Germany Announces Ban on Pre-Orders for Games Without Explicit Release Dates
No more 'coming soon' for games in Germany, it seems.
If you're sick and tired of games never sharing their explicit release date and resorting to "coming soon" language, here's something you can do: Move to Germany. The Higher Regional Court of Munich in the country has banned stores from allowing patrons to pre-order products without solid release date.
First broken by German news site Heise and confirmed via Eurogamer.de, the ruling comes as a result of a consumer protection claim against German electronics chain Media Markt. Originally coming from pre-orders for a smartphone, the ruling now applies to video games as well.
If a store wants to sell a specific game, it must be able to offer a release date for the product rather than a dodgy "coming soon" or "available soon" placeholder date instead. That knocks tons of games out of the running, as we all know, since so many of them simply come without dates when up for pre-order anymore. It's a bit strange, when you think about it.
"When consumers order goods on the internet, providers must specify by when the goods are delivered, said Düsseldorf Consumer CEO Wolfgang Schuldzinski of the ruling.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, given developers' and companies' propensity to avoid release dates at all costs when announcing new titles and putting them up for pre-order elsewhere.
Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Germany Announces Ban on Pre-Orders for Games Without Explicit Release Dates
Not really sure how I feel about this. It's been such a long time staple of the industry that my instinctive reaction is that this is just millennial whining. But, at the same time, I totally get where this is coming from. There's been a lot of back-and-forth at retail especially about deposits and pre-paying for game. Most of that has died down, but it was a thing for a while. Retailers and distributors used to really rely on pre-order data to finalize quantities. But, so much of that has changed; especially with more recent shifts to downloading over physical releases.