[GW2] Pre-Order vs Pre-Purchase, or why only badly organised people pre-purchase

So Guild Wars 2 went on sale yesterday. You won’t actually be able to play the finished game for months, although they’ll let you in for the odd beta weekend, bugs and all. But if you pre-purchase then you will have paid full price already. Let’s run that by again. You will have paid full price for something you can’t use properly for months, at which point you may also be able to buy it cheaper. Congratulations on making a poorly thought out purchase there, dude.

When even Ravious is saying that this might not be a great trend (and he never criticises Arenanet)  it’s worth paying attention. Clearly MMO devs in particular would love to jump on the pre-purchase bandwagon. Of course it’d be better to get people to pay while the hype cycle is in full swing and any balancing/ content-free/ or endgame issues haven’t yet come to light. Meanwhile, you the consumer have spent that money on something you aren’t going to be able to use yet. I suppose that won’t matter to people who don’t have to live on much of a budget, which is the market for these offers. For any fans, there is no reason at all not to wait until launch, buy the game then (for the same price or possibly cheaper) and all you missed out on are a few meagre beta weekends. Anet still get your cash, you still get your game – we can call this novel purchasing model “the exchange of money for goods.”

The other thing he said that surprised me was that Diablo 3 was also available for pre-purchase. Now why in the name of anything would anyone do that unless it was part of the WoW Annual Pass (which I’m also dubious about)? I pre-ordered Diablo 3 when it was announced, got a really good price on Amazon, and I can still cancel the order if I decide before launch that I need the money for something else. THAT is what pre-orders have always been about. What exactly is anyone getting from the pre-purchase that makes it worth more than that? (the answer is either nothing, or perhaps the ability to download it instantly on release if that’s a big deal to you).

You could make the same argument about Kickstarters but they aren’t typically mass market AAA affairs, and need your support to make the game at all. It’s a different type of consumer experience. They’re designed so that fans can support their favourite creatives, and typically offer plenty of insight into the creative process so that funders can feel involved. (Also, we don’t know whether Kickstarters/ crowdfunded as a concept is just a flash in the pan and people will get bored of them after awhile.)

But meantime, pre-purchase is not so much F2P as pay to wait.

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68 thoughts on “[GW2] Pre-Order vs Pre-Purchase, or why only badly organised people pre-purchase

  1. One thing I found interesting during a recent trip to a local discount chain (Target for those in the U.S.) was that their copies of Rift had been dropped to a really low price. It wasn’t in $5 territory, but it was approaching that level. I presume that they want the space for other items –such as GW2 in the near future– but it also highlights that people who want the game aren’t necessarily going to buy it at a discount store.

    • Rift has been selling as a budget title over here for about a year now. I am not entirely sure what this means.

  2. I don’t think pre-purchase is for the type of person that is going to wait for a review, word of mouth, or a price drop. A lot of people buy games at or before release, who cares how long before release that happens to be? Especially if you happen to be some form of superfan who goes around defending their choices in blog comments when even a hint of criticism creeps into a post.

    Can’t think of anyone who is that type of person though.

  3. I bought two copies of GW2 yesterday. I don’t follow your line of thought at all.

    First , saving money. Are you suggesting GW2 will be available below full price at launch? Is that likely? Further down the line, of course there will be offers, but if you want to play at launch, which most people with more than a passing curiosity in the game will want to do, the cost will be the same on launch day as it is today.

    Second, beta access. This is not a trivial benefit. I’ve been beta-testing MMOs for over a decade as I imagine you have and in my opinion many of those MMOs have been at their most enjoyable during beta. The entire feel and atmosphere is different, especially in a closed beta but even in open beta.

    As for bugs, I played for five years on EQ2′s test server as my main server, having played regularly on EQ1′s Test server before that. I love bug testing. It’s fun. Seeing things not working properly is often hilarious and helping to get them fixed is satisfying. In practice, I doubt this will be very relevant for GW2, which i imagine will be release-slick by the time I see a beta weekend, but if I do find some bugs I’ll be delighted.

    Thirdly, what do you suggest I could be losing by paying for the game now rather than in two or three months’ time? Obviously not the interest on the money I’ve spent. For one thing, it comes straight out of my current account which doesn’t earn interest and for another, even if I took it from a savings account the interest on £100 over a couple of months at current interest rates would be a few pence at most.

    Given that it’s 100% certain that I will buy Guild Wars 2 at launch and play it on launch day, being able to pay for it now is a benefit. It’s convenient for me, gets the administration done well in advance, not during time when I could be playing the game, and means its done and I can forget about it.

    Even if there were no benefits from buying GW2 now other than not having to do it later I would have pre-purchased. It’s extremely convenient for me to do so and, in my opinion, a much superior option to “pre-ordering”, which I dislike. This way, I know I have just spent £100 out of my immediate budget for the month. On a pre-order I will have made the decision to spend now but the money will come out of my account at some unspecified time in the future when I might rather not be spending it.

    But of course, there are other benefits, namely one or more weekends of entertainment playing a game I’m very much looking forward to and three days playing it before I otherwise would. I’m surprised they only ask the standard retail price. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years or less early access and guaranteed beta entry won’t require an additional payment. Clearly there’s a demand and the market will adjust to meet it.

