The Ongoing Process Of Weaning Myself Off Pre-Ordering

witcher 3 cover art

I used to be the person who pre-ordered everything. Especially if I knew I already wanted to play the game in question, it seemed far easier to pop on over to Amazon, place the pre-order, then forget about it until it showed up in the post.

Then we started seeing a rapid increase in retailer-specific pre-order bonuses (which I understand, but am not a huge fan of), which caused me to occasionally switch my pre-order from Amazon to GameStop, but still, the game remained pre-ordered from somewhere.

As I have mentioned before a couple of times, I have a detailed Excel spreadsheet of all the games I own. This data includes both the platform, and the type of release (e.g.: disc, digital). When I first created the spreadsheet, I knew I had a lot of games. Some might say a gross abundance of games. I just had no idea how many.

Turns out, at that time, I had over three hundred. THREE HUNDRED. That’s so many.

Now then, sure, I had played a decent chunk of those, however the majority have still been unplayed. I had to really step back and take a look at my habits, one of which was my chronic pre-ordering of games I wanted, but had no intention of playing upon release.

The bonuses used to reel me in. I would think, But if I don’t pre-order it, I will never get that special hat/outfit/weapon/piece of gear. Then those items began releasing far after the game initially did. This sort of rendered those items less special, as you could just buy them for a nominal fee later down the line.

I looked at all the data on that spreadsheet and saw so much money. It was almost embarrassing.

Who am I kidding? It was horrifying.

I then thought about all the times I’d seen a new release drop in price from $60 to $39 within the first couple months. That’s a third of the price just gone. So it seemed all too logical to simply wait on purchasing games I had no intention of playing immediately upon release.

So far so good.

And of course, as we all know, within the last year especially, there have been so many botched releases with technical issues that it would make a game developer blush (and probably very likely has).

With all these factors stacked against a release, it only seems prudent to wait. If you could pay less money, have a more stable release, and play it in your own time, why wouldn’t you wait?

As I said, there are still games that survive this criteria for me. Occasionally there will be a super neato pre-order bonus that I can’t resist the lure of. These are usually with games I have every intention of playing the moment I get my hands on them so there isn’t a huge problem, but I’m still susceptible.

One thing I’m almost entirely rid of is the lure of the season pass. I’ve been burned on too many games (even games where this felt like a slam dunk) to buy into that premise any longer.

The reason all this came to mind was because I knew I would get to GameStop this weekend to pre-order The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The pre-order bonus is minimal (a key chain! wheee!), but I just can’t wait to play this game. From every interview, screenshot, and article I’ve read, my interest is piqued. I want to get right into the game at the first chance.

Do I need to pre-order it? Nope. Am I still going to? Yes sir.

I try to be conscious of how much I consume, but I still struggle to balance excitement with frugality. With most backlogs the way they are, it’s simply more cost-effective to wait until a complete edition of the game releases (usually within a reasonable amount of time) down the line that includes all the goods for a fraction of the cost.

And on these frugal notes, off I scoot to prepare for the coming weekend by (dear god) hopefully finishing my April game challenge (finally!) so I can move on to Bloodborne next week (yay!).

I wish each of you a safe and game-filled weekend! Cheers!

11 replies »

  1. Pre-order bonuses are almost never substantial enough especially when it feels like it’s something that belongs in the game…

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    • i’m with you on the pre-order bonuses, but i stray a bit on feeling like it ought to be included in the game. at some point, the game is complete, and anything else is additional. there are, of course, exceptions to this, but i don’t seem to take issue with dlc the way a lot of others do.

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      • People have an issue with DLC because it no longer means what the name implies. Nowadays, it means “the rest of the game” rather than “an expansion to the game which we have already finished”.

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      • you know, at some point the main game is finished and everything else is actually part of the dlc. unless you work for that particular developer, you can’t say it was content cut from the game.

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  2. I’ve only really pre-ordered games when I wanted the collector’s edition for a really cool figurine. Like you, my backlog is shamefully massive. I still need to be better about not buying games during the full-price release window when I know I won’t get around to playing it for some time. Too many games have been followed by a GOTY edition, complete with DLC or have been given away through PS Plus between the time I purchase and the time I actually play.

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    • true, some collector’s editions have really cool items (i am especially susceptible to art books) that are hard to resist.

      oh my gosh, yes! i forgot to even mention the influx of games due to playstation plus and games with gold (though more so with the former than the latter). i love the feature on the ps4 where you can add the game to your library without actually downloading it. that’s pretty fantastic, especially with how valuable real estate is on the hard drive.

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  3. I guess it’s my luck, in a way, that we hardly get any pre-order bonuses over here in the Netherlands, so there’s no need for me to pre-order. Because otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d have followed your example. As it is now I buy way too many games anyway, even though I play them all, or at least, part of them. That’s my main downfall, I can still remember all the games I finished, so that’s clear proof that I didn’t finish enough!

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    • but at least you play all the games you buy! this puts you far ahead of me and just about everyone else i know, truly.

      as for my example, hoo boy, it took me so long to get even to this point, and my backlog is still heaving and huge. i really am trying to be better about it, but i’m not always successful. thus is life i suppose.

      this is completely backwards from when i was a kid. when i first had my NES, i had maybe six games and i played them so much it’s not even funny. now i can barely get to the ones i have. first degree first world problems, i suppose. it just helps me remind myself to consume more responsibly. this is my endeavor.

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