I have an idea that can put the power back to the consumers at least on the digital front. It has 0% of ever happening, but it's the best defense against this shit.
Two words: "Satisfaction Guaranteed"
If you don't like what you got in... let's say... three days or less, you can get a refund (to your Steam/Origin/etc Wallet) no questions asked.
Like I said, I know it won't happen, but name me one other industry other than the video game industry that's developed such an immense and callous disregard for its customers.
I'm sure someone else has said it, but that was probably the best intro ever. Of all time.
$10-$17 off for preordering. I think Jim and TB both neglected to say anything that really would always be against pre ordering a game for an actually tangible and significant benefit (It's so fucking rare a preorder bonus is significant they can't be blamed). For context: aliens pre-order came with fucking multiplayer skins. And it's from gearbox, who to my knowledge were heavily involved in duke nukem forever.
It's a risk versus reward scenario: In aliens the potential reward was fucking tiny and the risk was this scenario playing out right now.
.....This is probably the worst place to put this, but you've really made me want to pre-order Bioshock:Infinite now.
Eh I don't see the issue since I just explained why this is a vastly different situation. Go ahead, pre-order, I rate the odds of infinite sucking at way less than 1/6. To be frank I think the only way to keep preorders alive if gamers smarten up is to do deals like that.
Pretty much the only companies that I can trust now for preorders are Atlus and Bethesda. Which is funny, because I know when I get a Bethesda product, I know it's going to be buggy.
Buggy =/= Crappy, which is probably why you still preorder Bethesda games. Granted the bugs can be astoundingly aggravating (I got stuck as a werewolf with the cursed ring of Hiricine and both quests to "stop" the badness went through without a hitch... except that the ring stayed cursed and my character stayed a Werewolf. On top of not being able to have a Follower because I dismissed Lidya which the game didn't register properly. ARGH, entire character pretty much down the drain since I didn't have any saved games from prior to joining the Circle.) but their games are still very good otherwise.
And as others have said, some of the bugs are just giggle-worthy.
/doesn't pre-order games, but that's not a moral stance; I tried to pre-order ME3's Collectors Edition, but Canadian Best Buy wasn't carrying it and I didn't have money free on any other credit card at the time. Really dodged a bullet there, in retrospect.
Reserves? "Jazz Hands!"
Oh, wow. You came here with a heart full of emotions and a brain full of words, it seems.
Awesome post, though. So awesome I found myself just skipping over and stop autocorrecting the spelling mistakes, instantly feeling stupid for being a part-time grammar nazi.
Unfortunately, I get that A LOT! When I was going through uni as an undergraduate I hired people from time to time to edit my writing submissions that where to be peer reviewed. My background for better or for worse, has very little to do with "writing".
hahaha Tree ware! Working on stuff from time to time I still find some sympathy for the poor schmuck who gets stuck with the job of scenery. Load up skyrim tool box sometime and just count the number of wall textures. It's a thankless job. =D
The whole Alien conundrum is, methinks, not easily wrapped up, but I believe I see certain similarities of the 'horse meat scandal' that seems to have a firm grip over major European countries and big-name, big-money food companies and the 'utterly shite games non-scandal' state of affairs. We're bound to (want to) trust big names (Findus, Aldi, EA, Activision), but the bigger they get, the more important streamlined everything gets for them, to keep a tab on costs and TCO and ROI and whatnot.
Well, to be fair I expected this to happen sooner or later and A:CM was a perfect storm. Sega like Paradox not to long back gets taken for a ride. Remember Sword of the Stars 2? Paradox changed part of their development strategy thanks to that which included more progress reports from the studios as to the state of the products. Sega for better or for worse does publish the Total War series, which I find to be excellent. I can't pretend to know what the state of the union is with the studios or publishers, I imagine they are quite well aware of what it is they do.
I just don't think it goes much further than "awareness". Like smoking.
When I was working in box retail (distribution) the larger companies had very little knowledge of "games", but an exceptional knowledge of markets. Publishers today are filled to the brim with marketing and management staff. There is a massive bureaucratic infrastructure with these projects. To put that in perspective if Acti-Blizzard looses I think about 25 percent of it's player base in WoW, the company goes immediately into the red from cost overhead.
They cheated and lied, and the crap they sold us is not worth any real time or money from average gamers, and it's bound to emotionally impact fans of the series in a very negative way. Aliens: Colonial Marines is cancer, ADD, depression and smallpox all rolled into one. It's a bad one.
