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Amazon blows for video games

I’ve bought a handful of video games this year and my local Gamestop seems to have trouble getting new games on release day (“sorry, UPS didn’t show up yet, maybe tomorrow”) and for the popular games, they insist on pre-ordering with a deposit. Since Gamestop was a hassle, I started ordering stuff on Amazon instead, usually a month or so before big games came out.

For the most part, it’s worked well except items ship on their release date instead of arrive. I know a lot of games are done and in boxes, ready to ship weeks ahead of release dates and it sure would be nice if Amazon could ship them a day or two before release date so they show up on time. I know that’s a minor problem, but it’s tough waiting 24 hours when everyone online is talking about a game that’s available down the street at a store.

Lately though, Amazon has been a big problem with popular games. I’ve had a couple games delayed by 1 week and 2 weeks respectively and Amazon doesn’t inform you until the actual release date of the game. So if you pre-order a month or so early and you’re thinking you are going to get the game shipped on day 1, you don’t find out until that day arrives that they ran out. It’s really unfortunate, since I guess Amazon has no idea what their supplies will be like when they start taking pre-orders. Today I got this message about Guitar Hero III (PS3), which got released today:

We wanted to let you know that there is an unexpected delay with your video game order you placed on September 11 2007 17:47 PDT. Unfortunately, we are unable to ship the product(s) as soon as we expected and need to provide you with a new estimate of when they may be delivered:

“Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Bundle” [Video Game]
Estimated arrival date: 12/31/2007

I pre-ordered a month and a half early and they estimated it would take anywhere from 1 to 2 additional months to get a copy of the game sent to me. That’s pretty ridiculous and why I won’t be buying video games from Amazon anymore.


  1. i’ve actually found that Amazon drastically exaggerates their shipping times when items are unavailable – they’ll probably update within 40 hours.
    however i have had the exact same problems you’ve had – and it’s always with buying games that aren’t shipped yet. even if mine isn’t a preorder and i order on the release day, why aren’t the product pages updated sooner? and why, if they accept preorders, don’t they have enough stock to fill those and at least 50% (if not 100%) of the orders received after the game is released?
    it doesn’t sound like rocket science.
    let me know if you find a better place to buy games online – i’ve tried about 8 other companies and they all have the same problems fulfilling orders.

  2. No chance you could have posted this last week before I pre-ordered Rock Band? The release date rules are really keeping brick and mortar companies in media retailing.

  3. Try GameStop again today. They release the pre-order holds 24 hours after the game goes on sale.
    If you want a second controller, here’s a tip: buy a second bundle, then sell the game right back to them. They’re paying $30 for the game, so your net cost is around $70, about $10 less than what the controller will sell for when it comes out… whenever that is.

  4. This happened to me a few times, and so I just stopped pre-ordering games from them. It’s weird that they’re so good at delivering pre-ordered books by or even before the release date but suck such total ass at games.

  5. I think part of the problem is that the video game publishing industry just isn’t as together as the music and video industries. I’ve run into the release-day-isn’t-when-the-stores-actually-get-the-game problem many times. As for Amazon, I’ve found their inventory to be on the cruddy side for everything.
    The pre-order problems (Guitar Hero is not the only thing to run into this) are exceptionally lame. They did stop taking GH3 preorders a couple of weeks ago. But I ended up having the best exprience walking into Target at 9am on Sunday. They had a full stock, not even behind glass so I was able to pick it up and check out right away with no line. They even had a bunch of Wiis in stock had I been looking for one.

  6. I’ve recently sworn off for pre-orders after they messed up not only my Halo 3 one (despite me checking with them a couple of days before it came out), but decided last week on Leopard’s day of release, that the family pack isn’t out until tomorrow (the 31st).
    Even after mailing them with links to Apple’s press release (as well as the text on that says “Mac OS X Leopard. Now Available.”), Amazon are still insisting that the family pack hasn’t been released yet.

  7. The business of shipping games on release day is a pain for both retailers and customers. Unlike books and DVDs, games lose their value very quickly and are made obsolete either by the game’s own sequel or a new console platform.
    Because of this, we’ve got this ridiculous pre-order system where retailers try to stock exactly what they need and nothing more.
    That said, I ordered GH3 from Gamestop just yesterday and I’ve been refreshing the page all day. :(

  8. I find this to be true of all online resellers, at least as far as games are concerned; it’s frustrating, too because Gamestop & EB both suffer from the problem that their stash arrives via fedex, and I frequently have to call more than a couple to find a store that has its titles in on any given launch day unless I wait until later in the day, in which case they frequenly sell out. Problem would be alleviated if I pre-ordered, but I hate being tied to having to pick up from one specific location…

  9. Most people don’t consider them, but Costco has games on the day they’re released. I went to my local warehouse on Monday and strolled right out with GHIII for Wii for $79. Many locations still have a dozen left.

  10. [to be fair to everyone, the above comment about costco was posted from an IP address owned by Costco so take the advice with a grain of salt]

  11. I pre-ordered GH3 from Amazon and sat back, smug in the thoughts of the game arriving without me having to do anything more. Release day came and went, no email. Another day, nothing. Tuesday morning in my email was a note similar to yours, saying it had been delayed until 12/13 (13… why mine was different I dunno). I called a local Gamestop, preparing to be laughed at. “Oh yes, we have some for the Wii in stock.” 15 minutes later I was walking out the store with it.
    I buy precious few video games. But they won’t be coming from Amazon any longer. It’s not that I had to have it quickly, but I don’t appreciate being manipulated.

  12. Just happened to me today. I pre-ordered Assassin’s Creed for the 360 in May (in May!!!) and got an email today – the day AFTER release – stating that I won’t be getting it until the 21st. I complained to Amazon via email and they responded very quickly, to their credit, but they still used the same lame excuse; “unexpected delay.” So, yeah, kinda sucks.

  13. Same here with Raving Rabbids 2 for the Wii. Pre-ordered on 10/4. Release date is 11/15. Estimated ship date is 11/18 with a delivery date of 11/21-11/24. They suck when it comes to pre-ordering and I love Amazon normally.

  14. Yes, this is the exact reason I don’t pre-order games from Amazon anymore. It’s very frustrating and poor customer service.

  15. The same thing has happened for me for a couple Wii and DS games.
    I’ve had it where a “just released” DS game shipped several days late, causing the game to arrive at the house a couple hours after my flight lifts off. The game then sits at the house for a few weeks unopened. This has happened three times already.
    The books I order show up in a timely manner, so at least there’s something to read instead.

  16. I pre-order Leopard from Amazon, and my estimated shipping time was listed as Nov. 11-21 (or something like that), however it ended up shipping on release day, and I received it the next day (with the free Super Saver shipping).
    Not a bad deal, however quite frustrating if you want to know when you’re going to get your orders.

  17. I know what you mean. Try instead. I’ve had nothing but good luck with them – and they ship the games early like you talked about so you get them the day they’re released. No free shipping, but I think it’s worth it.

  18. This is not just the case with video games. I find Amazon to be very slow with most of their stuff. Gamestop is by far the best video game website on the Internet and their stores are great too. I won’t buy games from anyplace else now unless I could find them much cheaper and I know for a fact the service will be good.

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