Pre-orders are becoming more and more precarious and undesirable as time goes on. It seems like every game gets a pre-order, even when it is unnecessary, in the name of securing more sales. But there’s another issue with these early commitments that is even more annoying. That is the competency of companies taking such orders. We’ve been seeing more and more instances lately where people place pre-orders for things where you really would need one to get a product, but then see it canceled.
The main reason for today’s diatribe is due to a little incident that happened last week. Walmart took pre-orders for the Super NES Classic Edition on July 21, 2017. For a half hour, people were able to call dibs on one of these guaranteed-to-be-rare microconsoles. I was one of the lucky ones that got an order in. It stayed intact until July 26, 2017, at which point it and all others that hadn’t been canceled up to that point were canceled. Why? Because of an “error” in listing the product early.
Would I trust Walmart again after this incident? Nope. I know a pre-order will be the only way I get my hands on a Super NES Classic Edition. The NES Classic Edition was ridiculously rare, and this will be too. But seeing a major retailer make such a mistake, then not rectify it within 24-hours, is a terrible thing. You don’t expect to see such incompetence.
Except, it is becoming increasingly common. Another good example of this is the Persona 5 collector’s edition. Collector’s editions of games are actually rare enough to merit pre-orders most of the time. Only a limited number are made. Amazon, another retailer people should be able to trust, canceled a number of orders due to an error. In its case, it made good by giving away $50 gift cards and free copies of the game. But then, in other cases The Last Guardian collector’s editions and Titanfall 2 collector’s editions were oversold and canceled without such a convenient explanation.
And then there’s the recent Best Buy cancelation drama. Some people had pre-ordered Destiny 2. Those who canceled their pre-orders then saw a $20 fee was being charged. Why? Because the Destiny 2 pre-order included access to a beta. The beta was being valued at $20. As with the Amazon and Walmart issues, it was another error. Once again, things were fixed and people who were charged eventually got their money back.
But all of these errors give pre-orders an even worse reputation. We know that most pre-orders are rather unnecessary, which makes seeing endless attempts to sell them annoying. But it’s even worse when we have situations where we would need a pre-order, but find companies keep making errors that lead to us experiencing momentary discomfort at best and loss of a guaranteed item at worst.