    • ” I don’t follow your line of thought at all.”

      I’m saying that you don’t get the time value of money. If you’re happy to leave significant sums of money in a non interest paying account, then that’s not really good money management.

      “This way, I know I have just spent £100 out of my immediate budget for the month”

      You could instead have spent it on something that you need now. So I guess either you have enough surplus that you don’t care, don’t have a need for emergency savings, or live on a “spend as you earn” basis.

      Do you not think though that it’s really cheeky of them to ask for full payment upfront? MMOs up until now would have given you the beta access and headstart for a /pre order/.

      • I think that both the other party and you make the benefits/drawbacks seem to be bigger than they already are. The only disadvantage I can see is the emergency savings problem but most banks allow the accounts to go into negative balance nowadays and the amount is small enough. IMHO, the interest rates are not high enough for the money to make a significant income.

        The beta access doesn’t seem like a huge advantage either – it might actually be quite buggy or unplayable…

      • Spinks,

        Why are you married to the idea that pre-purchase is a poor investment…and to go to the length to question his money money management? Really? If you’re so good at managing money, $60 would be of little significance to you. Do you not understand what disposable income is or how that works?

        Humorously, you conveniently omitted the fact that you get three days advanced start to play and enjoy the game before the release date. So those who pre-purchase the game can play on the 25th while people paying over the counter will still be busy making dramatic profits from their $60 (as you’ve asserted) on the 28th–if the retailer isn’t sold out. Here’s the “interest” you’re looking for.

        It’s obvious the price will be the same at pre-sale as it will be for launch. But if you want to really save, you should wait 4 or 5 years then it’ll be dirt cheap. I’m convinced this is the best strategy for you.

        I don’t know your age or profession, but I’m 28 with a mediocre corporate position and $60 isn’t breaking the bank. Considering it’s what I’d normally spend on a bar tab or a car wash+wax, I’m not concerned about where the $60 goes. It’s disposable income and if it’s not spent on a game it’ll be spent on something else.

        And I do have 401k, IRA, and brokrage accounts.

      • I wouldn’t call it an investment. But if I can buy GW2 for £30 after release (which I know I can because I pre-ORDERED for that amount), then pre-purchasing means you spent £30 on 3 beta weekends and a handful of early access days -0- you didn’t even get into the full beta for that money. And you spent it before there was even a release date announced, without knowing what you were going to get in terms of beta access. I find that foolish, I like to know what I’m going to get for my money personally, and would advise people to do likewise because otherwise it’s too easy for companies to exploit you and your fandom. I think it’s important to keep on this point, because people WILL get exploited.

        Fine for some people it’s worth it, but compared to previous pre-order deals on other MMOs (ie. preorder, get money off the full price AND get the beta access and early access), it’s terrible value and I’m not concerned about calling Arenanet out on that. I am only surprised that the fanbase leapt for it so eagerly and wasn’t more “Wait, what?”

        I can afford the £60 but unlike you, I actually do care where my money goes. It isn’t because I’m broke, it’s because I’m smart with cash.

  4. I am indeed a badly organised person! I make no bones about that – I do my best with google calendars, lists and general ‘being prepared’, but I’m definitely not organised. So you’re definitely right about that ;)

    The money went on something I knew I would want. I don’t need/want anything else in particular ‘right now’, whereas in 3 months time I might need the money I’d theoretically have put in the savings account for something else.

    That said, yes, pre-order would be preferable – it would be great to have the option to cancel. In the meantime I look forward to the beta events and the hero’s band (worth the practically negligible interest I would have earned by slapping the £50 in my ISA.) I’m not particularly fond of ‘pre-purchase’, aside from those going for the Collector’s Edition, but in the meantime I guess the GW2 hype machine worked on this poorly organised person who does live on a budget ;)

  5. I am 90% certain GW2 will be cheaper on release day than now. Here is an example, Anet is selling the basic version for £50 on their site currently. However play.com is selling the same version for £40! Game.co.uk is has Gw2 *retail* listed for £35 currently. On release day lot more shops will selling GW2 than now and some of them will be selling cheaper than others. This happens with pretty much all games in my experience.

    I am guessing you can buy GW2 on release day for about £30/£35 here in UK.

    • I did think it was interesting that play.com were undercutting arenanet on the GW2 pre-purchase (so yeah, if you’re in the UK and want to pre-purchase, go with play.com and save yourself a tenner.)

      Incidentally the cheapest price I have found on pre-order is coolshop.co.uk (£30), who have been reliable for me in the past.

      • Thanks for the coolshop link. Never heard of them before.

        I am currently on the fence about GW2 right now (cash shop and lack of meaningful PVE progression) so I don’t want to pay high prices for this game.

        If i am hyped about a game, I think I will gladly pay the high price and go for the pre purchase options.

  6. Developers are now using betas not only to test their games and find bugs, but to incentivise early purchases. Meanwhile savvy players are using betas to see if a game is any good and cancelling their preorders if it doesn’t live up to the hype.
    Pre-purchases are being used to prevent this latter use of beta as a demo.

