Pre-Orders: Bad for Video Games & Primary Candidates

 

republican-destinyI’m a gamer. I haven’t been able to play very much lately because of school, but I’ve still been burned by more than a few video game pre-orders in my time. The first game that comes to mind for me is Destiny, which was hyped as the biggest game since Halo (whose series has made $3.4B). Press was extremely positive, and huge numbers of people pre-ordered the game without an inkling of what, exactly, it would be like. “Order early and get exclusive armors, weapons, and abilities,” said the ads. The video game masses were swayed by trinkets and a rabid fan base that will like the game no matter how flawed it might be. Most of us went along with it because the hype train for this game was huge, and who doesn’t like getting on the right hype train early? After all, the studio behind Halo was creating Destiny, so it stood to reason that Destiny would be at least as good as Halo. Right?

Wrong. The single player story was short, buggy, unfulfilling, boring, and hobbled by the need to purchase downloadable content (DLC), not just to enhance the game, but to simply complete the story. Destiny is not the only game to have issues with living up to the pre-order hype. Sim City (Really any game from EA), Assassin’s Creed Unity, and more have had issues.

I feel like this is an interesting parallel to primary races. Right now, we have a multitude of candidates that all of our friends want us to throw money at for what is, essentially, a pre-order. “Donate money to Ben Carson,” says my uncle. “Ted Cruz is a great candidate, and I’m sending him money,” says my dad. The problem I have with this is that why should we send any money to candidates who haven’t proved anything during this primary? Sure all of the current Republican candidates have great resumes, have accomplished a great deal, and all of them are smart. But why should everyday people be expected to pre-order a candidate at this point in the race?

This early on, any candidate might have a short, unfulfilling, boring candidacy hobbled by missteps, poor strategy, and foot-in-mouth syndrome. I recognize that candidates do need money to operate a campaign, but there has to be a better way (ideas anyone?). It pains me how so many people get attached to a candidate before they even see how that candidate handles him or herself on the national stage. A presidential campaign isn’t as simple as brain surgery, state Senate races, or any race for a governorship; it is another game entirely.

I won’t pre-order any candidate this year. I have my eyes on Marco Rubio, but I won’t be sending in my pre-order money. I will wait for the political equivalent of Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes reviews to roll in as the race progresses. Most importantly, I will wait so I can evaluate the candidates on my own, which seems to be much easier once the hype train settles down. I just hope that one candidate among all of them will turn out to be, in the parlance of Rotten Tomatoes, Fresh as opposed to Rotten.

Just a quick note on membership. I reactivated my account so I could post this article. I was listening to the Ricochet Podcast episode “Vive Le Podcast” on the way home from Colorado State University today and the talk of presidential candidates got me in a writing mood. I had intended to rejoin after graduation (which is less than a month away) but long story short, the promo worked ;)

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  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Perfect analogy. And welcome back!

    I agree entirely that it is way too soon to get excited about any of the declared candidates (says the guy who was for Thompson in ’08 and Perry in ’12…don’t follow my lead.)

    • #1
  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Interesting analogy. I like it.

    Every product’s sales depend upon its competition. It’s impossible to know how one candidate will fare without knowing who the other candidates are and how they are performing in the media.

    And you can’t estimate the market environment until the release window nears. There will be events in the next year which will shift the public’s focus and priorities.

    On the other hand, considering the stakes in politics, it might be worth throwing some money away on wishful thinking.

    • #2
  3. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    On a side note, what ultimately killed Destiny for me was learning that it would not be expanded ad infinitum, like an MMO with a mix of paid DLC and free expansions. When I read talk of a sequel, my hopes for it were done.

    Still, it’s not bad as a casual shooter if the action is what you’re most interested in.

    • #3
  4. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Wait, the primary process proves something about a candidate?

    • #4
  5. user_435274 Thatcher
    user_435274
    @JohnHanson

    I like candidates having to use the free market to get funds to operate, the only worse system would be anything that gave any candidate any public funding or funding from any source other than willing donors.