As obvious as it is, I think it would still be quite difficult to prove and nearly impossible to liable. The FPS in my book pretty much hit it's stride as a game "phenotype" (to borrow a bio word), with the Rainbow 6 Raven Shield series. I think the ARMA development has been interesting, and while the COD and BF franchises have created some breathtaking games, have really crippled "what could have been" in a rush to find that "market penetration" of Mario party with guns.
Essentially the genre has been in a wack' a mole mode for some years now. Maybe it took A:CM to make the point? It certainly makes it better than anything I could of ever written about. Though with Day Z and other mods I do find that there has been somewhat of a Renascence with the notion of what these products "used" to be like.
Sitting around with some friendlies we discussed what one would do with the Aliens license, and again, in all fairness; it was somewhat destined to suck ass. Could probably do a video blog on the subject detailing the challenges presented to a "games" designer.
Now I am not talking about lighting, and texture maps, or stuff like that... simply as objects in a 3d space, how would one go about making the alien aggressor interesting in the context of the firepower of the marines. How does one take that and craft ones levels and streamline behavior with scripts to keep it engaging. Then again when I work out a game I start with a big piece of cardboard, plastic figures, and a ruler. Always keeping in mind the limitations of the video and mainboard ram states... as well as thinking, "if i put a 90 degree turn here, I can drop out all the previous stage from the z buffer, and load an interesting scene here". This is heavily done in Dead Space 3. It's impressive what they get away with considering the limitations of the hardware it has to run on.
Stuff like having the hud pop up, a flash interface in a 3d space, has patents on it. It's sometimes surprising the sheer amount of technical know how it takes to do something that seems as simple as that.
Don't even get me started on A.I. man o' man. "smart" systems are thesis for master's and Ph.D of computational mathematics.
If you can't get it off a shelf, or google the script for it, your hiring for it... and those people do not come cheap, if they are even available at all. It's beyond the scope of most game studios.
Yeah Horde mode!
With aliens I want to really get a sense of 3d and speed; so much so it is disorienting. The original AVP would of been a good place to start, but I may of tried to take it further. As it stands no amount of polishing will make A:CM anything more than a turd... polished up. It was fundamentally broken before it ever started and no amount of crummy writing and half baked ret-conning was going to save it.
It had to be "at it's core" an interesting game. We know the world, the weapons, the sound effects; to capture those hearts and minds it had to deliver some outstanding "game play". Good luck with that... nowadays... (to many "art" people, not enough math people).
Pure tech hurdles... destructible terrain, smart AI, working with the environment as the marines to hold a defense. Like stuff... I dunno... in a game? It's the ire I have for the genre.
Keep in mind one can play through Aliens, and the hardest of difficulties... by "running" through the scenes. I mean... c'mon. Rly?
Alas it is a very uninspired game dressed up and peddled on the merit of the license.
Reminds me of Homefront, when they got the "writer" from Red Dawn to scribble some junk for it. Marketing.
I like your little bit about the Bushmaster M98B. I like the story, genesis, history of how it came to be. It took inspiration and dedication and significant risk taking to get this thing made, not just dreamed about.
Yucky bushmaster! Barrett M98B is in a league all it's own. Personally I wouldn't own a bushmaster.
Bushmaster has gained some notoriety for their .223 XM series which is a clone of sorts of the AR-15 5.56mm cartridge. To go a little off topic the Batman shooter utilized one and I think it jammed 5 rounds in. Does not inspire a lot of confidence.
However, consider this: Currently, I don't believe important technological bits like Betamax or Laserdisc could happen in our current economical climate. Sony must prevail, one way or another, but I must admit that I haven't even bought so much as Sony TV for at least a decade, after pretty much twenty years of brand loyalty. I love my PS3, but from the top of my head, I can't think of a Sony developed or Sony funded title that really blew my mind lately. Was Journey funded by Sony? If yes, that's the one. The Sony party brawl thing - I haven't even played it once up to this point in time, and that can't possibly be a good sign.
Depends I think on what technology we are discussing. The Cry Engine as an example is used by military, as well as a heavily modified version of the ARMA engines. Many of the game engines have commercial avenues outside of game development usually in the form of well, military, and sometimes commercial products for simulations.
