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Deus Ex: Fanbase Divided

By Bobfish03-09-2015

By now, no doubt, you will have heard of the novel approach Square Enix have taken to pre-orders for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Chances are, you will have also learned something of the backlash to it. The furore, however, may not be quite so clear-cut as some would have you believe. Putting aside the issues some people have with pre-ordering as a concept, the actual complaint, in this case, is coming from an incorrect understanding of the particulars of the Augment Your Pre-order campaign.

Many, it seems, are expressing distaste due to a belief that the various reward tiers are accessed via making a higher payment for a pre-order, or that the rewards in each tier can only be accessed in isolation. Both of which are patently untrue. See, whilst you do, indeed, choose from a list of rewards, with one option from each tier being available to a standard pre-order, everyone who pre-orders has access to all tiers at a flat price. With each of them being unlocked based on the total number of pre-orders made before, well, before the game releases, just as the word suggests. As for the latter, there is always the option of the Collector's Edition that comes with all of the in game items, as well as a number of physical rewards to boot.

There are certainly still valid complaints to be made. Limiting in game items to people who pay certain amounts at a certain time, or buy from x distributor and so on, is a problem that is annoyingly prevalent within the gaming world. But at the same time, such items are rarely genuinely game breaking, and are more like neat little perks to those who want a little extra, as opposed to a detriment to those without them. Much in the same way that DLC armour or weapons add to a game. Though that's a whole different kettle of fish.

It's worth remembering though, these kinds of items are often limited to certain game editions, retailers, events or pre/post release events. And a lot of people have little to interest in acquiring them to begin with. Precisely because they are of little impact on the game in question. And these seem to be the same kinds of people who are enthused about this new tactic on Squeenix's part. Claiming this to be a new low, whilst the truth of the matter is it's nothing new in principle, and this is in fact one of the more consumer friendly ways this has been done. Offering a wider group than ever access to a larger amount of extra, or augmented, content than ever at no further cost. Whilst giving an actual incentive for pre-ordering a game beyond...the act of pre-ordering it in the first place.

It's also worth remembering that this system appears to have been decided upon, at least in part, by the Deus Ex community. Though it has proven difficult to find any conclusive evidence of this beyond Squeenix's claim that it is so. But it has proven equally difficult to find any evidence that this is not the case, and we can be fairly confident that a misrepresented fanbase would not stay silent on such a matter. Leaving us to believe that the complaints are being levied not by the core fans, but a more distant element who are displeased with, perhaps, a skewed understanding of the event and a negative interpretation of Squeenix's motives.

The truth of the matter is, beyond the concerns some gamers have regarding the purpose of pre-ordering in and of itself, this is genuinely one of the most consumer friendly ways a publisher has ever approached it. There is, clearly, an aspect of them wishing to ensure that pre-release interest is high. But they are a business, and that is an inevitability of such. Whilst the particulars of the Augment Your Pre-order campaign over some tangible incentive to actually pre-order a game rather than simply wanting to make their money back before via the impatient of the userbase.

In short, this whole thing is very much a mountain made out of a molehill. Almost certainly born from a distaste for pre-ordering as a concept rather than the particulars of this instance. Square Enix are simply a convenient scapegoat who have fallen victim to a, perhaps wilfully, bad faith interpretation of their intended goal. There's actually a lot to like about this approach. After all, would you honestly rather everyone still persist with the “pre-order because we say so” mindset? I know I'd rather get something out of it.

And there is still the option of the Collector's Edition that includes all of it.

Comments (1)
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Posts: 120

Thanks, Bobfish. I think I put my foot in my mouth on this one. I didn't even know or think to see if there was a CE. Of course there's one, and it includes everything I want and more. And from what I can tell, I don't think you even have to pre-order it to get the benefits. This means that by pre-ordering the standard version, one essentially gets a piece of the CE for free. I can't find a digital CE, so a pre-order for the physical CE might be warranted.

However, now I'm quite torn. I had resolved not to pre-order any more single-player games due to a combination of a long backlog, Director's Cuts/GOTY Editions, and becoming more convinced that pre-orders are a bad idea in general. I still think pre-orders have their place for physical CE's and multiplayer games, so I'll have to think about it some more.

But dat Adam Jensen statue...