Burning in the Halo Pre-Order Hell

Burning in the Halo Pre-Order Hell

A game is just a game. My Halo 3 pre-order isn't generating interest for anyone but EB/GameStop, and when I finally cash it out next week, it will have instantly depreciated by about 50 percent. This is what we call economics of the stupid.

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My first pre-order was Ocarina of Time, mostly because I really wanted the gold cartridge, and my local Wal-Mart in the middle of nowhere wasn't exactly going to get a big shipment of them without someone actually pre-ordering. I even researched what signified a gold version box from a regular version box, to ensure that the peon at Wal-Mart didn't try to rip me off. (In case you're wondering, it had a shiny sticker covering the front surface of the box. I still have the box.) In addition, I have never sold a game back to the market. Even the bad ones. Same for books and movies. I don't actively collect, but I hoard what I have.

Since then, I think I've pre-ordered maybe twice: I bought Guitar Hero II online the night before it came out so I could walk into and out of Best Buy without trying to find their stash, and Kingdom Hearts II, because I think I went in a couple days before the release date to ask for it, and when it hadn't come out yet, I pre-ordered out of embarassment.

Admittedly, the Halo 3 marketing machine is powerful. I don't even own a 360 yet (come on die shrink!! Daddy needs a $400 dollar hole in his pocket!), but I was tempted to pre-order the Legendary. I enjoy worthless gimmicks like scale Spartan Mark IV Mjolnir helmets. They tempted me badly. And they even added just enough of the "There may not be enough special edition whatchamacallits for anything but pre-order. Order now!" But, in the end, sanity prevailed. For me at least. I feel for your pain.

Now I just have to hope that there are enough Legendary's left over by the time I get my 360 to finally give in...

I no longer put preorders down as a matter of principle - if, by some chance they fail to stock enough copies of a game I'm interested in, they lose my business instead. There's enough places to get games that you can almost always find a copy of what you're looking for nearby, and worst case there is always Amazon. I don't need to pay them for the privilege of telling them what games to order.

Russ Pitts:
And after all, it's not like I bought a Mountain Dew just for the stupid can. Yet.

Go ahead and buy one if you must, but whatever you do, don't drink it. Not because it's a collectible, because it's almost toxic.

Plus, if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can pre-order without spending anything, and get the game 1 day shipped for what, $4 dollars? Yeah, I haven't been to gamestop in years.

Alex Karls:
Plus, if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can pre-order without spending anything, and get the game 1 day shipped for what, $4 dollars? Yeah, I haven't been to gamestop in years.

Don't get me started on Amazon Prime. Paying a membership fee for the same level of service they used to offer everyone. Feh. That's called "enforced loyalty" and I'll have none of it.

Unless we're talking Halo.

Virgil:

Russ Pitts:
And after all, it's not like I bought a Mountain Dew just for the stupid can. Yet.

Go ahead and buy one if you must, but whatever you do, don't drink it. Not because it's a collectible, because it almost toxic.

I actually bought a whole case because it was dirt cheap, and I was curious. I actually sort of liked it...

Virgil, by toxic, of course, you must mean this.

Russ Pitts:

Alex Karls:
Plus, if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can pre-order without spending anything, and get the game 1 day shipped for what, $4 dollars? Yeah, I haven't been to gamestop in years.

Don't get me started on Amazon Prime. Paying a membership fee for the same level of service they used to offer everyone. Feh. That's called "enforced loyalty" and I'll have none of it.

Unless we're talking Halo.

By way of an ex of my roommie, I'm told that Amazon Prime "free trials" can be indefinitely extended by signing up, quitting, and signing up again. Still a hurdle, but at least its free as in no money.

I preorder games because, historically, games have sold out for me all the damn time. There is an almost depressing likelihood that I won't be able to get a game at launch if I don't pay for a spot in line. At least, it's that way for the more obscure ones.

So, stop.

Stop preordering. You've indicated that you live in a large enough area to not worry about a game ever selling out, much less for more than a week. There is, then, literally no downside to feeding these pre-order trolls.