    The committed fans (see above) do not see the difference between one and the other and would rather use today’s money to participate in the testing of an eagerly anticipated unfinished game than to play something else.

    Personally, I will be picking up a cheap deal some time after launch, when all the bugs have been cleaned up. I can always use the money saved to RMT myself up to the same fluff level as someone who had played consistently from day 1.

  7. The pricing structure of Guild Wars and it’s cash shop are honestly making me a little uncomfortable about buying it. Not quite as uncomfortable as Secret World but enough I’m not sure I’m going to buy it.

  8. So, because the collectors edition is not out yet… GameStop was only requiring a $25 deposit to “prepurchase” or “preorder” however you want to look at it. With the 25$ I get a beta access key, headstart, and all the rest of the stuff like everyone else.

    Now I payed for the CE in full, $150 in the US. Why? Cause who gives a crap, this is such a pointless post I would have rather wasted my time getting rick-rolled. Find something better to post about, thanks.`

    • “Why?”

      Because you didn’t have the option of paying the rest of the $150 at release, like in pretty much every MMO released up until now. If you had that option (ie. preorder the CE for $25 and get all the preorder goodies, and then pay the balance at release), you’d probably have gone for it because it’s a better deal for the consumer.

      Now you may think that’s pointless as a debate, but it’s symptomatic to me of how companies are increasingly planning to gouge the early adopting customers as opposed to giving discounts for the pre-order. I think this is coming from the F2P model where they realise that the ‘whales’ are also likely to be the early buy-in people who won’t be price conscious. I’d expect to see companies who are able to sell direct via digital actively trying to kill the retail market so as to minimise the competition at some point in future as well.

      I’m a bit puzzled why people don’t care more about companies gunning for your cash in this way by asking you to pay full price for a game where the release date is not even announced yet. Fair play, it’s your money and your choice, but I think it’s something a savvy consumer should be wise to when making buying decisions.

      Maybe you’ll like the next post better :)

      • “Because you didn’t have the option of paying the rest of the $150 at release”

        I don’t think you read my post correctly. Only $25 dollars was required of me to pay to gain beta access. So I could spend $25 and play beta if I wanted to, then if I decided I didn’t want to play the game I could just cancel my reservation.

        Prepurchase isn’t for all gamers, you’re right. That’s why it gives rewards to those that trust in the game. Also it is not required to prepurchase in order to play beta, hense the beta sign ups. It isn’t ArenaNets fault that a million people signed up for a free beta, and it also isn’t their fault that since the game is free to play that they look for more ways to make money. It’s not like we arn’t getting something for prepurchasing, and noone is making anyone buy it. Heck I’d rather Less than More people get the three day head start.

  9. I pre-purchased and don’t think I made a “poorly thought out purchase, dude”.

    It cost me $60 to buy GW2. It’s money I’ve been planning to use to buy GW2. Does it really matter when I use it, if it’s already been set aside for that express purpose?

    It’s the standard price for AAA games these days, and I’d eat my hat if in Canada I’ll get it for less than $60 on launch day. Even if somehow I could get it for, say, $50 at launch I wouldn’t be upset because I want the pre-purchase bonuses. You call beta weekends “meagre”, but they actually do interest me. They’ll allow me to test-drive the game and will help me to do things like pick a class I enjoy playing before launch. You also get a longer headstart period at launch if you pre-purchase, which I want.

    I’ve been planning to spend $60 on GW2 sometime this year. I got added value for spending it now instead of later. I know my monthly earnings/spendings and can afford it without worrying. How does that make me badly organized?

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  11. I suppose I’d have to put myself in the ‘badly organised’ crowd. It’s not quite an analogous situation, but for example, every couple of months or so I’ll look up all the books I’m interested in and buy them so they’ll just sort of ‘show up’ as they get released.

    If I didn’t do this, I’d either have to spend time/attention tracking things as they come out, spend time now setting up some sort of notification system to interrupt me and prompt me to buy as each comes out, or instead of checking the next few months I could check the past few months and buy those.

    Of those four possibilities, spending time tracking releases as they come is the obvious loser, the notification system is slightly better, buying late after the fact means you miss out on things you could be enjoying, while buying early means you’ve spent a small amount of money before you were going to anyway.

    So if you’ve got lots of free time and attention, just sitting around bored all day, sure it makes sense to track things as they come. For everyone else, if you’re dirt poor, buy after. Otherwise buy before. I’m not very well off, but a game or two a month is still a fairly trivial amount of money, so that’s the option I choose.

    Is it wrong?

  12. To be honest both pre-purchase and pre-order are kind of dumb with pre-purchase being the dumbest. I guess they never had any economics classes and forgot about the time value of money.

    The only reason to do either is to guarantee a copy of the game on release. But in the digital age when will companies ever run out of downloads?

    The economic decision that needs to be made is if the pre-order or pre-purchase bonus items are worth the money or paying early. If that one ‘gun’ or armor is worth it to you then go ahead.

    • Time value of money? How much interest do you think $80 is going to make over a few months? I would make less than 6 cents per month, and that’s at a decent interest rate for a savings account. If that is significant to you, you probably shouldn’t be buying computer games in the first place.

