The song remains the same every year. E3 rolls around, and before the press conferences are complete, or even the reveal trailer in the most extreme situations, you can pre-order any game under the sky that you want. It might get delayed, it might get canceled, it might get stuck in limbo for half a decade, but never you worry. You’ll get your game or (hopefully) your money back.
It seems one too many anecdotes about complications have caught the eyes of authorities in Germany. The Higher Regional Court of Munich recently ruled in a case against retailers, stating that products online could no longer be pre-ordered should generic phrases like “coming soon” or obvious placeholder dates be used instead of a solid release date.
Düsseldorf Consumer CEO Wolfgang Schuldzinski came down hard, saying “When consumers order goods on the internet, providers must specify by when the goods are delivered.”
The case and ruling in question came about not because of video games but rather a complaint about a Galaxy S6 pre-order dating all the way back to 2016. However, the ruling covers all online products, especially video games.
It’ll never happen in the United States though, where pre-orders are just a way of life. Given that publishers have ensured that games are at least playable at launch over the last year or two, I’d say this pre-orders are a safe be once again… only if the game actually gets launched to begin with, of course.
If you slapped $60 down on Crackdown 3 or Final Fantasy VII Remake and are still holding out for your product to be delivered to you, more power to you.