Months before a game is to be released, one special phrase is uttered at every GameStop and can be found on almost every video game advertisement: pre-order. While some gamers shrug off the suggestion, pre-ordering games isn't a bad idea for this month. March is no November, but as far as this year's video game releases go it may as well be.
It's good for your budget
|USA Pre-order stats!|
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I typically put down $15 - $30 on each pre-order. Regrettably, this strategy does not work for online pre-orders that require you to pay in full.
You'll get exclusive content
In addition to spreading out your hard earned cash, pre-orders usually come with some sort of downloadable incentive. When I picked up Halo 4 in November, I receive about 9 DLC codes for an Xbox theme, in-game gun, avatar items... the list goes on. It was pretty good as far as free DLC goes, but so far my favorite incentive has been for BioShock Infinite.
Regardless of where you pre-order the BioShock Infinite, you receive a code for finkmanufacturing.com. This website is BioShock Infinite's prequel puzzle game, Industrial Revolution. Each level requires the player to aid the Founders or the Vox Populi, the game's revolutionaries. Both the story and final reward change based on which group the player supports. The game's story is told though newspaper clippings and product requests from the Founders and Vox Populi.
As great as pre-ordering is, nothing is perfect. On Feb. 17, Bungie announced it's new project Destiny. Cue excitement! However, Bungie also announced though Destiny will not be available until sometime in 2014, it is already available for pre-order on all current generation and next-gen consoles.
Wait, what? So you want me to pre-order a video game that I hardly know anything about or even know much about the consoles it will be released on? Right. I know pre-ordering isn't mandatory, but why open pre-order so early when the launch date is perspectively more than a year away? As much as I support pre-orders, what kind of message are Bungie and Activision sending through this move when all we've been given is a few screenshots and a lot of talk?
Even worse, GameStop is offering posters with each pre-order. I want one of those posters. I know by the time I make my decision on what console I want, those posters will be no more. Thank you Bungie/Activision for jumping the gun.
You'll get an experience that shelves can't offer
Midnight launch events are amazing. I've made so many friends, connected with GameStop employees and won some cool swag by answering trivia questions. There's nothing like being around people who, like you, are willing to sit outside of a shopping center for hours on end, rain or shine, to get a video game.
Ultimately, the best part of pre-orders is getting your money to the people who deserve it. As much as I enjoy saving money by purchasing used games, I feel like it's important that when a gamer really wants a game or admires a specific company, buy it new. It's like whenever my favorite band puts out a new album, I make sure I purchase the physical copy because I feel like it helps the band more and it means more to me. So if you do it for something, do it for those developers so they can make you great games in the future.