According to a report from Adobe, video game pre-orders have increased by 24% this year. However, 33% of gamers say that pre-orders make them feel sad.
Just over a year ago, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg was noting that across the entire video games industry pre-orders were down, and he even described it as a “secular downtown” in terms of numbers. Hirshberg cited digital downloads and the decline of demand for games on last-gen consoles as two key reasons for this. However, in 2015, video game pre-orders have actually risen by 24% in comparison the number of pre-orders made in 2014, says a report from Adobe.
In addition to this, the revenue from pre-orders have also increased by a whopping 33%, which is something that should certainly please publishers as they use pre-order numbers to show retailers how strong a demand for a particular game is, and therefore high pre-order numbers mean that retailers will order more copies to keep up. But things are less positive on the consumer side of things, as Adobe’s statistics also show that ‘sadness’ is the main feeling that gamers have towards pre-orders – with 33% of them feeling blue.
While it should be noted that if Adobe lumped the numbers of those who felt ‘joy’ and ‘admiration’ together, it would represent 36% of those polled (thus outweighing the 33% that felt sad), it still means that a third of gamers aren’t happy with pre-orders. One obvious reason for people feeling sad about pre-orders is that there’s no guarantee that the pre-ordered game will even work as expected upon launch.
With games like Batman: Arkham Knight, Driveclub, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and most recently Rock Band 4 all having rocky releases, it’s possible that these have contributed to the negative feelings about pre-orders. Another reason is that pre-orders can often be too complicated; asymmetrical multiplayer game Evolve caught flak for its complex pre-order and DLC system, while Square Enix was recently forced to shut down its Deus Ex ‘Augment Your Pre-Order’ program following fan backlash.
As for why pre-orders are on the rise, even though the sentiment about pre-orders isn’t entirely positive, it could be because the allure of pre-order bonuses are just too strong for some players. In addition to the more mundane pre-order bonuses such as extra missions and character skins, games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 have catered to fan wishes with its Nuk3town map, while Just Cause 3 is offering day one players the chance to win an entire island. As a result, whether people love them or hate them and whether people think they’re brilliant or just over the top, it seems that pre-orders and pre-orders bonuses are here to stay.