On Pre Order Bonuses

So one of the things I’ve seen becoming more frequent over the last couple of years is video games developers and retailers offering some kind of pre-order bonus as incentive to buy the game. These usually involve extra missions, or a different case or in game items. The new Wolfenstein game that launched today offered beta access to the next Doom game that will be coming out. So the question is, are pre-order bonuses really worth it?

Personally I pre-order games all the time. I don’t always do it for the bonus items, and if they weren’t offered it would almost never affect my choice to pre-order the game. Most of the time when I do this it is because I have done some research on the game, watched some videos and basically scrounged around the internet looking for information to see if it is a game I’d like. This doesn’t always work, and sometimes it backfires on me. I’ve been known to drop $100+ on pre-ordering a collectors edition of a game that looked really interesting and then quit playing it within a month or two. I’ll admit that sometimes the bonuses help the decision. I do like extra stuff like soundtracks or making of videos. I find that stuff interesting and there might not be another way to get those items.

The only time these bonuses annoy me is when they are offered as exclusive content and then a month after the game is released they are sold as DLC. I think that defeats the purpose of the pre-order model. I don’t mind DLC as it gives extra life to a game, but I think if I get something special for buying before any reviews are out that it should not be available after launch.

Now, I am more likely to pre-order console games than I am to pre-order the PC counterpart because of where I live and the availability of physical copies. There have been a number of times when a game launched and I could not find a copy in the local store. I’m not going to hunt for any video game, doesn’t matter how much I want to find it.

I don’t always pre-order games either. There are plenty of good looking games that I might look forward to but are not able to convince me they are good enough to spend money on before it comes out. These games I will usually wait for a sale to happen or to read reviews to see if it is worth my money.

Early access games are another thing entirely. I’ve decided recently I am not going to be buying in to any early access programs unless the game looks very good. I’ve been pleased with my Hex early access, but I think that most people think they are paying for access to a finished product when that is far from the truth. Game companies would have a much more difficult time getting me to drop money what is effectively beta testing.

In the end I could say I enjoy that the option exists to pre-order a game, but if that wasn’t there it wouldn’t bother me either. Pre-order bonuses are just the way things are going now for whatever reason. I’d like to think that these bonuses are a reward for showing interest in the game and not there to trick you in to buying a game just because the bonus “looks awesome”.

So why do you pre-order? Is it for the bonus or is it to support a game that you are really looking forward to?