Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Augment Your Pre-order

Has Pre-Order Culture Gone Too Far?

Square Enix, yesterday, revealed that the latest title in the Deus Ex series would be hitting Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Windows by February 26, 2016. However the announced release of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided stirred up controversy in both the online games journalism circles and with consumers with its Augment Your Pre-Order feature.

The idea behind the Augment Your Pre-Order feature is very similar to the mechanic of crowd funding reward tiers and stretch goals. Mankind Divided has a series of five tiers, of which are unlocked when certain numbers of pre-orders for the title are made. Each tier brings with it new rewards which range from the first tier being in-game load-outs including skins and weapon upgrades, to tier two’s digital artbook and soundtrack, tier three’s bonus mission and tier four’s digital comic book or novella. The final stage of the pre-order process is tier five, which promises Mankind Divided to be released four days earlier than the set date, it is unclear whether this release date will apply to all copies of the game or just the copies with unique pre-order codes however.

Many worry that this tactic may set a worrying new precedent for the already rampant pre-order culture that exists within gaming today. With the announcement of Augment Your Pre-Order via YouTube, leading figures in web-based games journalism voiced their disapproval directly. Notable personality TotalBiscuit took to the comment section of the announcement video to say: “We never asked for this.” This resulted in almost four thousand ‘likes’ in agreement from fellow YouTube users.

On the topic of user interactions, consumers have sent a clear message to Square Enix in regards to the pre-order feature and the warmth of its reception via the YouTube video in question. With only around 300 likes in support of the announcement and over 20,000 dislikes it is fair to assume consumers are not happy.

Some gamers feel that pre-order content is content that could have been included within the game for all of its players, but greedy publishers hold it back in order to generate more profit. It is for this reason many gamers are turning to piracy and digitally stealing games, attributing their decision to the greed of publishers and its exclusion of gamers. One YouTube user went onto say in the comment section:

 "I have never seen a company so completely out of touch with gamers in my life. This blatant anti-consumerism is only going to lead to resentment, more pirating and a wider divide in our community. I can't wait for the next big games crash, I think it's what we need to get back on track."

For now it is unknown as to how complete both technically and as an experience Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is and how it will fare following this PR disaster. With the track record of pre-order culture and growing distrust within gamers towards once loved publishers, its probably a strong rule to avoid pre-ordering any game at all. By supporting the culture of pre-purchase you're perpetuating the problems in which the game industry has been festering, greed and anti-consumerism. Hold off on this one I implore, for this could really be the end of days for gamers as we know it.

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