Editorial: Next Gen Pre-Orders…?

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A couple of months ago we learned about the next game from Dead Island creator, Techland. Dying Light would have players running from zombies (again) trying to survive in a world over-run with the undead. Until just a few days ago Dying Light was a single player title only, then we learned about the pre-order bonus that is offered with the game; adding a whole new part to the game. Dying Light, by itself, does not feature any multiplayer, but by pre-ordering the game gamers will be given an exclusive game feature that, at launch, won’t be available anywhere else.

Pre-order bonuses have become a standard and gamers expect them for every game that gets released; in fact when we are not offered some form of pre-order bonus it’s a little strange and off-putting. From double XP, to extra guns, to different clothes to wear; pre-order bonuses are normal. We want them and we expect them.

Though there seems no end to what strange things developers will create as pre-order bonuses, there has always been a line that no one would cross. Normally, the offerings would enhance your gameplay experience, but never take things away or give you whole game portions that other players wouldn’t have. What has always been offered are just supplements to the full game that we already have. Bonuses that don’t affect our ability to actually play the game, just affect the WAY we play the game.

…or you get an RC car…

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If I am playing Call of Duty with people who had pre-ordered the game and are leveling up quicker than I am due to an extra XP boost, does that hinder my playing experience? I can still “enjoy” every match no matter how much experience someone else is gaining. They aren’t experiencing a different game than I am; we are all playing Call of Duty.

If I decided to pre-order a game that gives me a special costume to wear that you can’t get because you didn’t pre-order; does that really matter? Not really, though I may look different, we are still playing the same game, still experiencing the same thing.

What we have with Dying Light is, from what I can tell, a complete first for the gaming industry – or at least console gaming. For the first time, two people who buy the same brand new game will actually have very different games in their hands. The person who pre-ordered their copy of the game will have a single player and multiplayer game. The person who walks into the store and buys it off the shelf will only have a single player game. Without pre-ordering, you can have a drastically different game than you would have if you pre-ordered it.

The exclusion of the multiplayer part from brand new copies of the game is a really strange idea. Basically Warner Bros. and Techland are punishing people who do not want to pre-order their game. If you pick up their game from the store shelf and still spend $60 on the game you, as a customer, are valued less than a person who pre-ordered the game.

Yes, at some point everyone will be able to buy the multiplayer part, but as of now, unless you promise to buy the game on day one, you have to pay extra for the content. I don’t know about you, but to me, that is not right.

Maybe I am making too big of a deal out of something that is pointless? Who knows, maybe I am, but the fact that this is being done makes me wonder – what will be next? There is a difference between offering extra bonuses that enhance a person’s gameplay experience and offering extra bonuses that completely changes a retail game for a certain group of customers. Is this where the new line for pre-order bonuses will be drawn? Companies now can remove entire portions of the game and make people pay extra for it if they don’t pre-order?

Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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