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Breaking the Habit: Why I Pre-Ordered Video Games this Year

I’ve always hated pre-ordering games. My mindset had been, basically from the PS2 era, that I shouldn’t have to pay for a game until it comes out. And for nearly a decade I stay true to that mindset almost 99% of the time, minus a few exceptions. That has always been the case, the exception to the rule. Every few years a game comes out that completely, for lack of a better phrase, blows my mind and gets me so excited to play it that I feel the need to guarantee that I will be able to play it the moment it releases. These games have been few and far between – I can only remember pre-ordering Skyrim, Fallout: New Vegas, and Halo: Reach. Every other game I have waited to play after it releases, for whatever reason, to see if the hype was real. Well, for the first time in a long time I am excited – very excited about video games.

This year I have pre-ordered 5 games, all for my Xbox One. A few days after their E3 2015 conference, after I have had time to digest what their line-up looks like and had enough time with the previews to get a good feel of the games, I pre-ordered a bunch of games. Why did I do that? Why was I paying for games before they came out that seemingly went against my values? I was excited – no – I am excited for all of these games. This is something I haven’t been able to say about any game since Skyrim. This year breaks the trend of the exception to the rule.

So, what excites me this year? Or better said, what makes this year more exciting than previous years? Surely there have been other amazing games coming out since Skyrim. I can list many – Destiny, Sunset Overdrive, The Last of Us, Super Smash Bros Wii U, Dragon Age Inquisition, Grand Theft Auto V, I could go on. But for the first time in years, the industry itself has done a lot to get me excited. Rarely does an individual game in a vacuum get me excited. A great example of this is Sunset Overdrive releasing. This game is freaking amazing – it has well thought out mechanics, a great art style and superb graphic fidelity, not to mention that it also has a good sense of humour and never takes itself too seriously. I was excited for this game, but never to the point of pre-order. I never got so excited that I felt the need to reserve my copy early, and rarely does the industry make me feel like I should. One game never makes me that excited. But a collection of games – an experience spread across time that will stretch well beyond a single games life, that is worth reserving.

That is exactly my point – an experience worth getting excited about. A plethora of games that I want to know that I will play this year, not just any single game. This is a year that looks to be like no other. I have pre-ordered Rare Replay, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Halo 5: Guardians, Fallout 4, and Star Wars Battlefront. For starters, I traded in a few sports games I didn’t play to get credit for the entirety of two of these games, and I also got a deal where it was pre-order 2 games, get one free. So really I only paid for two games; I would be lying if I said that those circumstances didn’t act as a catalyst for my decision. But five games is more than I have pre-ordered in a decade, and all at once.

Normally, no. This year? YES.

I would also be lying if I said I didn’t believe that this wasn’t the Xbox One’s best lineup yet. The way they presented the games at E3 truly made me believe that this year my purchase of an Xbox One will finally come to full fruition. This is the landmark year, similar to what 2007 was for the Xbox 360. Halo 3, Mass Effect, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Bioshock, Forza Motorsport 2, Crackdown, The Orange Box, and Assassins Creed all launched for the 360 in 2007. 2 years after the Xbox 360 release was the landmark year, and 2 years after the Xbox One release will also be the landmark year.

2007 Xbox 360 Exclusives (x) and Third Party Major Releases (y) (Mainly Fall Releases) 
Halo 3 (x)
Mass Effect (x)
Crackdown (x)
Forza Motorsport 2 (x)
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (y)
Bioshock (y)
Assassins Creed (y)
The Orange Box (y)
Rock Band (y)
Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock (y)

2015 Xbox One Exclusives (x) and Third Party Major Releases (y) (Mainly Fall Releases) 
Rare Replay (x)
Gears of War Ultimate Edition (x)
Forza Motorsport 6 (x)
Halo 5: Guardians (x)
Rise of the Tomb Raider (x)
Fable Legends (x)
Fallout 4 (y)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (y)
Rainbow Six Siege (y)
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (y)
Star Wars Battlefront (y)
Rock Band 4 (y)
Guitar Hero Live (y)

I don’t even have enough time to play half of the games on this list, but am I ever glad that I don’t. For the first time since 2007 I feel like my console purchase was coming to fruition. My decision has been justified – my console is starting to give me back my investment, not that it already hasn’t. Games such as Sunset Overdrive and Halo: The Master Chief Collection have already given me hundreds of hours of fun, and other games like Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dragon Age Inquisition have supplemented that. But this fall is different, it is giving me a collection that works as an experience, not as individual games in a vacuum, and that is why I have pre-ordered games this year. I am excited, and I do not want to miss out.

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