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Should We Still Be Pre-Ordering Video Games? Is It Time to Rethink the Trend?

Over the years the video game industry has quickly become a thriving market, with millions of gamers worldwide desperate to get their hands on the latest release. Is it time to rethink the way we pre-order and purchase video games?

With most publishers now being experts at generating hype around their upcoming releases, it’s easy to see why so many people would want to pre-order the latest games.

But, with so many games in the past few years alone not living up to the hype, is it now time to rethink how we buy games, and stop fueling publishers’ ability to release unfinished, bug-riddled, or even falsely marketed games? Let’s dive into the perils of pre-ordering and explore the potential downsides that often outweigh the benefits.

Incomplete and Unpolished Products

One of the biggest risks associated with pre-ordering games is the possibility of buying an unpolished game, or worse, a game that isn’t fully complete.

With developers and publishers setting release dates far in advance, it can often lead to rushed development cycles, which can result in us receiving sub-par products. While this is something that you can expect and even understand with early access games, it’s not something you should expect from a pre-ordered full release.

With so many developers and publishers releasing apologies for their poor launches this year, such as Lord of The Rings: Gollum, it’s becoming clear that pre-ordering is not the way to go.

Waiting for reviews and post-release feedback can help make a more informed decision, which in turn can not only save you from disappointment but also helps ensure games are released in a better state, as sales would be affected by poor reviews.

Misleading Marketing and Overhype

The gaming industry is notorious for overhyping games, with cinematic trailers that can often be misleading, to enticing pre-order bonuses to sweeten the deal, there are plenty of ways to be pulled into the hype and pre-order the latest games.

Waiting for the game to be released is always safer than pre-ordering a game. Not only does pre-ordering rarely yield any real benefits in-game, apart from the occasional cosmetic, but it also doesn’t give you a chance to get real reviews and in-game footage from other players.

While it’s not the case for all games, there have been many times in recent years when developer footage has been questioned. The Day Before is a great example of a game that has recently been called into question over the validity of its gameplay footage.

Pre-Ordering Vs Early Access

One of the other issues with pre-ordering video games is the lack of consumer influence. To put it simply, you pre-order a game, and if it’s broken, incomplete, or not as described, there’s little you can do about it.

While some developers might offer a day-one patch, not only is it not guaranteed to resolve all your issues, but it also defeats the point of pre-ordering in the first place, if you have to wait for a playable experience.

Supporting early access games is a completely different kettle of fish, though. Not only do you get to play the game before release, but in most cases, early access developers are much more interested in working with their communities, ensuring that the game’s bugs are ironed out, and features gamers actively seek are included.


While the allure of pre-ordering video games is understandable, it’s important to also consider the potential drawbacks before committing to a pre-order.

With no information from third-party sources, and a lack of unbiased footage can easily lead to disappointment, something that has been happening far too often in the gaming market recently.

A lack of pre-orders will also leave publishers without an accurate way to forecast sales, meaning they will need to ensure they act upon any and all promises and deliver a top-notch product.

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