      You ask, “when will companies ever run out of downloads?” Most recently, The Old Republic did. For days as a matter of fact. And I can’t count the times a trusted retailer has had to cancel or delay a preorder due to shipping issues, overselling, etc.

      Your third point presumes there is some cost to paying early or gain from paying later. Neither is true, considering the “time value” in this case is negligible and to be playing at launch I will almost certainly be paying retail. I -might- get a lower price by waiting, but I would prefer the additional Beta time and 3 day headstart that I’m getting at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE relative to standard AAA game retail price. Oh, and on top of that there are the in-game benefits you so derisively mentioned.

      The only relevant concern is that it some feel it heralds bigger bonuses to buy a product early that you are going to buy anyway. One poster calls that “gouging the early adopter.” Give me a break. Considering the high costs of development with no revenue coming in, I don’t fault them a bit for trying to see the fruits of their work a little sooner and offering me incentive to let them. I believe in ArenaNet and don’t mind showing it.

      You call me “the dumbest” for prepurchasing, Goodmongo? Please, at least come up with some valid points before you start slinging insults. But inferring from the fact that the 18 cents of time value is so important to you, you probably have limited intelligence yourself. Otherwise you would be making enough that you wouldn’t miss that change in your couch.

      Some people just want something to cry about I guess.

  13. It’s kinda funny-my PoV is a bit of a different one. I’m more concerned that the beta testers are going to end up as not testers at all, but people looking for a free early game, and stuff’s actually going to go untested.

    In other words, I’m not concerned about the pre-purchases themselves, I’m concerned what they lead to for the technical parts of the game. But maybe I’m just on a different wavelength over this. :p

    • I’m not really sure that MMO devs have listened much to beta testers in years. Except maybe to check the stats on what they do in game, which pre-purchase customers can do just as well.

      • Because what a developer would call a “beta” is not what a marketeer would call a “beta”. The current MoP beta seems closer to the technical norm; they are actually changing some significant features based on community test. But even here nonsense like ‘green fire’ and ’30 second stampede’ (which would clearly never go live) are marketing gimmicks. The LotRO, Rift, and SW:TOR betas were pure marketing events. The developers had no intention of doing actual iteration testing based on results gathered. That was all done in the closed phases, these were designed to get people thinking about the game, produce a ton of (mostly bad) YouTube video, and get the game bloggers talking about the product. All of them worked spectacularly.

        In fairness you can gather some useful information based on load tests of features that are actually used by the players rather than what you think people want and so load on the test rig. I don’t think that’s much of a draw, however, and it pales compared to the actual market value of the free publicity.

        As to your general thesis – how is this different than any other tech company “hose the early adapter” strategy? If you are one of the sheep you has to have the latest Apple product the moment it’s released and paid a line placeholder $200 to keep a spot for you overnight, well you are going to pay far more than someone who walks in three months later and buys the same product. I don’t consider this to be effective or advantageous to the consumer in either case, but that is the cost of living in a society that values the new and trendy over all else.

      • Even Apple don’t ask you to buy the product before it’s released (although maybe they are missing a trick there, because I am sure people would do it). My point is just to note how the balance is changing against the consumer, and to wonder why it’s so easy for them to get away with this. Since competition theoretically is supposed to end up with the customer as king, etc. But that assumes informed, rational consumers, and I don’t really think pre-purchase is rational.

      • I worked at Apple, and we most certainly DID take payment in full for the iPad before it was released. We also used threat of scarcity to encourage it.

    • There’s still regular testing going on in the mean time. I think the weekend betas are more for stress testing than anything else, but they aren’t the extent of beta testing in any case.

  14. Eh. I suppose i have my issues with that as well, if it is true. I remember when beta testing meant reporting bugs and issues and maybe having the devs listen to feedback. I mean, I know they manage to take care of(some-mind you, some) bugs. But I’d like to think that MMO devs have more class than to use the beta for a smokescreen to drag out whatever live content they have. But that’s me attempting to be optimistic I suppose. Surprising, since I’m usually quite cynical when it comes to MMO devs these days.

  15. Why would anyone care about what other people do with their money? Actually, if you want to, then spending money on any game is a waste! What’s the difference from buying it now rather then later? No one will ever know what they will be getting until they try it out. Unless, anyone who pre-purchased early cannot get their money back if they aren’t satisfied…then they are screwed! LOL.

    You say people could have used that money for something else and wait for the game to come out? What is that something else? Some people save money just waiting for the day they can get it out of their hands before spending it on something else like candy and junk. Now if there are people on a tight budget then of course they shouldn’t be spending money this early on a game that hasn’t come out yet!
    But anyway, I’m saying that anyone that spends any of their income on gaming has no right to tell another gamer they made a poorly thought out purchase. Someone who was able to put money aside and wait forever for this day without touching it; I would assume most of these people know how to manage their money.

  16. As with any form of entertainment, each to their own on value. If one beta weekend a month is worth the cost of a movie (assuming 4 months of beta left), then go for it. Extremely arrogant presumption on the author’s part. This blog should be re-written to address only his personal choice, not as a directive/critique of others.

