mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Proposal for Saner Pre-Ordering

Another day, another dollar, another chance to be frustrated if you were interested in picking up the limited edition of Fire Emblem Echoes. Between ernest interest in the product and scalpers looking to make a quick buck, pre-orders are a race against time and an exercise in frustration. But do they have to be? Not really.

A saner pre-ordering system could be:

  1. The seller announces product, price, and a window for pre-ordering. This pre-order week can be well ahead of the release date to leave enough time for production.
  2. During that window people can pre-order the product. There is no fixed inventory yet so the seller can sell as much as they want.
  3. At the end of the pre-order window, payment is collected.
  4. The amount of product to be manufactured is now known. An extra amount can be produced for traditional methods of distribution.

The 99% of people who want to get a copy of the product can get it and the 1% who want to purchase it to resell later can do so as well. There is no need to punish people who just want a copy for themselves and even scalpers can carry on with their business. There are limits on how fast items can be produced but that can be accounted for by having your pre-order week way ahead of release date and, if needed, distributing the product on a first-ordered, first-shipped basis.

Publishers like Nintendo ultimately want and need to make money. They should make sure no one is getting turned away from giving them money.