Gamer Rant: My Reservations On Reserving Games
I have a habit of staring. Most often it’s off into the distance or down at my shoes, but occasionally my absent-minded glare leads others to think I’m interested in things (and people). Such was the case at Gamestop last week. “I see you looking at our upcoming releases. Are you interested in pre-ordering and receiving an exclusive reservation bonus?” I resisted the urge to blurt out “who are you? What’s going on?” and silently shook my head. Then it hit me. I’m almost indifferent about pre-ordering games these days.
Once upon a time, I was a kid who not only knew the release dates of games, but also the day that the pre-orders opened. I’d guard those receipts with my life up until the day of launch, for nothing more than the experience promised to me. No perks, no additional content, no shoddily made hats that smell like an old Italian man. Just the game. So why, when we now receive more for doing the exact same thing, do I now regard the pre-order process so unfavorably?
Only at Gamestop – A big reason for my jaded view is store-exclusive content. What the big retailers are telling me is that I can’t have a complete game unless I buy it from them. Well I don’t need 5 copies of Resident Evil 5. And I’m not willing to wait 6 months for your perks to become DLC which I’ll then have to pay more for. So instead of offering a pre-order bonus, it sounds to me like retailers are offering to forego subtracting content if I am willing to pre-order. No wonder I’m so bitter.
Supply and Demand – The fuel to my pre-order fire in years past simply does not exist anymore. It used to be that if you wanted a guarantee that you could play it first, you would pre-order. But especially in big cities like mine, that’s not the case anymore. In fact, it would be harder to find a store that is sold out than it would a store that is in-stock. Chalk it up to the growth of the industry, or better inventory management but there really isn’t a need to reserve anymore. I know I can have what I want when I want it, so why go out of my way for an alternate uniform or plush toy?
e-Stores – The age of digital downloads is threatening the very existence of the reservation system altogether. Infinitely duplicable, readily available at any amount of notice and I don’t have to put on pants to get it. This is the future our forefathers dreamt about. The times are a changin’ and with the emergence of e-stores comes one less function for brick and mortar game stores.
Alas, my big ball of bitter won’t be welcomed by everyone. For the small-town obsessive worriers who play their games offline [an ever-shrinking demographic], please continue to pre-order your precious games. Take solace in the fact that you have a contract with a large, faceless retailer. After all, it’s not like they’ve ever let you down…
Article written by Adam Rodricks