Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Pre-Order Silliness Scrapped

“Never pre-order,” we say, which is shorthand for “Pre-ordering is a gamble, so do be careful when placing bets and don’t be swayed by the free shrimp buffet that is bonus DLC.” Pre-order bonuses are usually harmless enough, but Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [official site] publishers Square Enix had the awful idea of saying they’d release the game early – only if enough people pre-ordered.

Following loads of folks telling them it was an awful idea, Squeenix have now scrapped the ‘Augment Your Pre-order’ plan and stuck the game with its original, unaugmented release date of February 23rd, 2016.

Mankind Divided’s pre-order doodad was split into several tiers of bonuses to choose from, with more levels unlocked as more folks pre-ordered. At the lowest level, you could choose one of three packs of weapons and outfits, then other tiers would bring choices of things to listen to and look at. It had all the irritation of retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses but for seemingly no reason. If enough people pre-ordered, the highest tier would be to bump the game’s release date forward by four days.

Well, that fuss is over now. Square Enix said in a blog post today:

“When it was first conceived, we wanted the program to give you more choice about what you received in terms of pre-order incentives – because we’ve seen in the past that when we choose those packages ourselves, and split them across regions, it has caused frustration. We quickly noticed that this approach created even more frustration than before, resulting in a resounding amount of negative feedback.

“We’ve spent a lot of time reading through all of your comments, working to understand how we can try to make things right for you. After much thought and reflection, we decided to close down the program and make all of the incentive content available to anyone who pre-orders Deus Ex: Mankind Divided or purchases a Day 1 edition of the game. Additionally, the release date will no longer be changed in accordance with pre-order numbers, and everyone will gain access to the game on February 23rd, 2016.”

You could’ve committed to the earlier release all the same, you know.

45 Comments

  1. Nereus says:

    That last bit seems like the marketing executive in charge throwing a bit of a tantrum and taking his toys home with him.

    • peterako1989 says:

      because thats what it is. These guys are very arrogant and selfish, but they need to maintain a protocol. And they try pretty much make the community feel guilty and pin it on them.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Kinda but every getting every bonus even if they buy day 1 instead of preordering sounds like the opposite.

  2. Jokerme says:

    It was an atrocious and ballsy move by Square and I believe they were kind of testing the waters. I’m 100% sure they knew people would be upset about it, but they went for thinking “it can’t be that bad”. They had a great excuse named “augmentations”, but wasn’t enough.

    They sugar coated it as much as possible, but we are not living in caves anymore, people. We have internet and freelance journalists to let us know what to think, you know.

  3. prettychillguy says:

    At least they went back and fixed things as best they could. From all of my years as a gaming enthusiast, one thing that I have learned is that (generally) no matter how good a game is, a bad launch can have long lasting effects that take away from the game as a whole. Deus Ex Human Evolution was a great game that is still considered one of the best, and it would be a shame to see something that might top that game be taken down by bad marketing tactics.

  4. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    I thought “Never pre-order” was shorthand for “never pre-order, because all that extra junk will just be in the complete edition you can get a year later in a Steam sale anyways”

    • Kefren says:

      You’re right, and it’s weird, because the pre-order stuff means I never buy one of these big publisher games now until the full edition becomes available. The whole pre-order thing and later Game Of The Year editions means I get games cheaper because they can no longer sell them to me at full price. I suppose I win in the long run, but I wish they’d just release “the game” like the old days – a full game with everything in it.

      • slerbal says:

        I am the same. With all the pre-order guff these days I just sit back and wait for the Game of the Year Edition a year later for a far lower price – assuming I care any longer. Shame there is no way for them to accurately measure how many people they put off buying the game at launch because of this because I know we are not alone.

        • silentdan says:

          I picked up Sniper Elite 3 on Steam yesterday, for $23, with all DLC. I’m about a year and a half into my don’t-pre-order decision, and while it took a bit of willpower at first, now, it’s easy. Every time I’m tempted to pre-order, I just buy a GOTY that I didn’t pre-order (or buy at all) from last year for a fraction of the price, and my temptation evaporates as I enjoy a sweet game that’s practically guaranteed to run at 60fps with minimal bugs.

