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Is Pre-Purchasing a Game on Steam Cheaper?

When it comes to adding new games to our virtual shelves, the anticipation can sometimes be too much to bear. You want to be the first to plunge into new worlds, to explore, and to conquer. This is where the concept of pre-purchasing—or pre-ordering—often feels like a golden ticket to gamers. But, is pre-purchasing on Steam genuinely cheaper? Do you gain anything when you decide to take the plunge early? And are we all on the same page with what pre-purchasing and pre-ordering really mean?

Pre-Purchase: A Bargain Hunter’s Dream or Just Standard Price?

The answer can be as elusive as a high-level loot box. In some cases, developers tempt players with a pre-purchase discount—typically somewhere between 10% to 20%. It’s an incentive, a way to reward your leap of faith in a game that you haven’t yet seen in action outside of carefully curated trailers and gameplay snippets.

However, these discounts aren’t a given. It’s game-dependent, and many titles will launch at the same price, pre-purchase or not. To snag those savings, keeping an eye out on Steam’s upcoming releases and announcements from developers is your best bet.

Tip Alert: Some indie developers appreciate the early support and might offer more significant discounts to their early birds.

The Loot of Pre-Purchasing

Here’s where things get interesting. Beyond the potential for saving a few bucks, pre-purchasing can come with some tempting loot:

  • Exclusive Content: Skins, weapons, characters—the digital deliciousness that makes your version of the game a little more special.
  • Early Access: Sometimes, you’re rewarded with the ability to play the game before its official release.
  • In-game Bonuses: Think: currency, experience boosts, or items that give you that slight edge when you begin your journey.
  • Soundtracks and Artbooks: A feast for your senses, and a nice touch if you appreciate the finer details in game creation.

Take Note, However:

Most of these perks, while appealing, aren’t essential to the gameplay experience. They’re more like cherries on top of your gaming sundae. They serve as an enticing incentive to commit but consider your motivations carefully. Are those extra pixels in an exclusive skin going to bring you long-term joy, or are you more concerned with the core game itself?

Pre-Purchase vs. Pre-Order: A Clarification

Now this is where terminologies get a bit twisted. To clarify:

  • Pre-Purchase: You pay for the game before it’s released and often download it in advance, so it’s ready to play the moment it’s officially available.
  • Pre-Order: You place an order before the game’s release, usually without payment upfront, ensuring you get a copy delivered (or available for download) on release day.

However, in the digital realm of Steam, the lines blur; pre-purchase usually involves pre-order benefits. Essentially, you’re securing your copy, possibly getting extras, and contributing to the developers’ early sales statistics.

Some Words of Warning

While the allure of pre-purchase bonuses can be strong, it’s worth exercising a degree of caution. Here’s why:

  • Unseen Quality: You’re taking a gamble on a product you haven’t seen in full. Early reviews and beta testers can give you a glimpse, but the final product might still hide some surprises. We have learned the hard way with releases of Cyberpunk 2077, Fallout 76 or No Man Sky.
  • Buyer’s Remorse: Hype trains are powerful, but they can lead to disappointment if the game doesn’t live up to expectations. Waiting for release day reviews could spare you some heartache.
  • Technical Troubles: New releases can be plagued by technical issues.

Pre-Purchase Prospects: A Summary

To sum it up on whether pre-purchasing on Steam is cheaper:

  • Sometimes, yes, there can be a financial incentive to pre-purchase, but it’s not a constant.
  • Pre-purchase perks are like getting a sprinkle of digital fairy dust atop your game, but they’re not always worth the leap of faith.
  • Being patient might save you money and spare you from disappointment if a game launches with unforeseen issues.
  • Sometimes Early Access games are cheaper before they go into a full release, you once again you take a gamble on the developers when buying an early access game on Steam.