You Didn’t Need That Modern Warfare 2 Pre-Order

By  |  Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 5:07 pm

modernwarfare2So I’ve been thinking about fulfilling my duties as a game journalist and buying Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, even though my plate is pretty full at the moment (I’m deep into Demon’s Souls, if you’re wondering).

One potential snag: Modern Warfare 2 is, at least according to GameStop, “the biggest entertainment launch of all time.” I wondered if all the people who pre-ordered the game or hit up a midnight launch last night hogged all the copies. Would my lack of early commitment be a problem? Not in my neck of the woods.

The three closest GameStops to my apartment in Venice, Calif., all said I could grab a copy for Playstation 3 or Xbox 360, no problem. One employee even answered the phone by saying, “Thank you for calling GameStop … where we have Modern Warfare 2 in stock.” Best Buy’s Web site also listed the game as available for in-store pickup at my three nearest locations.

So, why pre-order? Certainly, it’s useful for big hardware launches and limited edition bundles (such as Modern Warfare 2’s night vision-equipped Prestige Edition), but I don’t remember the last time I couldn’t find a game anywhere because I didn’t order in advance.

Increasingly, pre-ordering is about locking you into a purchase instead of a rental, and this is often accomplished with swag or in-game goodies. For instance, if you pre-order the upcoming Mass Effect 2, you get a special suit of armor to wear in the game. If you pre-order Left 4 Dead 2, you get to play the demo as an appetizer.

Modern Warfare 2 didn’t have any great pre-order bonuses. A reservation with GameStop, lets you get $40 back if you trade the game in by December 13, but that’s hardly enough time to play the single -player campaign and sink into the game’s multiplayer.

My point is, next time you buy something from GameStop, and the clerk offers you a pre-order on some title that’s two months away, see what incentives they’re putting on the table. If they don’t excite you, relax. You’ll still be able to get a copy on launch day.



4 Comments For This Post

  1. Trevor Says:

    Last game I couldn’t find on launch day was NBA Jam for Sega Genesis maybe 15 years ago.

  2. Backlin Says:

    Every time I preordered a game, I was able to find a ton of copies at my local Wal-Mart the next day. It’s pretty sickening.

  3. Seumas Says:

    Even better, don’t buy your games from GameStop, period. Especially if you dislike things like fragmenting player bases by forcing different “bonuses” per retail outlet.

    Perhaps you guys don’t buy games very often, but I used to run into problems all the time. Especially on titles that weren’t massive, like Madden, but were still pretty big and had a brewing interest in the gaming community that wasn’t anticipated. I probably run into that situation at least once per year.

    If you really want a good deal, avoid brick and mortar stores altogether. Buy your games from Amazon. I buy a lot from them, so I have a Prime account ($80/yr for free 2nd day shipping on most items and overnight on most items for $4). I use them almost exclusively for my new games, now.

    Amazon usually charges a little less for their new games. So instead of $60, you might pay $56 or $58. And then no taxes. And on an increasing number of titles, they promise *free* release-date delivery for Prime members. And in the case of Modern Warfare, they also offered $20 credit toward any future game purchase.

    So, I could have driven to Game Stop (or another outlet), dealt with traffic and employees hassling me and trying to upsell me or pre-sell me on future games, pay taxes, etc… and come home with a game for $65 some time on launch day — or I could do what I *did*… which is pre-order MW2 ages ago on Amazon and get it delivered to my front door by 11:00 AM on release day for $40. No tax. No shipping. No hassle. It was awesome.

    (I have nothing to do with Amazon, other than being a very satisfied customer of almost ten years who has never had a major complaint with them and has had great customer service from them. – You could say I’m a big fan).

    Of course, if you don’t buy enough to justify a Prime subscription fee each year, then this may not work out as well for you.

  4. R. Ray Says:

    I don’t pay too much attention to new game releases but I had to jump straight into Call Of Duty Modern Warfare! Best game ever!