          “Never pre-order” — it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as a consumer.

          • Cronstintein says:

            There are definitely a plethora of benefits to waiting a year, but pre-order bonuses are at the very bottom of that list for me. Those bonuses are usually just reskins that unbalance the starting game. You can do without.
            Now buggy, half-finished games pushed out the door for $60… that’s a very *good* reason to avoid pre-ordering in my books.

      • tetracycloide says:

        Also means you miss the culture that pops up around launch.

    • Asurmen says:

      Depends on how important that stuff is, whether it will ever be available to others and how risk averse you are.

      • Aetylus says:

        Not really. The preorder DLC is pretty well always far less that 1% of the value of the main content of any game. The risk of any modern game being a bomb is, lets say, one in four. Certainly the risk cost of the gaming being duds is orders of magnitude more than the real value of any DLC.

        What it really comes down to is: have the the marketeers successfully arranged their scheme in such a way that the decision is made in a semi-conscious, non-rational way, by appealing to the human instinct to covet something that someone else may have, while exploiting the fact that our brains are unable to process risk without deliberate effort.

        Its about the equivalent of a real estate agent saying “I’ve got a house for sale… now I know you haven’t actually seen the house and its on sale for half a million quid, but trust me, I’m an estate agent – it’s an awesome house! And if you buy it now I’ll give you an iPad and a bottle of champagne for FREE. That’s right – iPad AND Champagne for FREE! Gotta buy it now though… just sign here”. Sadly, for video games, this works.

        • Asurmen says:

          Not really what? None of what you said counters what I said. If someone doesn’t care about the risk of a game being a dud pre-ordering is a obvious choice because they don’t lose anything.

  5. Jeeva says:

    I’ll admit, I was reading through that expecting the next line to be “so we’ve given Gamestop exclusive access to (x), Game (y), …”.

    Glad that didn’t come to pass. Well done them for realising how stupid this seemed. I’m curious to know how far they got into the counter, though if I remember correctly it wasn’t public, so we probably can’t know.

  6. baozi says:

    “When it was first conceived, we wanted the program to give you more choice about what you received in terms of pre-order incentives”

    They should stick to giving the player more choice in the game.

  7. MadMinstrel says:

    Ah. So what they’re saying is that they needed some more time and there was a delay but the stupid preorder thingy gave them an excellent excuse to not call this a delay? Ok then.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I’ve always had the impression that John literally means “never pre-order” when he says “never pre-order” :)

  9. Nasarius says:

    “Choice” = choose to give us more money. I genuinely love marketing-speak when it’s this funny.

  10. amcathlan says:

    Ah, this gives me great joy. The huffy outrage displayed when we all agree that something blows is a power not to be underestimated. Sic semper tyrannis.

    We really should employ it more readily.

  11. qrter says:

    ..because we’ve seen in the past that when we choose those packages ourselves, and split them across regions, it has caused frustration..

    That quote just fills me with delight. So people were frustrated at how these packages were given to different regions, to mainly appease brick-and-mortar sellers of games. Square Enix totally gets that – so their solution was making the whole packages thing completely artificial! You still don’t get everything, but now purely for the heck of it!

  12. Horg says:

    What tier of internet rage do we need to reach before Sqeenix realise that whatever they are paying these marketing ass-clowns could be better invested into the games so they sell themselves?

    • thedosbox says:

      More money doesn’t necessarily mean a better game.

      Anyhow, I was amused at how the official deusex twitter account led the announcement with “You asked for this”.

  13. The Sombrero Kid says:

    So they never sold enough preorders to justify the knock to their brand then

  14. Geebs says:

    Was this a thing that people were really getting personally offended by.

