When I hear the word pre-order, I think of reserving a tangible item to secure ownership in fear of it running out once the commodity is on sale. The concept of pre-ordering a digital copy of a video game is still foreign to me, and I wonder, is it for the “bonuses” that are promised?
Let’s look at a few examples:
If you pre-order the Deluxe edition, you receive a Dark Arts pack that contains various cosmetics, a Thestral Mount, Dark Arts Battle Arena, and 72 hours early access to the game.
Street Fighter 6
If you pre-order the standard edition, you receive cosmetics–outfit 1 Color 10 for six characters.
Pre-ordering the standard edition provides you with cosmetics, Diablo 3 Inarius Wings & Inarius Murloc Pet, and a World of Warcraft Amalgam of Rage Mount (you would need to own Diablo 3 and Diablo Immortal to secure the cosmetics).
Cosmetics appear to be the most common pre-order bonus, whether it be an outfit or additional items to give your playthrough more flair. On top of that, digital copies of games do not sell out, unless the publisher goes out of their way to limit the number of downloads (which is very rare). Unless someone is either a massive fan or has a mountain of cash, it’s hard to fathom the incentives required to pre-order an item that…just doesn’t need pre-ordering.
Even physical edition bonuses can be questionable-whether it comes with a standard edition or a deluxe/special/exclusive etc edition. These tend to be significantly more expensive, ranging in the hundreds of dollars. And what do we get? Stickers, patches, posters, or maybe a statue if you’re lucky.
I personally am not a cosmetics fan and would never fork over $60 or $70 dollars up front for a digital game that, unless the publisher makes an exception, that would never risk selling out. I would think that cosmetics would be for major fans of the game or franchise. The only digital pre-order bonus I find attractive would be early access, but even then, I’m not sure my FOMO is that bad.
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