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Post by Eorl @ 04:53pm 08/08/14 | 21 Comments
Earlier this week during Activision's quarterly financial earnings call, publishing president and CEO Eric Hirschberg has expressed concern that pre-orders are on a downward trend and should no longer be solely relied upon to gauge interest in future releases.

"You guys can see the same thing we see industry-wide, which is that there's been sort of a secular downturn as it relates to preorders," he explained. "We think that's happening due to a number of factors: Things like increased digital consumption, particularly on the next-gen consoles; titles being widely available on day one; and the decline overall for demand of software on the previous gen consoles."

Hirschberg also mentioned that pre-orders should no long be used as the gold standard of whether a product will sink or swim, saying that "it's also important to sort of reset expectations as it relates to preorders overall." Other measures such as awareness of social word of mouth or purchase intent can help gauge the potential interest of a game, rather than pre-order numbers.

It is somewhat ironic that this has come from Activision, who during their financial report revealed that Bungie's Destiny is already setting records for its high number of pre-orders. Hirschberg even notes the high sale of pre-orders himself, noting that Destiny has the highest amount of purchase intent and awareness of any new IP ahead of its release.


Latest Comments
Posted 04:58pm 08/8/14
he forgot getting burnt on pre-ordering s*** games
Posted 05:21pm 08/8/14
A pre order would suggest a limited supply or some sort of special deal not available to the common ruck i guess this falls into the Apple type mentality (lines of the faithful stretching to infinity for the next iphone).

Personally i wait until games hit the bargain bin as i feel the initial price is exorbitant
The Nerfatar
Posted 05:31pm 08/8/14
There's an occasional case of a pre-order having a pretty good discount, e.g. where the Australia Tax gets applied at release, or in the case of Thief on GMG where it had a 10% preorder discount and then a 25% voucher discount, or something like that.
Posted 05:45pm 08/8/14
Pre-orders on games people think are worth money, on the other hand, are up.
Posted 06:19pm 08/8/14
Is this because CoD preorders are down? Seems like it.
Posted 06:21pm 08/8/14
Great news.
Posted 09:51pm 08/8/14
Hrmm pre-order games such as Watch Dogs and Last of Us for full RRP to get some silly bonus or wait until release fight the crowds (if any) and get the game from Target for $59.00...

Tough call.
Posted 10:26pm 08/8/14
if the people that pre-order are looked after, they return for the squeal etc

pre-order then have expansions for sale on day one is not how you look after pre-orders
Posted 12:55am 09/8/14
My first ever pre-order was Quake 4.

Never again.
Posted 01:38am 09/8/14
My first ever pre-order was Quake 4.

Never again.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars here. Also never again.
Posted 07:55am 09/8/14
I still pre-order the sort of games that have 'collectible' type status'.
As was already mentioned if there's 'limited supply' (not limited edition... which I still find laughable as a 'concept' in digitally delivered content....) I might physically pre-order something, but as I'm moving from physically purchasing games more and more I have pre-ordered a great deal less.

I also 'pre-purchase' some steam games (very few). I'm SUPER keen for Alien: Isolation and saw it @ $49USD when it launched the other day. I snapped it up. I could have waited, or picked it up from GMG or the like, but knowing I was getting it on steam, at the non-inflated price (I'm looking at you now Far Cry 4... (was $49US, is now $75US to AU customers...)) Having seen the production diaries, I'm ok with this.

I doubt anyone responding to this thread is surprised by that statement... I think the likes of Kickstarter has shaped how games are being made. In conjunction with the digital distribution, there really isn't a need to 'pre-order' unless it is for some sort of pre-release perk, or in the case above 'securing it at a suitable price'.
Posted 08:24am 09/8/14
I stopped with Pre-Orders for good when I got burnt by Sim-City and to a lesser extent by Diablo 3 launch.

So it would take something pretty special for me to pre-order in the future.

Sorry big publishing houses, but when you rush a game out the door and it is balls, or mis-represent a game during hype, you pretty are just saying 'f*** you' to your customers and future sales.
Posted 09:37am 09/8/14
What about for things that are guaranteed to be of a quality Toll? I still pre-order, though only for games that I'm extremely certain won't change in quality, and usually I'll pre-order within a week of its release.

For games like World of Warcraft and their expansions, I'm more than happy to pre-order because I know the developer and I know the quality. Sure, that isn't to say there won't be screw ups, just look at D3's launch. It definitely isn't safe to say pre-order based on developer, but for the most part I'll pre-order a game like Warlords of Draenor because I'm at least guaranteed something of quality.
Posted 10:15am 09/8/14
Toll, I'm with you on that.
Posted 10:24am 09/8/14
Pre-orders for me used to be reserved for things like console games - Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for example. PC Games I've never seen the need - I can't even think of a PC game I've pre-ordered... Marvel Avengers I did, cos "meh, it'll be like a reminder when it comes out" but not because I was so keen on it I had to have it then and there. Now that I try to think about it other than Warcraft 3 CE, WoWCE, and the WOW Expansion CEs, I actually can't name another PC game I've pre-ordered - I got burned by Spore (bought that at a store on release day) and after that, never again. Then came Sim City... and Diablo 3 launch...
Posted 11:05am 09/8/14
Personally i wait until games hit the bargain bin as i feel the initial price is exorbitant

This is my philosophy also. Either that or ozgameshop for a better deal if I'm in a hurry.
Posted 06:19pm 09/8/14
Yeah, I more or less do that for most games these days too. I have Assassins Creed 3, Batman Arkham Asylum and Origins all sitting there unplayed yet, which I grabbed from bargain bins for a rainy day.
Reverend Evil
Posted 11:05am 10/8/14
The only games I'll ever pre-order are the xpacs for Warcraft since I know they'll be werth my money.

As usual, TB has some nice points about this...

Posted 12:25pm 10/8/14

What about for things that are guaranteed to be of a quality Toll?

The Diablo 3 launch from the highly esteemed Blizzard was a bollocked up launch and pretty much made high quality pre-purchase irrelevant. If Blizzard can stuff it up, any company can.

With the increasing sophistication of building hype it gets harder and harder to get strong evidence a game will actually be of high quality on release. The above example of Aliens Colonial marine, it looked fantastic, however it was balls.

So yeah, nothing is guaranteed now. About the only thing that will make me consider pre-orders if there is a free to play pre-release demo. If the demo plays well, then perhaps I'll pre-order.

Basically the only thing that will convince me of pre-ordering is hands-on playing of the game, by me. OR the pre-order price is significantly reduced to take into account the risk of buying a dud.

Since we know that the significantly reduced price isn't going to happen, we can only hope for old-skool demoing. Which I think will start to happen again. Some companies will start doing it, see their pre-orders pick up (providing the game is actually good) which will have flow on effects.

I hope anyway.

Kick-starter is similar to pre-orders except, in general, the price of the product reflects the risk of a dud. Usually you can get in for a digital copy for ~$15, much better than $69.95 pre-order.

last edited by Tollaz0r! at 12:25:46 10/Aug/14
Posted 12:59pm 10/8/14
Yeah, I still pre-order collectors editions of Blizzard games, but tbh they're becoming a bit stale. Used to be they'd come up with new and cool things to do with each new collectors edition, now it just seems to always be art book + mouse pad + soundtrack + making of dvd. Its still all high quality stuff, but it'd be nice if they'd mix it up a little.
Reverend Evil
Posted 01:32pm 10/8/14
I don't even bother with physical stuff now since Blizz started doing the online ones. Everything that comes in the box you can grab online anyway. And it takes up less space!

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