    Not to put too fine a point about it but: why? A couple of years ago everybody was bitching about “entitlement” among gamers. Now people are patting themselves on the back for having bitched loud enough to get a publisher to not release a game. Being anti- pre order DLC or vendor specific stuff = fine. This = moronic.

    • lyje says:

      I don’t think people were getting ‘personally offended’. They were complaining about a blatantly anti-consumer pre-order scheme. And not sure what you mean about getting them to ‘not release a game’.

      • Geebs says:

        Nonsense. “Blatantly anti-consumer” covers deliberately mis-selling something or maliciously failing to deliver on the terms of a contract or, arguably, the artificially high cost of games in Australia based on business interests. Offering incentives to buy under minimally restricted conditions is marketing.

        The new Deus Ex sells for 40 quid. The cost of a new SNES game in 1991 was 40 quid. During the same interval, the cost of a pint of beer has doubled. Games have unusually standardised prices and are among the cheapest forms of entertainment available.

        The correct response to a pre-order scheme is to not pre-order, unless you want to, in which case feel free.

        Yay internet activism.

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          You realise games and beer aren’t fungible right? Just because the beer mines are running out doesn’t mean the game trees are having a bad harvest. In face with all the wind this year it looks like we’ll have a bumper crop of games.

          • Geebs says:

            That’s untrue. I admit that if Square Enix were unable to supply a copy of Deus Ex, and instead chose to download 12 pints of bitter (8 at London prices) into my computer I would be pretty pissed off. However, in terms of the wide variety of entertainment available to me as a consumer, I could certainly blow far more money on a single night out.

            On the other hand, bitter and lager are categorically not fungible.

            I have 30 hours in DX:HR, which was a brilliant game; that works out at £1.30 per hour. Back in 1991, when I was making £3 per hour, it would have taken me a mere 13 hours’ work to pay for a SNES game.

            Games are pretty darn cheap given the number of people who play them; I know a few people who have worked in the industry and by and large they got paid like crap. If a bit of marketing that costs me next to nothing means the development team get to keep their job between games, I find it very difficult to get up in arms over this terrible final straw of a company threatening to release a game early.

        • Cederic says:

          Just because a SNES game was grotesquely overpriced doesn’t justify £40 for a game now.

          Other things may. Being a sequel to a popular game might be one of them.

          Nothing justifies the stupidity of exclusive pre-order content though. Just sell us the fucking game.

  15. Text_Fish says:

    I wonder if people who were drawn in to pre-ordering by the 4-day thing can ask for their money back.

    Or maybe it’s not an issue because nobody was stupid enough to do it. :P

  16. GuyIncognito says:

    “… gain access to the game…”

    When did the lawyers start this nonsense? Back in my day we bought and owned games.

    Sigh.

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Yeah but we have to play them on a Pentium in VGA uphill both ways.

  17. Michael Fogg says:

    Or just offer a game breaking silenced sniper rifle as a pre-order bonus, that would improve things!!

  18. liquidsoap89 says:

    This strikes me as an odd situation. I remember a few years ago when Steam was doing this exact thing with preorder bonuses. Different tiers being reached meant different rewards for people who preordered. I don’t remember there being any backlash over that system, but this one -which is the exact same- is somehow much much worse…

    Just seems weird to me is all.

    • 2lab says:

      I think XCOM did this, but it was TF2 hats and copies of civ5 as the prizes, so no-one really cared.

  19. caff says:

    I had a guy ring me up at work today and tell me he was a “Talent Acquisition Executive”.

    Basically, this type of marketing/sales/wankery should all fuck off and be burnt in a skip.

    • Josh W says:

      Acquisition Executive is a great euphemism, I’ll see if I can go further:

      “Solutions-Acquisition Executive Consultant”

      • king0zymandias says:

        I actually had to deal with a guy from the client-side who was apparently a “Content Curator and Viral Marketing Consultant”. It was actually printed on his card.

        • Llewyn says:

          At least he’s upfront about neither of those things being a full-time job ;-)