The pre-order apology

Pre-orders are bad, every body said it and I think it, I don’t support the pre-order model. But pre-orders, as bad as they come, don’t buy themselves; every customer is in his full right to buy anything they want of their own free will.

This is the sad reality of this business model, pre-orders exist because they work for companies, because people buy into them. This post is not to convince you that pre-orders are bad, people like Total Biscuit and Jim Sterling have stressed this enough, better than I could and to a much largeraudience. I want to talk to you about one particular offer :

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First of all, what is this? And what makes it so special?

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the fifth installment of the Deus Ex franchise, developed by Eidos Motreal and published by Square Enix the release date is set to the 23 of February 2016 or is it…?

You see, the game in itself is not the problem, it actually looks pretty promising as you can see from the trailer and world premier game play video.

The problem is the pre-release retailapproach that Square Enix is applying. As of this moment you can pre-order the game and “choose” your rewards, but not only that, this pre-order deal works by tiers, if more people pre-order the game higher tiers of rewards will unlock for those whom have already purchased the game. Let me explain this in more detail.

The Augment your Pre-order FAQ reads:

“Augment Your Pre-Order consists of 5 tiers, each including 1-3 rewards”

  1. The first tier reward are skins and game play bonuses such as weapons, in-game currency, ammo and skill points. There are 3 different skins, each with is particular game play bonuses.
  2. Second tier reward is either a digital art book or a digital OST sampler.
  3. Third tier reward is an exclusive mission.
  4. Forth tier reward is either a digital comic book or a novella.
  5. And the last tier reward is an early release date.

“What does early release mean in tier 5?

If we hit our pre-determined global pre-order goal for Deus Ex: mankind Divided, we will release the game 4 days earlier than our official release date”

This is the typical marketing move that feeds off the hype train, you’ve waited 5 years since the release of DE: Human revolution, you can wait 4 more days…

“Each consecutive tier will unlock based on predetermined global pre-order goals for Deus Ex Mankind Divided. As more tiers are unlocked, the available rewards become bigger and more exciting.

How can I contribute to help unlock all tiers?

 Aside from pre-ordering the game, you can help spread the word by sharing your selected rewards with your friends on social media.

This means that the more people back the game more stretch goals will be reached… oh wait… this looks awfully like crowd funding doesn’t it?

DXMD_Collector_s_Edition
The collector’s edition of the game comes with all the tier rewards (except the early release) plus other objects at $149.99, is it really worth it?

Yes it does, and form my point of view is bad, really bad. As I said earlier pre-orders exist because they work, otherwise they would have banished a long time ago. I am afraid that this is the first of many pre-orders of this kind (Crowd pre-ordering as Jim Sterling calls them).

Pre-orders do not serve the customer and breed an atmosphere of distrust, many people have been fighting this over the recent years, but this is the first time (to my knowledge) a pre-order deal actively seeks the support of customers to sell itself. As a result, if the game is bad, this atmosphere of distrust will not only settle between the customers and the publishers/developers, but between the customers themselves, making the mouth to ear marketing suffer as people stop taking recommendations from their friends.

I fear this is the definitive pre-order, the one that will demonstrate that pre-orders are here to stay and that there is no limit at how much content you can strip of a game. So I urge you, do not pre-order this game or any other, do not participate in an apology of this practice.

To finish, I will say that every developer and publisher deserves to gain their fair share from their product, but trying to trick customers is not the way to create a healthy industry and I will never support it.

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