Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A rant about preordering games

Mafia 3 came out recently. There was a review embargo on the game, so there was no impartial information about the game prior to release. On PC, the game was capped at 30fps (frames per second) which, in this day and age, is unacceptable for a triple A title. Of course, the vitriol from Steam users and their subsequent negative reviews were hardly surprising.

But let's be honest, 2K already have your money. You preordered it, they have your money. They have license to release a sub-par game because they already have your money and consent. 2K, to be fair, have got on the front foot and are already in development of a patch to unlock higher frame rates, but for a game that has had a 4 year development cycle, couldn't this work have been done before release?

Did we forget about the No Man's Sky debacle so quickly?

Review embargoes are bad for consumers. We deserve to have full information before we purchase a product, not just the information that the developers and publishers want you to have. Remember the promises made by Hello Games for No Man's Sky?

Mafia 3, by all accounts, is not nearly as broken or full of empty promises that No Man's Sky had. But beyond the first couple of hours, the game devolves into repetition and monotony. I have not played the game despite my initial interest in it, having enjoyed Mafia 1 and 2 very much. Now that I have had time to read and watch reviews that have now come out I have made the decision that this game is a "wait until a sale" game.

I will admit that I have preordered Civ 6. There is a good reason for this; there has been a huge push by 2K to get the game in to the hands of popular youtubers, especially those who primarily play Civ 5. This gives consumers a great look at the new installment and gives them the information they need to make a decision on whether the game is for them or not. I love the Civilization series and I cannot wait until I can play more. Hell, I'm still playing Civ 5 to this day. I did not preorder until I had been
through quite a few videos and discussions online. There is a bunch of changes I am wary of but I felt the same way in the change over from civ 4 to 5.

Now, is this the exception that proves the rule? And ironically 2K is on both sides of it. Is it because they knew Mafia 3 isn't such a great game but they have more faith in Civilization 6? They have to make money either way. So build up the hype and don't release preview builds to convince people to preorder, or release preview builds and build hype through the existing fan base for your franchise.

I don't mean to direct it all at 2K, many other publishing companies do the same thing. My only advice is do as you see fit. Preordering is a personal choice, I personally don't preorder willy nilly. If I'm not sure about a game, I will wait. If I know I'm going to play it a whole bunch either way, I will preorder it. It's still bad for the gaming community at large, and publishers aren't going to stop trying to entice you with preorder bonuses regardless of whether the game is bad or not.

So who's preordered Red Dead Redemption 2 yet?