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03/20/2005

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Mike

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I hate being told to pre-order. Sure, I've done it in the past. I got my Street Fighter II Anniversary Edition T-shirt somehow.

But I hate that whenever I ask about a game, it's always followed by "but you can pre-order it." There's an assumption that I can't live without this fucking game. If I don't pre-order it now, I'll have to wait. Imagine if I can't get Legend of Zelda for the GameCube immediately? What if I have to save myself for over a month just to play the mana from heaven that is an anticipated video game?

It's frustrating, because it's also bullshit. Supply and demand in the game industry is light years better than what it once was. Will PSP sell out the first day? Fuck yeah. Will anyone who wants one wait months? I highly doubt it.

I remember when GTA: San Andreas came out, I didn't reserve it, and I just walked in and picked it up the second day of release.

"Woo," the cashier told me. "This is the second to last one. You're lucky. You should have pre-ordered."

I got the game, didn't I?

--

In retrospect, that wasn't a comment, that was pure unadulterated bitching.

twifkak

It gets worse.

daegan

Most stores in any populated area are either taking reserves and nearly reserved out, or aren't taking reserves at all and will have huge lines.

The lack of a real reserve system in Japan is why there are 800+ person lines for Dragon Quest games.

Especially on hardware, where the company pays just about what you do per unit, stocking at the store level is EXPENSIVE. It's just more cost-conscious to buy what we need. Didn't you notice how it's hard to find new copies of a lot of lesser-known games about 6 months to a year after release? Sometimes you get lucky but usually a store orders a set amount and doesn't have enough to keep restocking.

No, you shouldn't have to reserve everything. Impulse purchases should be possible. But at launch, it's not uncommon, nor should it be, for you to not be able to get something if others had the foresight to know they wanted it (probably more than you do) and pay for part or all of it in advance.

Mike

Daegan,

First of all, you're wrong about no lines for pre-orders in populated areas. Halo 2 and GTA: San Andreas both fostered VERY long lines at the local NYC EBs and GameStops, even though both took pre-orders. People were just lining up to score the copy they already bought. Lines down and around the block.

No one's arguing that you shouldn't be able to reserve a game. That's not the issue. If you want the latest Halo and have the money to buy it now, you should have the right to, sure.

But what San is saying here is the way that pre-ordering is pressed upon us. When we ask about games. When we look at games. Fuck, even if I call the local EB to ask if they have a game in stock, they answer the phone "Welcome to EB, where you can now pre-order your PSP."

It's infuriating to the customer to be told what to do and how to do it simply because it profits the company. Especially when, as SAN points out, stores refuse to hold reserved games. So if I pay $250 now for my PSP and I have a family emergency, and I have to leave my area for a few days, I might still be screwed for getting a system that I rightfully paid for early.

The current pre-order system gives minimum benefit to the customer and maximum benefit to the seller. That's not fair.

RevGored

I honestly don't see what the big deal is with pre-ordering a piece of hardware or software. The OP and the corresponding posters seem to think that it's mysteriously the fault of the retailer that this shit goes on, but fail to consider the fact that the publisher of said soft/hardware is a major contributing factor.

It's not like EBGames/Gamestop/K-Mart said 'fuck the consumer, we're not selling Halo 2 until November 11th' - that's called a street date. Just because it's in the backroom, it doesn't mean the employees can just sell it; that means they could lose thier job.

Also, the fact that pre-ordering is 'pressed' upon you must be a terrible burden - why not just be a fucking shutin like half the people on the internet and just order your games online so you don't have to deal with the obvious mental taxation of speaking to human beings regarding preordering a piece of hardware or software?

Sorry if this seems like a rant, but I'm tired of seeing the same 'retailers are fucking us again!' complaint on every website across the internet that was written as a purely one-sided opinion piece of how the retail/distribution/publishing world should work.

Sure you don't have to be something to make a suggestion about it, but at least try to offer suggestions instead of the same old 'I hate preorders because they violate my civil rights and rape my parents' drivel. I could complain all day that dentists using drills on my teeth is shitty as hell, but until I suggest something alternative to the situation, my fucking teeth are getting drilled.

Hockeyfool

Yah, the hard-selling of reservations has gotten REALLY bad... especially at GameStop where I have a few friends that work at the local ones near my house.

Why is that you ask? It's because it's one of the FOUR things that makes or breaks your store in GameStop's eyes.

From what I understand and what was told to me... GameStop stores are ranked by the average number of items purchased per transaction, pre-order reservations, trade-ins, and subscriptions to GameInformer. Now you'll know why you may get sneered at when you walk in and just buy one item and leave.