    Sure the probability that the money I give to some relatively unknown candidate may be wasted, if I learn something disqualifying about him, or he is unable to catch on, but if at a certain point in time that candidate best represented what I believe is right then that is where I should spend my money, or in kind work donations.

    At least, if he does represent my values better, then my values will get an incrementally larger exposure, and for my admittedly selfish purposes a good thing has happened.  And then, if the miracle happens, I can forever claim I got a good seat on the band-wagon!

    • #5
  6. user_435274 Thatcher
    user_435274
    @JohnHanson

    Now, for gaming, I usually don’t buy before release, its not as if the game will suddenly be unavailable.  Rather, I usually wait for the game to be heavily discounted, (like a week before the next version is released).  Then I know the hype, and the comments from real users.   While I enjoy gaming a lot, I am not out front pushing the envelope in the games I play.   I am rather an old fuddy-duddy.

    I still like the Tomb Raider series, (reboot is better than last couple from earlier incarnation)  Myst and most of its sequels, Doom, Quake, Half Life,  Gothic Universe (was sort of buggy, but 3rd game was immense).

    I have versions of most of these that still run on modern PC, (well sorta :-() )  They are still good to waste a couple of hours, when I suffer burn out from whatever engineering issue I am working to resolve.  I have always been somewhat of an “AHA” engineer, in that I learn all I can about a problem, then let it stew for a couple of days,  and more often than not, while playing a game, or sleeping, or just wasting time, a thought will rise to the surface containing the germ of the solution.  Then a jot a couple of key points, and then overkill the solution.  After all, if five words will answer the question, why not 25!

    • #6
  7. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Not donating money or time to any candidate until the candidate wins the primary and I see whether the candidate campaigns in the general like he or she really wants to win.

    • #7
  8. user_137118 Member
    user_137118
    @DeanMurphy

    I get the idea of saving money, but what about the guy that needs the money just to stay in the race? Are we saying that only rich candidates who can survive the primaries on their own deserve our support?

    • #8
  9. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Any discussion of who is the best candidate to run against Hillary does sort of miss the point (and I’m guilty of this kind of speculation). The primary process should reveal the answer to that question. (My guess is that our nominee will be Walker, Rubio, or Jindal.)

    • #9
  10. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Welcome back, John!

    John Mulnix: The single player story was short, buggy, unfulfilling, boring, and hobbled by the need to purchase downloadable content (DLC), not just to enhance the game, but to simply complete the story.

    That’s really slimy. I’m not one for class-action lawsuits, but that seems like it might be an appropriate one to at least threaten on (like when iTunes tried to get away with forcing everyone to buy a separate pass for the second half of the final season of Breaking Bad).

    John Mulnix: This early on, any candidate might have a short, unfulfilling, boring candidacy hobbled by missteps, poor strategy, and foot-in-mouth syndrome. I recognize that candidates do need money to operate a campaign, but there has to be a better way (ideas anyone?).

    Switching analogies — though I very much like yours — I think of donations at this point as contributing to a kickstarted: “Oh, okay, that’s interesting. I’ll shoot some money your way, but I’m not making any promises.”

    • #10
  11. Victor Grant 1865 Coolidge
    Victor Grant 1865
    @VictorGrant1865

    The worst part for me of donating early is getting back on all the mailing and phone lists that it has taken me four years to finally get off.  I also supported Thompson, as well as Michael Steele and a couple of other also-rans that seemed to represent my values the best, but couldn’t get the job done. I am leaning toward Scott Walker this time and will likely donate further down the road. Unfortunately, I will spend the next four years telling the RNC and their ilk ad nauseam that I refuse to donate to them because, as a group, they are doing a terrible job.

    • #11
  12. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I think the point is that at this point in the primary it’s all hype and speculation. We’re judging these candidates by their overly crafted announcements rather than on how they fare in the real deal.