To my knowledge Journey was supported by Sony. I think it is an interesting product, although I little light on "game". I am not exactly sure how those fiscals are written up, although I imagine there was a considerable amount of support by Sony internal development staff.
Sony like many Japanese companies really need a western market presence, they simply do not have the population in their own country to remain viable. Blu-Ray is here to stay for the moment as well as digital distribution. I expect all the newer consoles to carry a little more ram, a little more of a video solution, and certainly more storage to facilitate the distribution mechanisms. The Sony system is designed around utilizing cloud technology, and I expect that they will continue to drive towards that (Dust 514 comes to mind). They build a good system, just never have been particularly impressed with their software or pipeline. Havok engine has made a killing off Sony products. Ni No Kuni, Demons Souls, many many other games all use it.
Plug n' Chug.
I got a heavy disconnect with EA going on, I ignore most of the shit Activision cranks out. From ten to twenty games bought per year I went down to... three to four titles a year. Everything else just makes me happier with less money, and most of the additional time I spend outside, with or without other people, seems so much more important and precious to me. Driving a car, skinning deer, burying a dog and teaching a new puppy new tricks and laying down the general rules of how not be an asshole seems so much more satisfying than playing crap games and even paying money for them.
That has been a pretty big change. Consoles where expected to sell 6-8 new titles during the life of a system by a household, if your dropping your purchases down, others are as well. Several big box stores have taken a pounding. Lot's of reasons for this, probably write a treatise on the subject.
I have consoles though I tend to stick to PC for my game entertainment. Like you said though, my interest in the rehash and crippling of the product has severely upset my purchasing decisions. I just don't think one gets one's money out of these products. My interest have also changed as well. So it's not all industry fault.
Yeah, I like Ni No Kuni. But I just can't be arsed to spend weekend after weekend dumping hours into it. I'll finish it, but I am much more likely to dump another hundred or so hours into Dark Souls, over the course of the months to come.
We have enjoyed it, but I have a few nit picks with the title. Dark Souls is good stuff, very much enjoyed that as well. Although again, that is something of a rebrand of a previous From Soft. library... so I consider it to be the 7th or 8th game of a series. Very smart design decisions. I am happy with From Soft although I expect round 3 to be crippled looking for that market penetration.
Man, really enjoyed chatting with you!
Partway through that, at about the point where Jim was discussing, "Why is it that the customers have to earn the company's loyalty other than the other way around," that I remembered there's actually a very practical reason why developers are trying to entice us into preorders and DLC.
And that reason is right here, in another Escapist article:
They developers are demonstratively right to know that getting people to preorder is one of the only ways they can guarantee they're getting their money before people just pirate the damn thing anyway. Exclusive pre-order bonuses just seal the deal, conveying the appearance that this is something you won't be able to get if you pirate it (irregardless of the truth of the matter that this is just more content the pirates are going to figure out how to bundle). DLC works out of the opposite side for the same reason, it's what you sell when you expect people to pirate the game but hope to at least get them to buy some content for it.
So, backpedal a bit, the cardinal sin being committed here is actually the gross misrepretation of the product through demos like Aliens: Colonial Marines. That's a deeper problem, that being that, in the last couple decades at least, a lot of truth-in-advertising enforcement has just not been getting done.
Yet, even if they're not getting the book thrown at them for this, there's definite consequences to this. I would be surprised if Gearbox has not had their brand name irreparably tarnished in many potential customers' minds by this Colonial Marines Demo stunt, joining the ranks of Old School EA (although they show signs of improvement at times) and Bobby Kotick headed Activision. I'm definitely thinking twice before buying anything with the Gearbox name on it now, and I'm not even an Aliens fan.
I feel pretty safe in preordering Pokemon X and Y. I just... have this feeling in my gut after playing every other Pokemon game, I'm gonna like it. I rarely preorder, but when I do... I'm usually right.
Although, with that said, I'm cautious for the various reasons Jim presented.
I'm really surprised that the horribleness of Colonial Marines came as a shock to everyone. I took a quick look at it during the big advertising push shortly before its release and said "This looks like it could be crap" Maybe its because I hadn't been following it like other people, or I might just be more cynical about games until I see the reviews.
Being a FPS, there should have been no surprise when this game ending up sucking. FPS is one of those genres that is just total crap in general, and every FPS should be assumed crappy until the reviews come in, and sometimes even despite good reviews. Why someone would per-order ANY FPS on faith is beyond me.