    • The price of a movie over 4 months? A decent interest rate on a savings account is .8%. That’s 4/5 of a cent per dollar PER YEAR. On $80 (price of digital deluxe) that would be 21 cents over the 4 months you mentioned. A matinee movie ticket is $7.50. That is more than 10 years to turn the interest on the price into a movie ticket. (I apologize for in-my-head math, but if I am off it won’t be by enough to change my point.)

      Money in stronger investments I don’t consider part of my entertainment budget.

      For the record, I am agreeing with you. But your point is far stronger than your example.

  17. Not sure I agree on the pay-to-wait critique; we pay for a lot of things well in advance and never truly know if they will be worth the money. I buy books like that or cinema tickets. GW2 is at a stage right now with so many press beta vids out, you can judge if it’s worth buying for yourself or not. I’m rather excited to join the betas too, I haven’t been in one for a long time. I enjoyed the WoW beta many years ago and bugs are overrated to be honest. :)
    the standard edition isn’t so expensive that I personally need wait for a little bit of discount later.

  18. Not much of an informed writer. Games don’t become discounted until a year or longer after their release. So buying now (when we can see exactly how the game runs) or at release (when we can see the exact same play as we can now) makes no difference–except one, we get more stuff buying now. So, without paying extra, and paying early, we get more stuff. It’s smart buying.

    Also, just like you can cancel your pre-order of D3 (which is the same price no matter where you go…), I can cancel my pre-purchase. I get to play the betas, I get to provide feedback to shape the game, I get to see what I may like, etc.

    It’s a win-win. The reviews are excellent, the transparency of development is excellent. Only the uninformed or jealous have reason to hate. I think you might be a tad ignorant with the game. In that case, wait and see. Don’t complain if you pay the same amount later and end up wishing you had the items others got for free.

    • Games can become discounted a lot sooner than a year after release. Skyrim was half price about two weeks after release here for awhile because they did some kind of special deal on it, SWTOR is about half launch price now even if you buy it direct from EA. Steam sales often include discounts on even quite recent games, and retailers also often start discounting from a fairly early stage.

      You don’t have to agree with everything I say, but I’m actually just trying to advise people on how to be better informed consumers. And that sometimes means, “Before you hit ‘buy now’ ask if you could get a better deal somewhere else, or sometime else.”

      • Sorry if it seems like sniping, but Skyrim was a buggy mess and negative word of mouth meant something had to be done to boost sales. TOR was hemorrhaging players after the 30 days included with purchase. They had to up the sub numbers to account for the bloated development costs.

        I can’t argue with you on Steam sales, you are right. I haven’t bothered walking into a game retailer in years, so again no argument. With the amazing press and beta reviews, and the very positive opinions of ArenaNet’s past work, I -feel- like retailers will -probably- milk it as long as they can. The prepurchase may actually help that, too. All the early adopters already have it before release, so maybe they will have some incentive to lower the price to get those that are on the fence. Another tentative point for prepurchase, as I may have helped you save a few bucks. Since I am confident in the game and want to play at launch, I would not have waited long enough to see that happen anyway.

  19. Us big kids have $1000 + emergencies, not $60 emergencies…and a lot more than that in savings (if people are going to act all superior.) People really need to stop judging other people’s financial decisions. If you’re living from paycheck to paycheck or going into debt, then yeah, you may want to hold on to your cash just in case. Some of us are in better shape than that, in part because we ARE organized. One could make the case that only a badly organized person is going to be set back by $60. I can see accusing people of being frivilous, but disorganized. Some people think games are a waste of time and money to begin with, but you’d probably take acception to THAT attitude so spare us yours.

  20. I don’t really care how people spend their money. However companies are increasing finding ways to get more and more money from us and some people don’t seem to mind that. This is what I find scary…

    • You are right. This is one reason I am so excited for this game.

      I understand they need to and are going to find ways to make money from me if I want their product. I feel like their model is much more reasonable than games that ask you to buy the box, then buy it again a few times every year via sub fees, then buy expansions on top of that. Also better than the pay-to-win model of most cash shop games, as their promises and past track record indicate it will not be pay-to-win.

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  22. So what you’re saying is, if I spend say $60 now and Guild Wars 2 comes out in say worst case scenario December I’ve made a bad choice? Let’s pretend I bought the expensive collectors edition, and it cost me $150.

    The price that cost me might give me, how much interest by the time the game comes out? $5? Probably not even. Let’s say $10 to be on the safe side. So it costs me $10 more to buy it now.

    For that $10 I get into the beta, which I can use in a number of different ways. One of those ways is to actually test to see what class I want to start playing when the game goes live so I can just start playing then and not have to make a zillion characters and try out things…I can just enjoy playing itself.

    More to the point, what if you, like me, ENJOY beta testing and finding and reporting bugs. What if you LIKE the idea of contributing to the process? What if, like me, you enjoy seeing the evolution of a product and how it changes.

    I find the entire topic pretty silly.

