Editors Note: Today’s post comes to us from Hatm0nster over at UnitedWeGame. He was kind enough to take the time on this post so make sure you go stop by the wonderful UnitedWeGame site as well to say ‘hey’. Thanks Hatm0nster!—————————————————————————————————————————————–
Recently, Activision’s CEO Eric Hirshberg reported to investors that “there’s been sort of a secular downturn [for] pre-orders.” Many are happy about this, some may not be, but feelings aside this turn of events has always seemed inevitable hasn’t it?
Any consumer base can only be pushed so far before they finally start losing interest, and while we gamers are likely more passionate than most about our product of choice, even we have our limits. Pre-ordering used to have a purpose. It was a means to make sure we could get our hands on those games with smaller releases, or those oh so elusive collector’s editions. Not anymore though. In this digital age, scarcity isn’t nearly the problem it used to be, and a limited edition that’s actually “limited” has become a rare thing indeed. The idea of needing to pre-order has become obsolete; with few exceptions, it hasn’t served its original purpose for a couple of years at least. We simply don’t need it anymore.
The only reason we’re only just now starting to see the inevitable downturn is because we gamers, as a base, have gotten tired of all the garbage the “service” has been used to throw at us. They’ve been pushed at us to the point where we’ve begun to wonder if the publishers actually respect us anymore. They certainly don’t seem to trust us, what with all the oppressive DRM measures and shoddy releases we’ve been asked to endure over the years. Yet, even as they’ve shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted, the constant pushing of preorders makes it feel as though they would still demand that trust from us, making us prove that we’re fans by giving them our money ahead of time. Meanwhile, we’ve been seeing larger and larger portions of the games getting carved off for those very same preorders, as if the full experience is being held ransom from those who would rather wait and see it the game is actually worth the cost of entry. You know, like what we all used to do.
What it all adds up to is the expiration of our confidence in the “service”. We’re just plain tired of it. We’re tired watching it escalate, we’re tired of getting burned on a game that did not live up to the hype. We’re tired of getting treated as if we were somehow the enemy, and that we need to somehow prove our worth as customers. No other consumer base is treated like this, so why should we continue to support it? The real tragedy in all this is that the pre-order system could have been a win-win situation all along; all that they would have had to do is put in a little effort. If they had treated preorders like special editions, offering actual bonuses that rewarded the purchases made in good faith on our part, maybe we wouldn’t be seeing preorders declining right now. For now though, we’re tired of it, and it’s going to some real changes to how preordering is handled in the future if the industry is ever going to see our interest piqued again.
What do you think has caused the downturn in preorders? What would it take to get them back on track?