I rarely pre-order games. Thanks to Steam sales, I rarely buy games at full price any more either. I kind of think pre-ordering as a concept developed out of the fact that some companies were over budget on their games and needed the cash flow to finish it, or perhaps they spent so much on one project that they needed the cash to keep working on other projects. So for me, the rare pre-order I ever did was to support the developer in creating more content, but only if it was a developer I enjoyed for a franchise that I had enjoyed. But now, I agree that the whole concept of the pre-order exists for them to essentially milk money from the consumer before they release a product because they know it's going to be a bad product ahead of time, and they just want people to buy it before they find out how bad it is. The industry has taken advantage of the consumer in that regard, but the consumer is all too happy to foot the bill. Just give it a well-known name and people will throw money at it, regardless. Or, as was pointed out, promise the world and let the people give you your money and then when you release it, apologize (or don't) for not doing what you said. Game companies are turning into politicians. During an election (or game release) promise everything to everyone, make sure you get their donations, and once you're elected, just go back on almost all of it and justify it later when you run again.
As for trusting Gearbox, you honestly thought that the makers of Borderlands and Borderlands 2 would make anything other than crap? ^_^
I can't remember the last time I pre-ordered a game... Maybe Diablo III counts, when I bought the Year Pass for WoW and then had to buy Diablo III anyway because I stopped paying the Year Sub when Mists of Pandaria made me realize just how cynical Blizzard had gotten.
Looking at this video, hearing Jim's arguments, it makes me feel like we're gearing up for another "Great Video Game Crash", at least in the console market. Publishers and developers taking their customers for granted, demanding too much of them because they've gotten complacent in their get-rich-quick schemes, and an audience that's growing to despise them for it and eventually will just outright abandon them.
I haven't been into pre-orders since DNF and after Planetside 2 totally stank, I doubt I'll ever pre-order again. I'll likely buy Bioshock Infinite, after it comes out, assuming the reviews don't say it's junk.
Thanks Jim for shouting from the rooftops what I've been telling all my friends for the last few months.
Moral of the story: More demos.
"Oh, but demo's decrease game saaaaales"
Yeah, if your game is fucking garbage it will, cuz people will play it and see it's shit and not buy it. Though that is a good litmus test.
Everyone, from now on, if a game doesn't have a demo come out, assume it's shit and don't buy it. If there's no demo, the developer had no faith or confidence in it's product and wants to deceive you and lie to get your money for a substandard product. This is how we will know, from now on.
My policy with pre-orders isn't trust the company, or the series, but Does it look fun, and if it's part of a series, did I have fun with the other games, and if I didn't play them, what did they do with the other games. You'd have to pry my wallet from my cold, dead fingers to stop me from pre-ordering Rome: Total War 2 and Europa Universalis 4. But I get where this is coming from. I've been very lucky with my pre-orders (Fallout: New Vegas, Shogun 2: Total War, and it's expansion Fall of the Samuri), however, games like Duke Nukum have shaken my faith a little. But it would take a big game to just flop, like the aforementioned games or even Bioshock Infinite, for me to give up pre-ordering.
pre-orders for DLC and pre-orders for pre-orders....what the hell is this market becoming?
it sure sucks if you pre order something and then its crap. i had almost the same feeling for ME3 but after they have fixed the ending that made me play it again, i dint see it anymore that tragic.
i have pre ordered AC3 and no regrets at all. even when desmonds ending wasnt really good but i dint care much about him anyway.
but gearbox really lost my respects after duke nukem. dint get borderlands 2 since i dint even like the first game. i actually dont look anymore at any games with the gearbox logo on it.
now i have pre ordered tomb raider and really hope this will not be a let down. crystal seams to care about their product and customers. after all, they did postpone the game till march to make sure the game is perfect condition.
I like how pirates will bundle all the exclusive pre-order bonuses from ALL the stores into the download.And yeah, I don't trust Gearbox anymore, which is sad.
Agreed although my faith was hurt when they said mechromancer was the bonus for Borderlands 2 and then only after I had dropped money on it did it come out that you had to preorder it at BestBuy or Gamestop. I was very displeased with this outcome.
I never really got the point of pre-orders...at all, what exactly is the benefit to me as a consumer? Some worthless doo-dad that I can probably unlock by fiddling with the console commands or that the publisher will release in a patch a few months down the road?