    • Not quite. It costs you the $150 which you cannot spend on anything else until Dec – the $10 interest represents what that might be worth if you actually leave it in a savings account, but there’s an opportunity cost of not having that money available too. So what happens if something happens in the meantime and you wanted to spend that $150 on something else; either emergencies, or some really good offer on something, or another game, or something else unexpected.

      Betas aren’t so much used for finding and reporting bugs these days, plus you could always do that on the test server of any MMO if it takes your fancy.

      • This would only apply if you don’t have $150 in the bank. If I had to worry about whether or not I needed that money, I wouldn’t have purchased the collectors edition in the first place. Sounds like you need a higher paying job or better financial management to me. I guess you’re assuming people don’t have relatively large disposable incomes. It’s no financial impediment to me to spend that money on a game that I want to play.

        As for finding bugs, I care about certain games and don’t care about others. Since Guild Wars 2 is going to be my game of choice, it makes sense to want to find bugs in Guild Wars 2. I have no interest in finding bugs in other games that I don’t have much interest in playing.

        I hate most MMOs. I have no interest in playing them. I’ve been waiting for an MMO to like for a long time. Putting some money down to get to play with it earlier isn’t any big deal.

        But it CERTAINLY has nothing to do with how well organized I am. Seems to me, if I have that extra income where I can comfortably part with $150 (and it was more here, anyway, cause I live in Australia) then I’m organized enough. Maybe YOU need a bit more organization, save up some money so it doesn’t seem like such a vast investment.

      • Thanks for the concern, but honestly, the ideas behind money management aren’t actually different for wealthier people. There are whole investment advisor careers built on stating the obvious to people (ie. don’t spend more than you need to, don’t spend money before you have to) because it’s true.

        If your argument is “I can afford to throw money away,” or “I am a consumer and by making this purchase I am defining part of my identity by identifying with a group of fans who choose to make this pre-purchase, and criticising my choice just makes me identify with them more,” then fine.

        You sound as though it’s worth a lot of money to you to be able to play a few beta weekends and file some bug reports (which will probably be ignored if it’s like most betas). Are you surprised that people wonder if that’s rational or influenced by hype?

        Also, surely we all would like higher paying jobs ;)

  23. I live in Indonesia where the interest rates of both Current and Savings will only buy you a bottle of mineral water. So they’re not that big a deal.

    Even though you do have a point that there might be a chance that the price may be dropped during and after launch date. From the developer point of view, they need more budget to continue their development. As we all know, Guild Wars 2 is a huge project draining a lot of ArenaNet’s finance to pay the programmer’s salary, the voice actors, the designers, and countless other people. They need the revenue they can get from Pre-purchases to cover those expenses to continue the project for beta events and more changes until the release date.

    Just imagine if everyone agree with you and refused to pre-purchase the game until it’s released. ArenaNet would have no more budget to fund the game development and forced to take more loan from banks than they already did. Banks also will refuse to grant further loans if they think ArenaNet will be unable to pay back what they owe based on the amount of potential customers and projected revenue. Since nobody pre-purchase, banks won’t know if the product would actually sell because that lack of data. Guild Wars 2 project would actually be cancelled if none of us pre-purchase and Arena Net would actually be in-debt.

    Another point is that by pre-purchasing with a “possible higher price” we actually get access early into the game, which I am prepared to pay the extra price for. Not to mention all the extra in-game items that makes collecting a lot easier. I enjoy beta testing because I am actually contributing to the game development, whether it is directly or indirectly. Us pre-purchasers that you deem to be inefficient in money management and the one you hate so much, is the main reason Guild Wars 2 will be ready in all the things that you’ll like on the launch date.

    So I spent a lot of money on this game because they are worth the money I earn through my job (I only buy games one title every two years or so) so that I can get all the registration and payments done, and I can focus more on my funds for future needs. So Instead of berating us for being “poor financial managers”, you should thank us for being enthusiastic in playing a role on the game’s development so that YOU can enjoy it when it comes out.

    • “Guild Wars 2 project would actually be cancelled if none of us pre-purchase and Arena Net would actually be in-debt.”

      I’m not sure why you think this. Have they said that anywhere?

  24. The pre-purchase really appeals to me and I pre-purchased for organizational reasons.

    The biggest perk is that I can play 3 days in advance. Since games are released on a Tuesday, that means I can start playing on a Saturday. I prefer weekends over a weekday for playing.

    More personally, this is the only MMO my friends have really gotten into. By all of us pre-purchasing, I can organize a weekend LAN-party and just go nuts. The early beta access allows us to get a better feel for which starting characters to play because we won’t have the option to change during that weekend. My wife is capable of spending hours just creating a character… now she can plan ahead.

  25. This pre-purchase thing is a game trend that I’ve noticed since Steam started doing it. Steam makes good money selling the prestige and privilege of digital pre-purchases (with a few extra goodies) to highly interested, highly committed to the game customers – of which there are a surprisingly high number, at least high enough to run the game into the number 1 Top Sellers list. On release, they make even more money from the game at full price, minus the goodies, and 3-6 months later, they start profiting from the long tail of less committed customers who will start biting at 10%, 25%, 33% discounts, then 6-12 months later, 50%, 66% and finally, 75% on rare opportunity occassions, plus word of mouth from these people who will encourage their friends to buy more expensively in order to play with their friends.