Corporate constantly hound my friends about it that they can do better in those four areas and how much they suck and all this other crap. You would think that without those four items, the world as we know it would end or something.

Basically, it makes them feel that if a customer walks in and doesn't have any trade-ins with them, doesn't reserve games before they leave, or has a GameInformer subscription with that discount card (that they just raised the price on, oddly enough)... then those customers are absolutely USELESS.

How wrong is that?

And you think having reservations shoved down your throat is bad? The GameStop that I go to were instructed that they need to mention trade-ins when the customer walks in ("Hey! Did you bring in your trades???"), on the phone during the greeting AND also the end of the call, and then to EVERY customer in the store whenever they ask you a question or ask for your assistance. Even was suggested to them that they do announcements in the store at regular intervals that they took buy back your old games. Basically, don't let the customer forget for five seconds that they take trade-ins. This came from the higher ups and the employee will be written up if they don't do it. My friends are very upset about that.

IT'S NOT ABOUT SALES ANYMORE FOLKS... it's about those four items. Hell, they told me that when they do rankings for the stores in the region they don't even consider sales or any improvements in sales from the year before... only those four items.

And... those folks who are saying that stores will not hold reserved games for more then 48 hours, yup... that is generally the rule that is told to me when I reserve games. But you don't show up, don't bother to call the store, or nothing... they are going to sell your system / game / whatever to some shmoe that walks into the door when they are sold out and can make a sale. Now if you call, in case with RevGored and his example of having a family emergency or for whatever reason, and explain that you need it held longer... usually the store will be cool about it. I've had a reserved game (Katamari Damacy, game was super hard to find when it came out) that was sold out already held for a week because I had the courtesy to call and let the store know that I can't pick it up until the end of the week.

I reserve games because I don't want to have to drive all over town to find it. Even so, it's nice to have the comfort that I'll get a phone call letting me know it's in the store, get whatever free stuff that the game company sends for pre-ordering, and that I really don't have to worry about it. Hell, I'm going to buy it anyways so why not help the store out (Lord knows that the employees need all the help that they can get) is how I feel about it.

So it's not the employees... they are forced to harass you by corporate and their district managers in fear of losing their jobs.

General E

Maybe it comes with getting older, but I've totally lost my desire to get things on the first day they come out. I've also gotten to where I can't stand video game stores, so these two things go together well.

I constantly have a backlog of games I need to finish, due to constraints on my free time as I've gotten older. To that end, if I wait till I have no (or few) games I'm enjoying to finish, I find that a few weeks / months have passed, and the game(s) in question can be easily purchased off the shelves or online.

daegan

""Welcome to EB, where you can now pre-order your PSP.""

And why is there anything wrong with saying that? It's part of a greeting, it's not really supposed to be paid attention to but rather to sit in a casual customer's head, so that they think about it later and ask when they come in. Further, when a corporate office sends people in, they always ask about a game not out yet, and an offer to reserve it is one of the things they look for. I'm not saying every inquiry should result in a clerk screaming "OMG YOU SHOULD TOTALLY RESERVE THIS RIGHT NOW" but a calm, "It comes out on April 19, we are still taking reservations, $5 on it and we hold it for you when it comes out"...I see nothing wrong with this. In fact, I do it every day.

But I digress, I don't work at every game store in the US and many of them are probably poorly run - those ones where people are witholding games? That's a good example.

Those things that they grade GameStops on, according to Hockeyfool, are things that build customer loyalty and keep them coming back. If they didn't do those things, they'd be no different from K-Mart or Target or Wal-Mart, except they wouldn't offer anything other than games, and they would quickly go out of business because they would overstock on EVERYTHING the same way they're overstocked on Halo 2 guides (most stores have 100 or 200 too many).

"IT'S NOT ABOUT SALES ANYMORE FOLKS... it's about those four items. Hell, they told me that when they do rankings for the stores in the region they don't even consider sales or any improvements in sales from the year before... only those four items."

I'd like to know where this district is, considering that there are many other things that break ties and get them ranked, like payroll hours and (surprise surprise) overall sales growth over last year.

Ken Krista

You may want to check with your local Best Buy. The flyer that came in my newspaper yesterday morning claims they will have a minimum of 20 available per store and they will open at 8:01 AM Thursday morning. I'm not sure if this minimum of 20 is outside the preorder numbers, but I believe that it is. If you show up at 8:01 (well, probably a bit before that), I think you'll be able to get one. Give 'em a call. You may just get your PSP on Thursday.

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