Seriously anyone who buys a game on blind faith or trust is a fool, as we have seen many times in the past decade even highly regarded developers can release a crappy product. I fail to understand what I assume to be a mentality where you must have a game within the hour of its release to market. Waiting even just 24 hours can often provide invaluable information which makes for a more informed purchase.
Many of the ills associated with the modern gaming industry are for the most part the fault of people who buy into this crap...less mindless behaviour on the part of the consumer base will probably reverse this "snake oil salesman" mentality which has been growing in the industry. However, when I see news stories about people camping outside fucking best buy to purchase a fucking call of duty game the very minute it is released...I really doubt people will change and this current state of affairs will continue to get worse.
Why would you pre order anything without knowing a thing about it? As a consumer, that's one of the worst possible ways to spend your money. Short of giving it to a Nigerian prince who will totally give you $30 billion zillion dollars in return.
Hit the nail on the head again, Jim. It's repulsive that a game as shit as Colonial Marines is going to wind up making so much money solely because Gearbox SCAMMED so many people into preordering it by LYING to them about the fucking game! If you make a shit game, you deserve to LOSE money, not laugh all the way to the bank by abusing the trust of your customer base! Gearbox can go and fuck themselves.
I have only pre-ordered 6 games over all my years in gaming and I haven't been screwed once.
Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Halo 3, Halo ODST, Halo Reach and Halo 4 are all games that I have enjoyed and I don't regret a thing.
The problem with TB is his paranoia of the "Fans." A "fan" to him is a scary being who drags the video game industry back. An evil creature who can't be trusted and is the reason that, he feels, the industry is crap. I mean I also don't like his hatred to consoles but that is another argument.
Pre-ordering is not bad, If you like the free shit you get, do it. I don't get how being screwed on pre-ordering one game makes all of pre-ordering wrong. I get that you are angry because your game sucked but it is one game.
To answer your question at the end:
Pre-Ordering is a bad practice because it encourages sales before there is a product to sell. That in and of itself doesn't seem as terrible as all that, but it is. What we encourage by giving our money away before the game is made is allowing the publisher/developer leeway to commit acts that can skew the final product. They know the game will be successful no matter what they do at that point, so they can (if they choose to) stop production on the game you have pre-ordered and still make a profit. While it doesn't mean that is what they will do, it is something that can and has happened.
Imagine you have a child. You give the child a project (lets say: pulling the weeds in the garden) and tell him that when he finishes his project you will give him a new video game. The child will get out there and start working hard and fast to get the project done. He knows that you will come check his work before you give him the game, so he does a thorough job. After he is done and you check the garden, you give him his game. That is how normal business practices work. Now lets see how the pre-order theory works in the same scenario. You tell the child that if he pulls all the weeds in the garden you will give him a new video game. The child goes out and starts working hard and fast, but half way through it he calls you outside to check the garden, you see his work and think he is doing a great job. Seeing as how he is doing so well, you say "wow, wonderful job. Here is your video game kid" and you go back inside. At this point the kid has the video game in his hands, how good of a job do you think he will do on the rest of the garden...
True if the kid is good he will finish the job at the same level he started it, but we are talking about developers who have a habit of screwing their customers over. These people will not continue at the same level they started at. They will rush the rest and go play with their new toy (or your money as it were).
This is why the practice is bad.
I understand the your reason but I don't believe that would ever happen, The game can and will be shipped out early but not because of your reason. The people who make the game do not get paid depending on how well the game sells. The producers or company make more money depending on how well the game sells. So yes, the producers could push out the game early if they wanted just the pre-order sales.
That being said I don't believe that a game will suck because they got lazy because of pre-orders. They game would have sucked weather they got pre-orders or not.
I do realize that games having the option to pre-order like a year in advance could possible lead to what you were talking about but I don't believe that it would ever happen. The game would suck not matter if it was pre-ordered or not. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, is a saying that works here. No company is going to say that they are just happy with the pre-order sales and they don't want to make more money.
I get what you are saying but i don't believe that would ever happen and really Gearbox only has one good game series (Borderlands). Jim said that the company had good will. Really? All I see is a group of people doing knee jerk reaction to one game that sucked. It is like my friends pre-ordering ff13-2 and getting mad at pre-ordering because his game sucked. FF-13 sucked.