    I find myself trending more to the more than 50% discount line on most games – which to me is a rational decision. I buy to collect and sample a large variety of games, and waiting for a year is not a problem for me. For others, this would not be rational – a game they are not playing now, in depth, with friends, on day one release when the bulk of people are all focused on it, would not have any value.

    Which is where I like most of my MMOs, alas. I love the rabid fever of the crowds, the zerg atmosphere, the excitement. In the case of Guild Wars 2, I am ridiculously committed to the franchise, I want the excitement of participating in the beta weekends because I remember the joy of doing the same for GW preview weekends, and I want to bag my 10 inch Charr statue to keep my Charr plushie company while I roll through headstart as a Charr because I love monster-y characters.

    Sure, I could probably find a secondhand Charr statue on eBay for cheaper later on, a pirated copy of the art book and soundtrack, but you know what? I don’t think ArenaNet deserves such cheapness from me for a product that I’m anticipating with such glee. Thus, putting down $150 for the CE is a rational decision for me. For others, rational is defined by other factors according to their situation.

  26. I don’t understand your problem. It’s for convenience, and it is very convenient. Any bonuses are a side issue, nice to have. Prepurchase means that:
    1. The devs have a better idea of how many people to expect at launch. Crucial for an mmo
    2. Less load on the servers on release day, both for purchasing and downloading.
    3. It’s very fucking convenient. I don’t have to worry about that game anymore.

    All this, and no (real) downsides. They’re not even forcing you to shop with them, so they aren’t killing retail.

  27. Hm, I’m not sure the *only* reason is disorganisation.

    GW is the only multiplayer game I’ve loved even half as much as LegendMUD.

    Customer goodwill can be summed up in a single sentence, ‘Of course I’ll buy it.’

    Pre-purchase in my case for GW2 is just an extension of that. I didn’t get it for the beta access. I pre-purchased because I believe (or I want to believe lol) in ArenaNet.

    Even though from all the *media* stuff they’ve been doing, I’m not convinced that I will actually like GW2.

    Irrational decision? Totally. Disorganised? No, not really.

  28. This whole blog is pretty much non sense, in any other medium eg: in one of the global channels on a game, or on a game site forum, this whole blog would be written off as a transparent Trolling attempt.

    Like one of the guys said above, $60 isn’t a lot of money, it’s disposable income. You’d likely spend that in a bar on one Saturday night. That being said me and the wife really don’t go to bars all that often due to our job schedules. So what else are we going to do with that money ?

    Seriously if your in a situation where possibly having $60 more or less will make or break you, then you probably shouldn’t be playing games at all.

    • “So what else are we going to do with that money ?”

      That’s a really odd argument. But don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just pointing out that Arenanet are getting as much money as possible out of the more committed fans. For example: you can still pre-purchase (for £49.99) even though there won’t be any more beta weekends (maybe the odd stress test or two), OR you could just preo-order from amazon for £34.99 and skip the 3 day headstart. At some point, it’s good to engage critical thinking and decide which is better value and who is being gouged.

      • If you are concerned about fiscal responsibility, you really are talking about a very small amount of money. Even if you wait until release to buy the game and placed that money into an interest bearing account for the length of time from your original post, you would get a very low return even with the most aggressive investments.
        That may be your financial threshold, but it is absolutely worth pre-purchasing for many people that have already decided they would play the game at release for many reasons. For them, these reasons are worth the pennys of interest that would be gained if that money was “managed” until release.
        It looks like the only people that pay in pounds get a discount buying a pre-order. The prices you are quoting are the same prices US vendors are charging (at least what I can find, if you can find something cheaper please post links, I love discounts!). There has been a lot of discussion on why there were different prices between US and UK vendors. They answer given by Arenanet was because of tax differences. Perhaps this is a problem with your tax code, not Arenanets desire to make a profit.
        But, really, as a monthly sub paying WoW player (which I assume you still are), why are you so upset with people pre-paying for a game that they know they will get a lot of entertainment and not have to pay anything after their initial cost? As someone concerned with people responsibly handling their money, I would think you would sing Arenanet accolades for their subscription model compared to monthly subscription models.

      • “why are you so upset with people pre-paying for a game that they know they will get a lot of entertainment and not have to pay anything after their initial cost”

        Why are you so keen to pay for something 6 months before you get it when you don’t have to? There won’t be any shortages. I have no idea why amazon.com is offering such a different price to amazon.co.uk, that’s quite unusual actually, but here we’ll definitely get it cheaper after release.

        I think the whole idea of pre-purchase is designed to take advantage of fans who will throw money at an idea based on hype and community pressure, when it isn’t even possible to have detailed reviews on which to make a balanced judgment. The sales techniques are based around people making snap judgements (ie. as opposed to a pre-order where you could always cancel it before release if you realise that the game isn’t what you want.) I don’t think it is a good trend, or one to encourage. Clearly Arenanet deserve accolades for figuring out how to get money from the market at the peak of the hype before the backlash (or actuality) sets in.

      • Oh, I don’t think this is an Arenanet idea. Pre-purchase has been going on for some time.

