To Pre-Order or Not to Pre-Order?
Whether it is a video game, a movie, a book or a box set of your favorite television show, there is bound to be something that gets you excited enough about its upcoming release date that you consider if you should pre-order your copy. With a pre-order you get the benefit of the guarantee. By ordering your copy before the item is actually on sale, you are guaranteeing that there will be a copy of the latest release in that hot video game franchise or much-anticipated final book in a tween trilogy set aside with your name on it. But, does the guarantee come with a price? Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of a pre-order.
Sometimes a video game is not just a game and a movie is not just a movie when it becomes available for public purchase. Gone are the days when there was just one version. Limited quantity collector's edition, special edition, bonus content and promotional offers are merel
y a few of the buzz words thrown your way when a retailer is trying to pitch a pre-order. Here's a real example: If you pre-order "Halo: Master Chief Collection" now (even though it is not available for purchase until November 11, 2014) from Amazon.com, you will receive the Piñata Skull. This is not a real Piñata for your basement; they describe it as a "game modifier" in which "enemies will drop plasma grenade with every melee. (It must be a big deal.) Often, these special editions do cost more money, but if you are certain you want one, than pre-ordering is likely a good idea as limited quantity is a real possibility.
Future Shop, Best Buy, Amazon and Wal-Mart all say the same thing when it comes to pre-orders and that is this -- you will get the lowest price. Say if you pre-ordered a video game four months before its release date, odds are that price will fluctuate up and down over the coming months. This price drop guarantees ensure that people who are pre-ordering are still getting the best price around. Better yet, this is not something you need to stay on top of by constantly checking the website to see if the price has dropped. Pre-order price guarantees usually are done behind the scenes and will automatically refund your credit card.
The Reality of Release Day
Right now, pre-ordering is still sounding pretty awesome, but here's the one major downfall. Release day is the day the retailer releases the product from their warehouse to begin its journey to your house. The odds of this arriving in your home on release day are so slim to none, let's call it none. With receiving an item on day one being so important to gamers especially, this is a big con for pre-orders. Of course, pre-ordering can still be done in brick and mortar stores, but if you have to go to the store on the day the item is released, is there any point in completing the pre-order if it is an item with no special content?
I did a mini-experiment with "The Other Woman", a film starring Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann, released on July 29, 2014. On release day for Wal-Mart and Amazon, the price for the DVD was the same price it had been for the week leading up to release day.
The last thing to consider is that Amazon and others now offer digitial download of items on release day and for a lower cost than the hard-copy versions. So if you really want something on day one, without leaving your house, this could be the way to go.