I guess I am just really careful with with my pre-orders. The only risk I took was with Halo 4 and I am having lots of fun with it. I guess the lessen is be carful pre-ordering and know it is a risk but the bane of gaming? I didn't think so
Pre ordering itself isn't all bad. They want to know how many people are going to want their game when it releases.
I never understood why you would pre-order unless you're super impatient.
The inevitable upcoming flood of DLC people who buy the "complete edition" of the game later get for free while paying less pretty much guarantees you're getting screwed over.
A donation is what pre-ordering is and I see worthier causes for that than large companies with shitty anti-consumer business practices.
I don't pay for a meal before I've eaten it.
You've never been to a fast food restaurant?
You've never been to a bistro, cafeteria or smorgasbord that has up-front payment?
You've never been to a fine dining restaurant with a large group from work (or wherever), where you order from a pre-set menu and pay up-front?
You've never been to a wedding?
You've never been to a supermarket to buy ingredients to cook your own meal?
There are countless situations where you pay for food up-front. That doesn't excuse the completely stupid practice of pre-ordering games, but it's a completely nonsensical statement.
Also, does this position also apply to the Kickstarter funding of games, Jim? That's a kind of pre-order with even less certainty, where you may not even receive any product.
What's funny about all of those things is that if you are not happy with the final "product" you can take your product back for a refund...
Kickstarter is less like a pre-order and more of an investment, however.
I only pre order collectors editions....whats the point otherwise?
Mass Effect 3 is what got me out of preordering games, this just confirms it for more people.
so you wouldnt have played it had you known about the ending?
I would have bought/played it regardless of how good/bad it was, the difference here being that I'd go in without any pre conceived Ideas so I oculd make up my own mind...rather than have the game "ruined" for me I'd rather ruin it myself
Yeah well its my 60 dollars that I wasted on a bad game.
Yeah well its my 60 dollars that I wasted on a bad game.
bad game? I don't-
you know what? I'm not gonna go there
I LOL'd at that intro! I wasn't quite expecting that, but if any game deserves a beatdown like that, it's Aliens: Colonial Marines.
I think it's fair to say that most of us have been stung by pre-orders, but I'm interested to hear Jim's take on Kickstarters - surely the 'ultimate' pre-order.
As misleading as it may have been, Gearbox's A:CM trailer gave a vague hint as to final game content. At least people who pre-ordered this game had some rather hazy idea of what they were getting. Well what of the current 'darling' of gaming, the kickstarter? Asking customers to hand over their money with no idea whatsoever of what kind of game will emerge from said process and then expecting the same customers who paid for the game's development to then pay full price (and probably a pre-order bonus) for the finished product?!
It's been said before, but I'll say it again: How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit...
See, the problem is just that. People have begun to interpret Kickstarter as a pre-order hub, when in reality it is merely a more accessible way for the average consumer to become an investor in a product or idea proposed by an entrepreneur. That's why Kickstarter had to revise its terms of service to illicitly state that supporting a Kickstarter is not the same as reserving a copy of the object or service being pitched.
In that regard, I believe Jim would probably be supportive of crowd funding, though once again, it is an entirely different animal than what the general public has misconstrued it to be. Still, who knows? The man can speak for himself, as I'm sure he will one of these days.
I've pre-ordered a few things over the last two years but honestly, the need for pre-ordering died out years and years ago, back when there wasn't a guarantee that the game you wanted would be there.
Now we have a gajillion different online sources to purchase new games that will ALWAYS be there, hence why they sweeten the deal with numerous bonuses that no one but pre-orders will get.
Overall the practice does need to stop, so I agree with Jim here.
What's funny about all of those things is that if you are not happy with the final "product" you can take your product back for a refund...
Kickstarter is less like a pre-order and more of an investment, however.
You can get a refund on games you are not happy with... since when wasn't this the case? How is this different from the food situation?
Kickstarter is not an investment. You aren't buying shares in the company. You don't get any royalties or dividends if the project succeeds. I really don't understand what you're trying to say here, because it is doesn't match reality.
You know what, Jim?
You are a journalist (or jarnelist, whatever). You feel lied to, and you were. You know what would be productive? Actually digging and finding out about the breakdown between all the studios involved, informing the audience as to what a "verticle slice" is, and - when pre-orders are involved in any game - instead of complaining that the audience shouldn't be pre-ordering, how about finding out if the game merits it?
Yes, that means asking tough questions and having a legal staff.
You know what though? You have the personality to do it. I believe that you can. You're the guy who managed to piss off MS by saying "Herp Derp" to summarize an MS event.
