Thinking about pre-ordering that awesome new video game or board game that was just announced?
Sure, it may seem like the Next Big Thing™ based on the marketing promotionals you've seen. And sure, there might be some cool bonuses or exclusives included with the pre-order.
But even so, it's really in your best interest to never pre-order games. There are too many downsides that aren't worth the risk. Here are several reasons why you should stop pre-ordering games.
1. You Might Hate the Game
You're blown away by a new game's trailer, and you're even more impressed by the first look at gameplay. Those short previews are tempting you to pull the trigger on the pre-order.
But even though the game looks amazing on the outside, and even though the developers have promised all kinds of amazing features and content, the actual experience could be a different story.
Time and time again, gaming companies have taught us that trailers, advertisements, first looks, and even game reviews by "reputable" game reviewers are deceptive.
Take Duke Nukem Forever, for example. This long-awaited sequel looked promising in trailers, but when you finally started playing, the game fell short on all levels. The poor graphics, awkward controls, and lifeless humor was a massive disappointment.
It's heartbreaking enough when the latest addition to your favorite gaming library fails miserably. Knowing that you paid $60 for a game you really don't like? Ouch.
2. The Game Might Release Half-Finished
Sadly, unfinished games are the new norm.
Fallout 76, No Man's Sky, and Assassin's Creed: Unity need no explanation—all of these offenders were riddled with bugs upon release. Game companies knowingly release unfinished games, only to upset excited fans who pre-ordered the game.
Need a more recent example? It's beating a dead horse at this point, but look to the highly controversial Cyberpunk 2077. Players were fed trailers and press releases with unbelievable promises... but few of those features ever made it into the game, and the game was unplayable for many due to excessive bugs.
With AAA developers continuing down this path of releasing half-finished games, pre-ordering games is now a huge risk. At this point, it's much more practical to wait for user reviews before you make a decision to buy any game.
3. Pre-Ordering Is a Waste of Money
When you pre-order a game, you pay full price most of the time.
If you're patient, you could instead wait for the game to release and let the buzz die down, then snatch it up when the hype has passed and seasonal sales start kicking in.
It just doesn't make any sense to pre-order a game at full price when there's a good chance it'll go on sale in the future. (Unless the game is never going on sale, which seems to be the case with most first-party games by Nintendo...)
Not to mention that you can get access to tons of games with a subscription to Xbox Game Pass, Humble Choice, Prime Gaming, etc. Why pay full price for individual games?
For PC Gamers
With Humble Choice, you get 5–10 PC games every month that you can keep forever, plus unlimited access to the Humble Games Collection (70+ games) that you can play whenever you want.
4. You're Supporting Greedy Practices
When you pre-order a game, you're just another cog in the moneymaking machine. Think about it: companies want you to pre-order games. After building up major hype surrounding a game, they rake in thousands of pre-orders.
All of these pre-orders are guaranteed cash. That means even if the game sucks at release, the company still gets to keep the money from all those deceived players who pre-ordered the game. It's a malicious scheme that needs to end.
To make matters worse, many pre-orders come bundled with exclusives and bonuses that can't be acquired any other way. Pre-ordering games is tacit approval of these business practices.
5. Pre-Ordering Offers No Benefits
There's absolutely no reason to pre-order games anymore.
Once upon a time, back when games were only sold in physical formats, pre-ordering made sense because you were staking a claim on one of the finite copies available at launch.
Thanks to the prevalence of digital gaming copies, games just don't get sold out anymore. Digital copies can't run out. Which means there's no limited resource to stake a claim on.
You're also locking yourself into a decision. That game might not be out for another few months, and who knows if you'll still want to play it by then? Is it really necessary to act so soon?
Instead of pre-ordering a game, you can just wait for it to release. If you still want to play the game by then, you can go ahead and buy it. But if your interest wanes, you'll be glad you waited.
Just Stop Pre-Ordering Games
The next time you're about to whip out your credit card to pre-order a new game, put some thought into your decision. Game companies are tricky—they'll do everything they can to attract buyers, only to disappoint them in the end.
Instead of wasting your money on a disappointing pre-order, save your cash and learn how to acquire free PC games instead.