One of the latest trends in the video game industry are exclusive pre-order bonuses that vary from retailer to retailer. While it may seem good to have choices, is there too many bonuses? Many of these pre-order bonus items aren’t available in the regular game. Is it fair that retailers and video games are joining together to try to make gamers pre-order from certain stores?
When did pre-ordering and bonuses start?
Gamestop is the first store I noticed that started pushing pre-ordering years ago. You couldn’t walk up to the counter without being asked to throw down five dollars for some game that was months away from being released. Big budget video game releases aren’t exactly rare finds, so pre-ordering didn’t have much purpose back then. Then Gamestop started offering bonuses to pre-order. In 2008, I got a poster and a CD for pre-ordering Fallout 3. It was a nice perk, but I still would have bought the game anyway, poster or not. Besides, that poster and CD didn’t change what content was available in the game. In the past year or so, pre-order bonus mania really started. Not only were retailers touting bonuses, but each store has a different one. Currently, the stores that participate include Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Gamestop.
What’s so unfair about pre-order video game bonuses?
At first glance, it’s nice to have choices. Choices are good, right? The problem with bonuses is in order to get every item in the game, you have to buy multiple copies from each store. That’s the way it is for Fallout: New Vegas. There are four different bonuses, each with exclusive items. Whether are not some of these items like the armor will be released later via download isn’t known. If they do become available to everyone, there’s a good chance players will have to pay to download them. For players who want to collect every thing in the game, pre-order bonuses make it difficult. New Vegas isn’t the only game with multiple bonuses. Halo:Reach, Dead Rising 2, and Call of Duty Black Ops all have them too.
Not only does it stop players from collecting items, it severely limits where you can purchase the game. If you really want the ninja pack for Dead Rising 2, Gamestop is the only place to get it. If there is no Gamestops nearby the only thing to do is order online and pray it comes by the street date. Another problem with pre-order bonuses is multiplayer. For Battlefield Bad Company 2, players who pre-ordered got access to Squad Rush mode a month before everyone else. While it doesn’t seems like a long wait, it’s frustrating. Pre-ordering doesn’t cost more, the only thing it does is guarantee you have a copy of a readily available game from day one. In fact, the bonuses are in every copy of the game, but locked away unless you have the code. How is that fair, especially since the bonuses are already on the disc?
With so many stores offering different bonuses, it gets confusing. There is often little or no information regarding the availability of bonuses for everyone at a later date. I hope the pre-order mania will die down soon. Until then, I think I’m done with pre-ordering. I just want the game, bonuses or not, and I don’t want to worry if I’m getting the “best” bonus.