At the very least, a follow up magazine style piece on the practices of PR and marketing vs. finished and unfinished products. ACM is alreadyout. It's already been panned by critics. You can - and should - find out more. You or Destructoid (I know you're reviews editor, not news editor, so that's out). Because you've made this voice for yourself, you're somewhat immune from PR blacklists, because you're the kind of guy who'd point it out and gamers will rally around you.
There is no reason to pre-order anything these days. You want Bioshock Infinite? Guess what? You can walk into a store and get the game day one. There won't be a shortage.
I only pre-ordered ONE game and that was Portal 2. I trusted valve software to give me a good product and I got a good product. I was thinking about pre-ordering A:CM as I like the sci-fi style shooters but my budget dictated otherwise and I am so glad that it did!
Also: Whatever you do: Do NOT preorder the new SimCity unless you only want to play as long as EA can be arsed to keep servers up for it!
Unfortunately, what Jim suggests presents a bit of a conundrum that's bound to trap people forever in infinite cycles of hatred, weariness, joy, then love. Frankly I'm quite amazed this is the same Jim as the one who wrote an article several years ago claiming that customers outside the gaming media cycle were smarter than the ones in it, because they chose games based on what looked fun to them, not because of the developer/publisher's name on the box and not because of any sort of hype surrounding them. Jim's suggestion is for us to trust developer's with proven track records of products. Except that's exactly what happened with A:CM. Jim even says it himself. "You can't trust the people that made Borderlands 2, so who can you trust?" So how are exactly are they supposed to earn your money again?
I'm also not sure what he's bitching about with advertisement. They lied to you Jim? Really? A marketing team over-hyped something, or flat out promised something that wasn't in there? Say it ain't so, Auntie Em. Welcome to every other industry ever. The newest Die Hard trailers also promised me it was gonna be the best valentine's day movie ever; how much you wanna bet on the veracity of that statement. I'm quite worried that gamers just don't seem to understand the relationship of the customer in the subjective world of entertainment, and that they're just now realizing "Gee, maybe we shouldn't just throw money at developers or series we like whenever a new one comes out." YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE THE ONE WHO MAKES THE JUDGMENT CALL ON WHETHER OR NOT TO BUY SOMETHING BECAUSE THE COMPANY HAS NO WAY OF KNOWING IF YOU WILL LIKE IT BEFOREHAND. Companies can't decide for you what you should or shouldn't be buying, and their survival depends on convincing you why you should buy their product over others. Now, in a perfect world, they'd accomplish this by putting out the best product. But, since things like Twilight and Transformers can make all the money ever, we know that that doesn't always work. So they have to promote. They have to hype. Especially these days, since games are more expensive than ever to make. And yes, sometimes gamers fall for the advertisements, sometimes they look at the box and just plain make the wrong choice. Does that mean the company is this evil behemoth that's sucked another victim dry? Of course not, someone looked at the information available to them and made the wrong choice (for themselves).
If everyone picked the right game for themselves all the time (hell if they bought the right anything all the time), than we would be the wisest civilization ever. I watched Mama when it was released. I saw the trailers, and the short film it was based off of. It looked good to me. The trailers promised it would be scary, and it was, right up until the last fifteen minutes or so. That ending sucked. But I didn't write to the directors or the producers calling them distrustful assholes who made me pay for something when I had no idea what the final product was. Why? Because it's impossible for anyone to make a game, movie, story, book, food, furniture, TV, computer, car, toy, song, etc. that everyone will like. And to demand that of them? To demand that they put out something no one will have any complaints over is beyond ridiculous. It would certainly be nice if they did, hell even they want to put out something everyone will like. That's the ultimate goal. But it's a nirvana no one can ever reach.
TL;DR: There are lots of products of which require you to pay first before you can experience them. Food? Can't just start sampling that new cereal in the store. And good luck trying to return two-thirds of a six pack you didn't like. Movies? God, A History of Violence was terrible. Games ain't the first one. So suck it up. If you ever bought a game you didn't like, then you made a mistake. Salvage what you can and move on. You'll be a lot happier for it.
(Also I noticed Jim hid his Assassin's Creed 2 statue, and the Skyrim dragon statue; things which either came with pre-orders, or collector's editions which are even worse)
The next video game crash can't come soon enough. Hopefully it won't be the death of the Escapist.