It seems to me these days most gamers are buying games that aren’t out yet. Many games are announced months in advance and retailers begin taking in orders and offering premier exclusives like special in-game content or collectors/limited edition merchandise. Its a trip because back then (rewind 10+ years) I thought the whole point of pre-ordering a game was to ensure a copy of the game when the game launched so one wouldn’t be left making a trip to the store only to leave empty handed because the game was sold out. Now its a marketing tactic and a way to bring the numbers to the investors to eliminate risks, build hype, and project possible sequels even earlier.
So far I have purchased 3 games that I cannot yet play because, well, they haven’t launched yet. I wasn’t always sold on the whole idea of buying games early. Access to behind the scenes footage and media coverage thanks to PAX, E3, GDC, ComiCon and more all have a factor in making this become a trend. Urging us to whip out our wallets and credit cards early and eager shouting “Shut up and take my money!”
It works though, and the way we pay and play our games are constantly shifting. Many studios and publishers are adopting and changing the way their sell their games. To a point where one couldn’t really call a game a product anymore, but its more like a service that we sign up for. In order to enjoy membership and being part of communities which we can offer our feedback and help these companies better develop their games in a way which we the gamers want to play them.
Although not all studios are keen on listening to what gamers want in a game, because as a whole we can be quite fickle. We can make unrealistic demands that contradict against each other, and what we think might be fun on paper may not translate into a fun idea when we’re playing the finished game.
The whole thing about game projects getting started on Kickstarter is another confirmation that shows how the industry is shifting. This can be another entry in itself and I’m going to wait on talking about this until I’ve given it more thought.
So how many games have you preordered in the last year? What about the year before? And the year before that?