If you check that $1 box, you're helping candidates run for office without private interests corrupting things. If you give that extra money to the pizza guy, a real person has directly benefited from your generosity. On the other hand, GameStop puts that money in a corporate bank account, and garners interest.

I totally empathize with your complaint, but I have to say I'm really disturbed by your closing paragraphs, where you basically shrug off your self-disgust with a "meh" instead of resolving to actually change your ways. If you give in to the economics of the stupid, even once...well, you're stupid!

Khakionion:

You've indicated that you live in a large enough area to not worry about a game ever selling out, much less for more than a week.

If you have an internet connection then you never have to worry about a game being sold out. I buy almost all my games online now they are just cheaper online then at retail stores.

I do pre-order games but only when pre-ordering let's me buy the game for less. For example I pre-ordered BioShock and payed a total of $45 dollars for it, I got the same deal on Mass Effect.

After I pre-ordered Halo 2 and got it a midnight release I said to myself I would never pre-order at retail again and try to get the game as soon as the store opens when I could easily get my sleep wake up the next day and get the game without being in the store for more than 10 minutes.

Now I have a Halo 3 pre-order one that I was more given than wanted and I probably won't concern myself with it until after 2pm on 25th and this will mark my last planned brick and mortar retail pre-order for a very long time.

The only time I've ever thought about pre-ordering was for a Nintendo Wii. And no-one was taking pre-orders for those. The few people I know who did have pre-orders still didn't get one.

Moral: if they're offering pre-orders, they'll have enough to go around.

Russ Pitts:
Don't get me started on Amazon Prime. Paying a membership fee for the same level of service they used to offer everyone. Feh. That's called "enforced loyalty" and I'll have none of it.

Unless we're talking Halo.

Uh...I don't remember a time when they offered free 2 day shipping on most things and discounted 1 day shipping...ever.

When and what are you referring to?

Russ Pitts:
when I finally cash it out next week, it will have instantly depreciated by about 50 percent. This is what we call economics of the stupid.

Sounds like buying a car. Only cheaper. (slightly)

Like everything else, it helps to shop around for preorders. I preordered my Legendary back in March when I found out how limited an edition it was, and not only paid nothing (though I suspect the full value is on a hold on my credit card) but also locked in the old price and got a deal on shipping. Even then, I wouldn't have preordered the standard version... there's really not much risk Microsoft won't press enough copies of them.

-- Steve

If you don't order certain games, the store won't stock them, period. This is true of more obscure games--you certainly won't ever run this risk with the games they actually prompt you to preorder, like Super Smash Bros or, god help us, Madden--but if your tastes lean towards the weird, then preordering is quite sensible. Sure, I could order online, but then I end up paying extra for shipping.

I also use preordering as a reminder service. If I read about a game that intrigues me, or I know something is coming out far down the line and I don't want to forget it, I'll put five bucks down on it. If I'm no longer interested by the time the game actually comes out, I can simply get my money back, or use it to buy something else.

i probably would have pre-ordered if i had a 360. it's fun to be excited about something. i like to think i don't go overboard though.

Ocarina of Time was definitely one game you couldn't get in the UK unless you had pre-ordered. Released in the week before christmas they were snapped up faster than chocolate nibbles at a pot smoking convention.

Halo is a sad excuse for a FPS and I can't see how people fell into the trap of "must have". Both one and two were absolutely ridiculous in both storyline and gameplay. The difficulty was on par with Duke Nukem 3D that came on a floppy diskette, and the storyline couldn't hold a candle to it.

How this game went to #3 I don't know.

Geoffrey42:
Virgil, by toxic, of course, you must mean this.

Nope, this - I brought a case of it to the office and we dissected it.

