only so much time in the day, and I have to earn a living.

          Here’s the rub, and hopefully if you do reply, you will actually reply to this issue rather than go on another rant; though I respect the fact that it’s likely quite therapeutic. Glad to help you work through that.

          Pre-ordering, at its heart and by its nature, encourages disingenuous practices. It allows game companies to downgrade their product (see below example) at the last moment, or release a buggy product, while still reaping the rewards due to the nature of digital refund policies.

          Meanwhile, content that should have been bundled with the game is cut out and resold as preorder bonuses. Please see the latest Total War as an example.

          And, just to give you one less thing to squeal about, here is some evidence of downgraded games and the disingenuous practices I’m talking about:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNter0oEYxc

          Yes, it’s not first party, and perhaps it has a fair bit of bias considering the chap’s other videos. But hell if it doesn’t demonstrate what I’m talking about, particularly in light of this comment of yours:

          There is literally NO EXCUSE for a gamer to buy a game before he or she really knows what they are purchasing.

          How are we to know when the gameplay presented is not the actual reality?

          Please keep it a little shorter next time, or I may have to start invoicing you.

          Thanks Darth,
          Jack

        • And one other thing I should mention in response to being able to know the game you are about to buy/pre-order.

          There have been multiple instances (Aliens: Colonial Marines for one), where the press copy was very different to the final product. Those are the first indicators of what the game is going to be like, and is often the basis of many people pre-ordering the game. If that is a false representation, how on Earth are we supposed to know the game is actually gobshite?

          So much for being able to research the title before purchase.

        • Dave from accounts

          You need to get a life bud, its an opinion column go back to the cave with the other trolls please.

    • ManWithAnOpinion

      You’re an idiot and that statement is all the time I am going to spend on your worthlessness.

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