Pre-Order DLC is Harming the Gaming Industry
Sega announced that Alien: Isolation pre-order DLC “Nostromo Edition” will be blocked behind a pre-order wall, if I may, a mission where you get to play as the original cast and crew, most notably Ripley. Before that, GameStop voiced its plans on making future deals with publishers concerning “exclusive content only available for pre-orders through gamestop”. This isn’t a hidden agenda, this is happening, this is where it’s going and it should concern you.
This pre-order DLC isn’t some lazy extra weapons or different skins, this is in game content meant to add something much larger than cosmetic nuances.
Brink is the first game that comes to mind that had different content from literally every retailer, every piece of pre-order DLC though was cosmetic in nature. Walmart, Amazon, GameStop, and Bestbuy were all in it, although it seems BestBuy isn’t even trying anymore. Assassin’s Creed 4 was the next game that comes to mind where additional game content was advertised (see also Watch Dogs), GameStop boasting 60 minutes of extra gameplay, everyone who fell for this ruse know that that 60 minutes was literally 3 islands with fast travel lasting only 15 minutes.
We now see AC Unity trying some pre-order spin-to-win game, and I mean literal games with spin to win Fridays. Pre-Order earlier and get a chance to win cool prizes every friday. I don’t know whether to feel this is a brilliant marketing strategy or a troll on the gullible consumer.
The problem isn’t the pre-ordering, the problem is the so called bonuses. I understand if you want to spend $100’s of dollars on collectors editions, I’m a nerd, I get it, I love to collect things too, but where is the line drawn in the sand? A book, statue, and other extras are much different than spending more so content isn’t blocked from you. This is where Alien: Isolation comes in, if you don’t pre-order it now, you’ll be denied the ability to play these missions. Plain and simple.
I’m not trying to be negative, but I am trying to find where any of these pre-order DLC and bonuses actually benefit the consumer. Look up so called “bonuses” and tell me it’s anything that actually adds to your experience, and then tell me if not pre-ordering held something back from you. I’m going to say 80% of the bonuses are shit, and the content held back from you will be available in a self proclaimed GOTY addition with everything included for less money; but that’s an entire rant for a later date.
I say this as a consumer, stuck between a rock and hard place. Do we boycott Alien: Isolation for being unfair to those who don’t want to pre-order it? Hardly, we want to play this new survival horror game day one. I’ve managed to avoid playing Battlefield 4 because I refuse to pay full price for a game where the developer is using me as a beta tester. But in reality, it’s not that big of a loss. I unfortunately don’t know what the answer is though, and I do truly fear that in the near future I’ll miss some awesome content because GameStop, Target, BestBuy, Amazon, and Walmart all had their own versions of pre-order DLC.
It’s pre-order DLC like Alien: Isolation’s “Nostromo Edition” that I believe is harming the gaming industry and hindering its growth, and this is only the tippity top of this slippery slope.