How do You Prefer Your Pre-Order Bonuses?
Recently, I preordered Hitman: Absolution. As one of this year's more interesting games, featuring a massive amount of player choice, improvisation, and replayability, I'm pretty hyped for it--but that wasn't what made me decide to go ahead and buy the game.
The sniper challenge was.
Basically, anyone who preorders Absolution will get a copy of a little game called Hitman Sniper Challenge. In it, you play as the titular Hitman, and your responsibility is to shoot a guy in the face. There are a lot of things you can do, however, such as shooting pigeons, attempting--and failing--to assassinate a character behind bulletproof glass, tricking a boxer into thinking that he just punched a punching bag off its stand, and so on and so forth. It's been pretty fun to mess with.
I hope the game is still available after launch, because I'm having an absolute blast with it. Hitman, of course, isn't the only recent game to do this. Dead Space 2 featured a minigame collection called Dead Space Ignition, and Dead Rising 2 featured Dead Rising: Case Zero, which is one of my favorite XBLA-exclusive games. Both of these ended up being their own stand-alone games, but preorders got them for free.
Additional play-right-away games, of course, aren't the only pre-order bonuses out there. Developers also release store-exclusive downloadable content, normally in the form of skins, new characters or weapons, and sometimes maps. Nearly everyone I know complains about this: after all, players aren't really getting the "complete" game unless they spend exorbitant amounts of money. Most people want the game--that means all of it.
Then you've got Darksiders II, which allowed everyone who preordered to get the Argul's Tomb DLC for free--a DLC which is likely to cost $10 when it releases. Of course, it also came with the Death Rides exclusive Gamestop DLC, as well as various DLCs for liking the game on facebook or pre-ordering on a specific platform.
Speaking of pre-ordering on a specific platform, games like LA Noire, Red Dead Redemption, and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood have offered PS3-exclusive pre-order content. I'm personally not a fan of this, because exclusive content on multiplatform games really sucks. Timed exclusives are irritating, but far less so--and that's really a discussion for another day.
Some people offer physical items, such as Max Payne 3's Gamestop-exclusive keychain or the Dishonored Tarot deck.
I like having bonus games and/or DLC that will later be made available for purchase for those who didn't pre-order as pre-orders, and I prefer not having store-exclusive or platform-exclusive content. What about you?