Germany Bans Vague Game Pre-order Release Dates

We’ve all done it. We have all pre-ordered games months in advance of actually knowing its release date. As soon as a game is announced, we can head on over to online shopping outlets and place down a cheeky pre-order. Well. Germany has had enough. The news coming from the land of schnitzel, lederhosen, and Oktoberfest is that Germany bans vague game pre-order release dates.

Indeed, the Higher Regional Court of Munich has banned all retailers from allowing pre-orders for items with vague release dates. No more pre-ordering games with “TBC 2018” attached. People in Germany can’t pre-order games like The Last of Us 2 anymore. Heise (translated by Eurogamer.de) ran the original story.

This new ban is after a consumer protection group raised the issue of vague pre-orders with the German courts. This came to be because of a claim against Media Markt (a popular retailer in Germany). The claim was originally made because of a pre-order offer for the Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone way back in August 2016. The new ruling, however, applies to everything.

Wolfgang Schuldzinski, the CEO of Dusseldorf Consumer, explains that “when consumers order goods on the internet, providers must specify by when the goods are delivered.” People have been burned by vague release date pre-orders before. The move is a good one in helping protect the consumer, but what about the video game market?

While pre-ordering a game very early offers no tangible benefit to the customer, it is helpful to the publishers. Publishers always look at the state of early pre-orders. This is to gather an indication of how popular the game will be. It’s helpful as it allows publishers to be more aware of how many copies to produce. It will be interesting to see how the banning of vague release date pre-orders affects the market. Germany is a big player in the European video game market. Let’s see how the new ban affects game sales and shipping in Germany.