Pre-orders play a huge part in the video game industry. The down payment required theoretically ensures consumers get their coveted titles as soon as they release, but it can also act as a huge source of revenue for retailers, as more pre-orders means more money in the bank, which leads to higher returns on interest. It also guarantees that players will buy the game from that specific retailer, unless the consumer decides to cancel. Digital pre-orders on Nintendo's eShop cannot be canceled, however, and that specific fact led to a lawsuit against Nintendo in Europe. Germany and Norway alleged that Nintendo's refusal to refund pre-orders was illegal. Nintendo has officially won the case, but the two countries may attempt to appeal.
The case was brought against Nintendo by the German Consumer Protection Authority after the Norwegian Consumer Council raised concerns with Nintendo in February of 2018. There are a number of reasons players might want to make or change pre-orders. After all, games are regularly delayed in the industry, and pre-order incentives from specific retailers can also have a major influence on where consumers decide to buy their games.
While pre-orders have long been a part of the brick-and-mortar model, digital storefronts regularly employ them, as well. Digital releases do eliminate the concern for consumers about games selling out, but there is still one big incentive to pre-order digitally: doing so ensures that the game is available to play at midnight when the game releases! For some gamers, that's a pretty big deal, particularly when it comes to major releases. However, while physical pre-orders can be cancelled from retailers like Best Buy and GameStop, Nintendo does not allow players to do so on the eShop, and this new ruling makes it highly unlikely that the company will decide to change course in the future.
The ruling is just another piece of good news for the company after a federal court recently overruled a finding that Nintendo had violated a patent with the company's Wii Remote. However, while that piece of news is good for the game industry as a whole, the eShop ruling is a setback for consumers. In the future, players should be wary about when they pre-order games and who they pre-order them through.
Do you pre-order games digitally? Or do you prefer pre-ordering physical copies, instead? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!