Let’s Talk: Red Dead Redemption 2 and pre-orders
Developed by the creators of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland. The game’s vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience.
That paragraph doesn’t offer a lot of information. All it says is the game is based in the Wild West and that is has some form of online multiplayer. It is a vague description and honestly asking someone to pre-order a €75 game on that description alone is ludicrous.
Red Dead Redemption 2’s early call for pre-orders is a symptom of the times as game publishers and developers heavily push for people to pre-order their games, usually enticing people with an exclusive in-game item or exclusive beta access. However, while I find pre-ordering to be a ridiculous practice and something that doesn’t really need to exist anymore thanks to the ability to purchase and download games from the comfort of your own home. So, is there actually a reason for pre-orders to still exist? Well, reluctantly I would say yes.
It is a yes, not from a consumer perspective, but from a business perspective. From the business side of things, pre-orders help determine how many copies a store should order, I mean there is no point in ordering a hundred copies when say only twenty-five of those one hundred copies are sold. Essentially without pre-orders business could potentially have far more copies than they may ever need. Personally, I see pre-orders as way for game publishers to determine how many copies they need made and how many copies each retailer needs, because with pre-orders a business doesn’t use an estimate of a hundred, they look at how many people pre-ordered the game and use that figure to determine how many copies they need to order.
As digital download services such as Steam, PlayStation Store, and Xbox Live store become more popular the need to pre-order games will decline, although the onus is on the public and not the publishers and distributors.
In the end, as long as physical copies continue to sell pre-ordering will have a place, but pushing pre-orders as early as Rockstar Games did with Red Dead Redemption 2 is in my eyes insane as customers are essentially buying a game blind.