Sunday, 11 September 2016

Entitlement in Video Games: Pre-ordering

I've got news for you.  You aren't obligated to pre-order a video game that you're interested in and are thinking about buying.  I know.  Shocking, right?

For the uninitiated, pre-ordering a video game is, as you might imagine, paying for a game before its release and receiving it on the day of release.  Pre-ordering is often incentivized through what is often referred to as a pre-order bonus, which might include downloadable content (DLC) or a physical good like a poster.

With pre-ordering a video game, it seems to be the same thing every time.  A game gets announced, consumers get excited, and they pre-order the game without ever having played it themselves.  But, subsequently--inevitably--the disappointment kicks in and the complaints begin.

One of the biggest complaints and causes for regret when it comes to having pre-ordered a game and subsequently being disappointed by it is that the game is not what it was advertised to be and, most of all, to look like.  Pre-release gameplay circulates and is shown to the public who presume that the footage they are seeing is what the video game they will buy will be like.  However, occasionally, this is not the case.  Sometimes the graphics aren't what they were in the gameplay footage, the video game lacks advertised mechanics, or lacks certain game modes that were said to be in a video game.  The consumer then sees this as a form of false advertising.

Now, I'm certainly not going to defend this type of misdirection or "false advertising."  And certainly the onus is on the video game developers and publishers to be honest about their game.  But the consumer also has a responsibility to be as informed as possible.

I can understand if an individual pre-orders a game and is disappointed with the final version of the game upon playing it--but only when its their first time.  Everyone has to learn lessons somehow.  But when some individuals continue to do this over and over again--well, I'm sorry, but that's just your fault.  If an individual truly has a problem with the way game developers and publishers work, showing one game and publishing another, then don't pre-order video games.  I cannot say it any clearer.  Wait for a game to be released, watch the footage (which there is always plenty of throughout the Internet), and read the reviews.  Then, if you're satisfied that the video game in question is what it was said to be, buy the game.  You will survive if you wait a couple of days post-release to purchase a video game.  No one is forcing anyone to buy a video game day one.

When video games like Watch Dogs and No Man's Sky are amping up for release, I understand that it can be difficult not to get excited with all of the hype that is thrown behind them, both by developers/publishers and by the general population on the Internet.  But we've seen it happen time and time again.  Video games aren't what they once were.  The landscape has changed.  Video games from generations ago were seemingly complete and were as advertised (though there were exceptions, of course).  Today, it's the norm for video games to be released not as advertised, and even broken or incomplete.  I'm not saying I like it, but that's the fact of the matter.  What I am saying is that you have no right to complain about a video game's final version if you didn't take the time to wait and see how it turned out, and instead pre-ordered without assurances that the video game you're pre-ordering is what you've seen to date.  We have the ability to make choices, so why not make the right one?  It really, truly is as simple as that.