    • #12
  13. Pathfinder1208 Member
    Pathfinder1208
    @Pathfinder1208

    AC Unity is a terrific game. However, I did not purchase it when it came out. I just purchased it a month ago. It is my understanding that the manufacturer has released five updates or patches since the original release. It still isn’t perfect but better than its original version. Maybe we should consider the primary debates as “patches” where candidates can refine there messages. I think that Rubio 5.0 or Cruz 6.0 is going to be better than the way they were the day that they declared their candidacy.

    • #13
  14. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I myself have never given money to a political candidate, and I don’t plan to.

    • #14
  15. user_157053 Member
    user_157053
    @DavidKnights

    The King Prawn:Perfect analogy. And welcome back!

    I agree entirely that it is way too soon to get excited about any of the declared candidates (says the guy who was for Thompson in ’08 and Perry in ’12…don’t follow my lead.)

    Glad to meet the other person who was actually on board the Thompson train.

    • #15
  16. user_157053 Member
    user_157053
    @DavidKnights

    Victor Grant 1865:The worst part for me of donating early is getting back on all the mailing and phone lists that it has taken me four years to finally get off. I also supported Thompson, as well as Michael Steele and a couple of other also-rans that seemed to represent my values the best, but couldn’t get the job done. I am leaning toward Scott Walker this time and will likely donate further down the road. Unfortunately, I will spend the next four years telling the RNC and their ilk ad nauseam that I refuse to donate to them because, as a group, they are doing a terrible job.

    What?  There were three of us?

    • #16
  17. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Dude I am so thinking of ordering Star Wars battlefront early.

    Donating to candidates – not so much. Donating to the RNC? Not at all.

    • #17
  18. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    There was a great line about Destiny in the latest Gamestop Informer. Something like: “People complain about how disappointing the game is, then resent the hundreds of hours they spent playing it.”

    • #18
  19. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I was a Thompson supporter as well. But, thanks to the primary system Republicans defend, he was out of the race before my state got to participate. So much for vote equality.

    • #19
  20. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Level 32 Hunter and Warlock.  The movement of characters is phenomenal and I never seem to tire of popping heads with hand cannons.   The graphics are top notch.  Vault of Glass is a work of art.

    The story was weak though and there were bugs a plenty.   I don’t regret getting the game/DLC.

    • #20
  21. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    But I’m also somebody who pre ordered Rand Paul.

    • #21
  22. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    DocJay:Level 32 Hunter and Warlock. The movement of characters is phenomenal and I never seem to tire of popping heads with hand cannons. The graphics are top notch. Vault of Glass is a work of art.

    The story was weak though and there were bugs a plenty. I don’t regret getting the game/DLC.

    My son does at least one drop a day. Sure, the universe is a little constrained, but the game play appears to be satisfying.

    I’m a noob, so I’m just Vex meat.

    • #22
  23. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Fricosis, show this to your kid.  This is me downing Crota on hard mode even though I’m almost dead.  The other pic is from friends of mine who are not Vex meat.crota 1VOG 1

    • #23
  24. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Nice, Doc. I’ll show him when I’m back off the road. He’s a Level 25 Warlock: as he’s leveled up, he has started to appreciate the masters!

    • #24
  25. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Well, you got me cause I saw Destiny. But your point is well taken. I am very nervous about opening my pockets for some of these candidates so early. Last time I donated right out the gate was Rick Perry, when he announced. But I find that its way way too early for me to begin to get attracted to these candidates. I’ve got a bit of ranking in my mind but I really want to get into hearing well defined policies and some debates before I start pulling out my credit card.

    I guess it isn’t quite like pre-ordering though. I mean, when Rick Perry didn’t work out so well, I was still able to vote for Romney and it isn’t like it cost me anything extra. When you’re stuck with a buggy game that doesn’t run well *coughmortalkombatxpccough* you’re either stuck or you have to shell out another $60.

    Edit:

    Seein’ those Destiny screenshots is making we want to play more… Maybe… Maybe…

    • #25

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