I think the first time I pre-ordered was the Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 back in the summer of 1996. Those were heady days. It was a very different gaming world back then. The original Playstation was still less than a year old and it was doing well, but it hadn't conquered the world yet. Heavyweight killer apps like FFVII and Metal Gear Solid were still a long way off. The one big AAA hit was Resident Evil, which had only been around for three or four months. But the gaming world was waiting for the reigning Emperor of Video Games to reclaim their throne and show the n00bs at Sony how it was done. That's not what eventually happened... but in the summer of '96, the idea of not being able to play Super Mario 64 on Day 1 because the N64 was sold out was a sickening thought. So pre-ordering was a no-brainer.

After that, I just got into the habit of pre-ordering. Whatever the next E-ticket game or console was, I pre-ordered it without really giving it any thought. Eventually it finally dawned on me that it really wasn't necessary 99.9999% of the time, so I stopped. And this was OK... for a while. About three or four years ago, something started to happen more and more frequently: When a new game was released, it seemed like the first retailer who would get their stock was always Gamestop. But if you didn't pre-order it from them, they wouldn't sell it to you. "Sorry, we only got enough copies to cover our pre-orders. Shoulda pre-ordered, dude." So the next step was calling the other retailers: Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, Toys R Us, etc. etc. etc. But they usually gave a variant of the same answer: "No, we didn't get that game yet. Try back next week." Next week? It's supposed to be out NOW. And I want it NOW. The phone calls continue until you eventually find a copy. But once in a while, you just can't find it no matter how many places you call. And you have to go to bed that night empty handed, high and dry. Let me tell you something: When you love games as much as I do, that really effing sucks.

Apparently, the author of this piece lives in an area of the world where he doesn't have to put up with this situation. If he doesn't pre-order, no big deal, because he can be confident that he'll easily be able to find a copy anyway, with no muss and no fuss. Would that I could, sir. Would that I could.

I pre-ordered Halo3, and for good reason.

Gamestops are doing midnight launches (in my area at least) FOR PREORDERS ONLY. I paid for the right to purchase it early, otherwise I would not be able to pick it up until the following morning at the local best Buy, etc. I expect that a huge amount of pre-orders at Gamestop were done for exactly this reason. I was already in the astore buying Corruption at the time, and it's not as if it will cost me more money to pre-order... so the question is, "Why not?"

Stinky-Dinkins:
I was already in the astore buying Corruption at the time, and it's not as if it will cost me more money to pre-order... so the question is, "Why not?"

Unless your pre-order was no money down, (which I sincerely doubt), then it does cost you more.

It may be negligibly more, which depends on how far in advance you pre-ordered, and the amount of the deposit placed on the pre-order, but you forewent interest on that money, interest which Gamestop made instead of you.

So really, you got charged extra to buy it at midnight. Which used to be free. And, again, Gamestop is making massive amounts of profit on your pennies and dimes. I wish I could run a scam like that. I'd be filthy rich.

If I remember correctly, most pre-orders don't have you pay extra, so much as they have you pay part of the cost in advance.

Bongo Bill:
If I remember correctly, most pre-orders don't have you pay extra, so much as they have you pay part of the cost in advance.

None extra except for the lost interest.

If you hadn't given them 5 dollars months in advance, you could've continued to earn interest on it. Or buy some other item on that day. Opportunity costs. It is a negligible amount to you, but it adds up to a lot for the stores.

And I don't see the problem with giving a few extra opportunity cents if it means I don't have to guess whether the store will order the game at all.

Bongo Bill:
And I don't see the problem with giving a few extra opportunity cents if it means I don't have to guess whether the store will order the game at all.

Entirely agreed. As I mentioned before, I engaged in pre-order activity to ensure that my podunk Wal-Mart got the Zelda cartridge I so desperately needed. I was willing to pay a little extra for that.

I'm not entirely of the mind that pre-ordering is bad, just that the above individual stating that there is zero additional cost to pre-ordering is incorrect. Whether you gain any benefit (like the store actually ordering a copy, or "letting" you buy it at midnight) should be weighed against your opportunity costs. But, please, be aware that Gamestop is in the pre-order game to make money first and pad their fiscal statements, and to correctly alot shipments of Halo 3 second. Your pre-order on a game that will definitely be in stock is pure profit for them.

