Have you ever preordered a video game? Did you feel good about yourself after doing so? Yes? No? Truth is, you should almost never, ever, preorder a video game.
A preorder does virtually nothing for you, but it does a great deal for various other parties. First off, it's a free loan. Think about it. You're essentially giving a game retailer 5 or more dollars for free. All you get back in return is a receipt that you've done so. A big-name retailer now has your 5 dollars that it, in turn, can do whatever it wants with. Sure, it might seem trivial on a small scale, but multiply your 5 dollars times the amount of preorders made a day, and we're talking millions of free unearned dollars here.
Game distributors and retailers also use preorder data to gauge interest in a title. They're basically using your donation to measure how successful a marketing campaign is even before anyone has played the game. And once you've pledged those few dollars, odds are you'll be back come release day. If not, the money stays with the retailer, where you'll most likely use it on another title -- or even worse, forget about it. … Read more