        Why would I pre-purchase GW2?

        Because I enjoyed the original Guild Wars, I want 12 days of play prior to release (plus hours of stress test time), I like the extra “goodies” given with the pre-purchase, I want the prestige of being a “beta-tester”, I know I am going to play the game and want to be a part of the hype…I could go on. There is a lot of fun to be had when you dedicate yourself to a product (a game or otherwise). But, what it really boils down to is that with Arenanet’s past success, I trust that GW2 should be a good game.

        I have paid for a monthly sub game client at full price, after release, with tons of great reviews and played (paid) for multiple months; only to find out the game is terrible. I personally feel that the price I paid for GW2 for a pre-purchase will get me at least a few months of decent enjoyment, which means I still make out better then other monthly sub games I played.

        In short, I don’t think I made a snap judgement. I trust Arenanet’s ability to put out a good game. A little research in a company’s past performance helps make a person not so much of a mindless consumer, just throwing money at something new.

      • I’m pretty sure pre-purchase is fairly new in this type of AAA computer game arena. I know I haven’t seen it before. if you have any examples, I’d be interested to see. Diablo 3 had pre-purchase options (I don’t know why because there wasn’t any reason to do so) but that was after Anet announced the GW2 one.

        But it’s interesting that a lot of people seem to think they’ve been doing it regularly for ages. Again, shows to me that people are not always very aware of when money leaves their account.

  29. “if you have any examples, I’d be interested to see.”

    Well, off the top of my head, I pre-purchased SW:TOR and WAR. I know TSW, Rift & Aion had pre-purchase packages. WoW and LOTRO have pre-purchase options even for their expansions. It would be safe to say that this sort of thing has been around for awhile and is used throughout the industry.

    I find the community that tends to pre-purchase a game are completely opposite of the way you describe them. They tend to be the most informed players of the game. They are the ones that are writing the guides, crunching the numbers for theorycraft and experimenting the best builds. They are not throwing money at a hyped game, they are the hype.

    You are off the mark about the most of the people that pre-purchase. What’s more interesting is how admirable it is for you to look out for the consumer’s interest, but how ironic it is that you decided to base this on one of the most consumer friendly games on the market.

  30. So, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but people who pre-ordered only get 1 day early access. People who pre-purchased however and who you are calling dumb and quite frivolous with their money get 3 days early access. It’s preference, and quite honestly, even without that extra benefit, I’d rather 60 dollars be taken out of my bank account when I click a button instead of at some random time determined by the vendor. Please get your facts straight before you post something such as this where you’re calling a certain group of people irresponsible based off your lack of responsibility in your research.

    • Yeah, 2 whole days extra early access, and you had to pay up months in advance. I just wonder how many people actually sat down and worked out the costs/benefits of that compared to pre-order or did they mostly just say ‘yes arenanet, let me give you my money!’

      • Did you even read all of my comment?
        “I’d rather 60 dollars be taken out of my bank account when I click a button instead of at some random time determined by the vendor.”
        I’m sure a lot of people think this way. You’re still paying 60 dollars no matter what. It’s better to spend that money when you know you have it instead of something coming up and then at the time that you’re suppose to pay for the rest of your preorder, since I’m sure you had to put some money down on it in the first place, and not being able to pay for the rest of it. Then you just wasted your down payment for completely nothing.

      • No, you don’t have to put any money down on a pre-order, as it happens.

        But tbh this is a good example of what I mean when I say people aren’t always good with money. Any time someone thinks ‘I must spend this money now while it is in my account, before I waste it on something else’ that’s … not being good with money. Cos if they were, they’d be able to save.

  31. So let me get this straight. If something comes up such as a car accident, medical bills due to injury or sickness, that means that a certain person is bad with money due to having to pay for those things? Now you’re not making any sense.

    I’m glad to hear that the preorder allows you to reserve it without making any type of down payment however. You must also consider how this impacts ArenaNet as a company though. Using Funcom as a recent victim of this type of thing, the game (The Secret World) didn’t get nearly as many sales as they expected due to people canceling their preorders and ended up cutting approximately half of their staff. If everyone preordered instead of prepurchased, ArenaNet would have completely no idea how many people were going to actually end up buying and playing the game, and that does not bode well for them at all.

    • Bind,
      There is no sense in arguing with her. She has it in her head that the pennies you could save in interest over the few months prior to release by not pre-purchasing out weighs any possible personal value.

      • Ever heard of hypothetical situations? *sigh* this is a boring conversation since the rebuttals are so simple.

    • I understand money management isn’t fun or anything, but my concern is that a lot of consumers have simply failed to understand the difference between pre-purchase and pre-order, which has been promoted deliberately by the company to get money out of people at the height of the hype cycle. And for the record, good money management involves putting some money aside regularly for an emergency fund so that if something comes up, you can afford it. It does not involve spending money as soon as it comes into your account because you don’t trust yourself not to spend it on anything else.

      I am more concerned about consumer rights than companies’ bottom lines, they’ll cope, and if they can’t manage to turn a profit by producing and selling products to consumers then maybe they’re doomed anyway.

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