Geoffrey42:

Stinky-Dinkins:
I was already in the astore buying Corruption at the time, and it's not as if it will cost me more money to pre-order... so the question is, "Why not?"

Unless your pre-order was no money down, (which I sincerely doubt), then it does cost you more.

It may be negligibly more, which depends on how far in advance you pre-ordered, and the amount of the deposit placed on the pre-order, but you forewent interest on that money, interest which Gamestop made instead of you.

So really, you got charged extra to buy it at midnight. Which used to be free. And, again, Gamestop is making massive amounts of profit on your pennies and dimes. I wish I could run a scam like that. I'd be filthy rich.

Yes, because money sitting idly in my pocket tends to generate lots and lots of interest for me.

Listen, I paid 10 dollars up front and I'll pay 50 when I get there, for this I reserved the right to get the game at midnight rather than several hours later when the store opened the following morning (otherwise I'd be paying 60 at that time.)
I lost absolutely no money, and if you're saying I should actually be upset over the 2 or 3 pennies of interest they will earn from getting 10 of my dollars early, honestly, why the Hell would I care?

The only 2 items that I actually pre-ordered recently are WoW Collectors Edition and Burning Crusade Collectors Edition, and for those I m glad I did.

Burning Crusade Collector Edition Pre-orders were sold out in hours on some websites months before the game was released. Naturally, you could get the regular version almost every where, but considering that my time spend with this addiction is counted in 3 digit days now, I figured why not pay that extra money for the collectors edition.

Other then that, I dont see myself pre-ordering much.

Oh wait. I, just 2 weeks ago, pre-order Tabula Rasa to get a beta account and see if I would actually like the game. 5 bucks to beta test a game. Sure. Better then spending $50 later and finding out how the game isnt all that it is hyped up to be.

Stinky-Dinkins:
Yes, because money sitting idly in my pocket tends to generate lots and lots of interest for me.

Listen, I paid 10 dollars up front and I'll pay 50 when I get there, for this I reserved the right to get the game at midnight rather than several hours later when the store opened the following morning (otherwise I'd be paying 60 at that time.)
I lost absolutely no money, and if you're saying I should actually be upset over the 2 or 3 pennies of interest they will earn from getting 10 of my dollars early, honestly, why the Hell would I care?

You might consider putting idle cash into an interest bearing account. In the long run, it adds up.

I have already acknowledged that your pre-order bought you access to the midnight launch (which could be had for free elsewhere, let's hope Gamestop is more convenient to your house or has some other advantage which warrants its perceived superiority for midnight launches).

And by your own admission, you lost no more money than you otherwise would have by letting the cash idle in your pocket. This does not mean that you have not lost money. I am splitting hairs when I point out the opportunity cost of 10 dollars not earning interest for you over a couple months, but my world view does not allow your absolute belief that there is no additional cost whatsoever in the transaction.

Maybe I think you should care, because the entity from which you are pre-ordering the game from has made a business out of selling products to people which are not yet available, and edging out the content manufacturers of the very products which provide their original revenue stream (I believe a different thread is already covering this aspect, so if you'd like to take it up with anyone, please move over there). Except that I don't. I don't think you should care. I just think that your original statement of "it's not as if it will cost me more money to pre-order" was blatantly wrong, and felt the need to offer a differing viewpoint.

I pre-ordered by trading in games that I was never going to play again and taking advantage of a trade-in bonus offered by the retailer. I put no cash down, but my final cash outlay for H3 will be about half the retail cost. The early purchase aspect of the pre-order didn't matter to me as I am not going to wait in line to buy at midnight; and I could have traded in the same games after release; but the early trade-in bonus saved me some money.

I recall preordering Battlefield 2 from an online store, there was no money down, it didn't cost as much as from a store, it came with a free BF2 beanie (two, due to a dispatch error), and it arrived the day before the game's official release date. This was a good experience with preordering, but that's not to say there haven't been bad ones. :/

 

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