Would you get on a train headed to nowhere? Or, more accurately, would you pay for a train without even knowing if the train even goes to your destination? Well of course not, that would be a bit silly, wouldn’t it? Or you could say: a bit stupid.
Would you touch a frying pan on the stovetop? Well, maybe as a kid you put your hand on the pan, wondering what would happen if you defied your parents' direct bloody instructions! But I assume that if you are reading this article, you ain’t four years old anymore. Don’t touch a f**king frypan, dumbarse, you’ll hurt your hand...
SO WHY THE F**K DO YOU KEEP PREORDERING GAMES?
Beats me, but it’s a plague on the industry and you should stop. Seriously. Bought Cyberpunk 2077 and want a refund? Well, maybe you should have waited for the reviews to be out on PS4 and Xbox One before you spent full price on the damn thing.
I’m going to stop being snarky in the next paragraph, but if you feel attacked, good, because I am attacking you. Stop it. Now. Or at least, if you choose to keep going, quit whining on social media about having bought a s**t game. Actually, stop whining on social media, nobody wants to hear your negativity. Look at some cat pictures!
You’ve Done a Dumb
Alright, I will quit insulting you now, it’s time to actually explain. I am sorry, it just really p**ses me off, you know?
The facts are simple: the hype train has crashed and burned time, and time, and time, and time again. Every time it does, the inevitable outcry comes from the subsection of gamers who purchased a given game on launch. It’s perfectly okay to be disappointed, angry at the developer for releasing a bad game...but this? Sorry, this is your fault. You’re stupid.
It’s not just preorders, though the late Totalbiscuit (may his wonderful soul rest in peace) put it beautifully in his 2013 video:
The thing about the hype train is how fast it moves over such a long time. It is the perfect way to trap your expectations and experiences in the same box, though the two things may turn out to be completely, utterly, and unambiguously different.
Nobody will ever forget how disappointing Watch Dogs was when it came out. After 2-3 years of hype, showing off next-gen graphics and downright deceitful s**t that wasn’t even in the final game, it launched and was...eh? Sure – not as bad as Aliens: Colonial Marines – but bloody disappointing!
What about No Man’s Sky? Sure, the game is freaking fantastic now! But when it launched? Ha. Ha. Ha. No. Same with The Order 1886, with Fallout 76, with BOTH of the new Battlefronts, Assassin's Creed 3, or with Assassin’s Creed Unity which was downright broken!
The hype train crashed into Cyberpunk 2077! The result? The game is delisted from the PlayStation Store; mass refunds given out to gamers who purchased the last-gen versions of the game despite reviewers not being given pre-release copies. I mean, isn’t that a bad-enough sign in itself? Especially when it was so buggy on PC! Not really that much of a surprise...
CD Projekt Red really capitalized on their near-decade-long hype train with that one. The game had a whopping 8 million preorders! It is possibly one of the most disappointing releases in recent memory. The game is decent, and reviews have said as such, but if it is unplayable, then it does not matter at all if the product is actually good. It is broken, it may as well be bad!
Now, yes, the game will be patched and… THEN I will buy it! I am not disappointed, I am not sad, I am not even upset about Cyberpunk 2077. Why? I haven’t played it. I quit preordering games after Watch Dogs – and honestly, I should have done so earlier (maybe after Alien: Colonial Marines...urgh...)! I know how hard it is to hold off on your most anticipated games, but it is worth waiting for the reviews: don’t waste your hard-earned money!
You’ll Be a Hero, Too!
Why does EA have such a bad reputation? Microtransactions and disappointments. Why do people look down on Bethesda? Fallout 76. Why is every Ubisoft game so anxiously anticipated? Because time and time again, they have over-promised and underdelivered.
The lesson from Cyberpunk’s launch is that no matter the caliber of the developer (CD Projekt Red was seen as the do-no-bad developer!), even if it’s Naughty Dog, read the reviews, see how the game is, THEN invest your money into it. Preorders are f**king fantastic for game publishers, and f**king terrible for gamers.
And so, by taking a pinch of salt with you on the hype train, and taking it a couple carriages back, you can control your expectations. Controlling those expectations helps your wallet, it helps your mind, and it incentivizes game developers to release the most polished, greatest, and most high-quality products they can! CONCLUSION: DON’T PREORDER!
The hype train won’t slow down unless we put on the breaks, so let’s blow this whistle and bring it safely back into the station. From there, it will be ready to take us off to more exciting and greener pastures...
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