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Pre-Order Bonus
Wait until the game drops in price...or pre-order at full price and get a nice hat? Decisions...

So you've followed all the press about your favorite video game for months; watching every trailer, reading every interview, playing every demo, until you finally get a release date. You're anticipating this game so much that you head on over to your local Trope Co. game store to pre-order, because you have to be the first person to play this amazing game. But that's not the only reason you pre-order. Only the first shipment of 10,000 units is going to have the super ultra limited edition behind the scenes DVD and bonus cloth overworld map with limited-edition action figures not sold in stores! The game developers just lured you in with a pre-order bonus.

This is a limited bonus offered by retail chains or publishers to incite you to pre-order an upcoming game. Is commonly the game's official soundtrack, a free Strategy Guide, "behind the scenes" featurette, a demo of another game, or the usual suspects. Occasionally, there will be different bonuses depending on the retailer; to get them all; there's a healthy trade on eBay for the codes of such things.

The really cool ones probably won't reach Europe, or be standard there. Though on the other hand, the really really cool ones will probably never leave Japan.

Pre-orders are also common with music - digital downloads will often come with pre-order exclusive bonus tracks. Occasionally, independent record stores will provide something extra with a pre-order as well.

See also Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition.


    open/close all folders 
    Video Games 

  • The North American version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker gave a bonus that was a disc that contained an updated Nintendo GameCube port of Ocarina of Time and a version of the same game previously unreleased in the West that featured harder, alternate dungeons, dubbed "Master Quest." Of course, the European version of The Wind Waker had this as standard.
  • Manhunt 2 had a very limited doctor costume including bloody scrubs and surgical mask if you pre-ordered it.
  • Journey was made available for purchase one week before its official release date. Buying it within this time frame gets you a free dynamic PlayStation 3 theme; in addition, PlayStation Plus subscribers can access the game a week early.
  • Many, many DS games offer a custom stylus as a pre-order bonus (Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin are two examples).
  • Most Harvest Moon games offer a plush cow keychain. Yeah, I know.
    • Now, they, and their fantasy counterparts, come with plushies. Usually, cows or chickens.
    • Continued with its sister series Hometown Story, which comes with a dragon plush if you preorder in different colors depending on where (green for Gamestop, red for Amazon, and yellow for Natsume's store).
  • Galaxy Angel Eternal Lovers offered an Expansion Pack for the previous game, Galaxy Angel Moonlit Lovers.
  • Ōkami pre-orders came with a water-sensitive calligraphy board.
  • Civilization 4 came with special packaging, a print-out of the tech tree, and the CD soundtrack.
    • Listen, "Baba Yetu" is more than enough of a reason to have pre-ordered, even though the sound file is in the game files when you install the game.
  • Online games tend to come with in-game bonuses:
    • World of Warcraft preorders got early entrance into the game's beta test.
    • City of Heroes came with a special animation for Sprint for those who preordered the game, while City of Villains gave out special hats.
    • City of Heroes: Going Rogue gave out early access to it's Dual Pistols and Demon Summoning powersets. (Primarily because Kinetic Melee and Electrical Control aren't quite as finished.)
    • The pre-order packages for the various Guild Wars products tend to include infinitely-available in-game weapons for your game account, as well as trial account keys and access to preview event weekends for the product you've just pre-ordered. The quality of some of those weapons is sometimes worth the pre-order alone.
    • Tabula Rasa gave those who pre-ordered the game access to beta, a 3-day headstart and two purely decorative pets. Also, it had an event that gave out several bonuses of its own during that headstart, effectively making them a limited preorder bonus.
  • Dewy's Adventure and Elebits both game with limited edition stuffed toys of the main characters.
  • Pre-orders of The Orange Box from Steam came with a puzzle game called Peggle Extreme (effectively an Orange Box themed demo for Peggle Deluxe) and the ability to play Team Fortress 2 immediately.
    • Team Fortress 2 itself loves to Cross Over with other games by way of this trope - three times out of five, any given new release on Steam will award players who pre-order it by letting them use weapons or wear hats taken from that game in TF2.
      • Pre-ordering Total War Rome II on Steam gave you the usual Nice Hats, however, it also added a "Romevision" mode for Mann vs. Machine—having the Hardy Laurel equipped (or playing with a player who has it equipped) reskins the robots, the Sentry Buster, the tank and the Carrier Tank to resemble ancient Roman society. As an interesting note, the robots' reskins are just regular items, as they had been available on the Mann Co. Catalog for a while.
  • Pre-ordered copies of Lost Odyssey include an additional dream and an otherwise unobtainable accessory that teaches a Game Breaker skill, leading some to claim that only those people who preorder will get 'the full game'. In fact, the content in question is available as free DLC on the Japanese marketplace, allowing all players to get the pre-order bonus if they create a Japanese XBLA account.
  • Super Mario Galaxy came with a commemorative coin.
  • Diddy Kong Racing had a Diddy plushie, but these were later sold individually.
  • Metroid:
  • Trauma Center: New Blood came with a paper and a syringe pen.
  • Parodied by Penny Arcade here.
  • Buyers that preordered the American version of Pokémon Colosseum for the Gamecube also received a bonus disk that allowed them to download a Jirachi, a Legendary Pokémon. Japanese players also got a bonus disc, but theirs contained Celebi and a special Pikachu instead.
  • Amazon.com has been getting into this for the past couple of years. People who paid a little more got a load of extra stuff for Grand Theft Auto IV (which included stuff like a Lockbox, Dufflebag, and Audio CD). Also, those who wished to pre-order Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner Raidou Kuzunoha VS The Soulless Army got a Plushie of the main character (Raidou Kuzunoha) and other bonus stuff.
    • Pre-orders for Persona 3 at Amazon included an artbook. For Persona 4, Amazon pre-orders recieved an art book and a Teddie plushie.
    • Oddly enough, they have even offered store credit as a preorder bonus...
  • Chrono Trigger DS, for some locales, gave out a CD with the main theme and a melody of some music in the game.
  • Fire Emblem:Shadow Dragon came with an animation cel if you preordered it from Gamestop.
  • Gamestop is absolutely abusing this lately, to the point where there's an in-game bonus for NHL 10 if you preorder it there. It's getting to the point of absurdity.
    • And a challenge map for Batman: Arkham Asylum. They gave it a semi-catchy tune that we all know!!
    • They like providing either extra bonus levels or extra characters. It got messy with the Juggernaut in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, needless to say.
    • Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time gives extremely early access to the Insomniac Museum as a one of four bonuses. Otherwise, you'll have to find every Zoni and then defeat the Bonus Boss to enter it.
    • inFAMOUS was particularly annoying because preordering got you an exclusive power, and there were only like 10 in the game otherwise. It eventually became free DLC, but not until 6 months after the game's release.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has a character skin with the appearance of Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid along with his sword as a bonus weapon.
      • Now if you get an artbook of Shinkawa's art as well.
  • Scribblenauts comes with the main character's Nice Hat, and Super Scribblenauts came with a pair of headphones with three randomly selected colorsnote - black, polka-dotted, or camouflage.
  • Preorders of Halo 3: ODST came with a code to play as Sgt. Johnson in the Firefight game mode.
  • UK retail chain GAME does this often.
  • In the US, Tales of Symphonia game with an artbook and (for some people) a wall scroll. Tales of Legendia had an artbook for preordering, as well.
  • Occasionally, anime licencors also give out bonuses for people that preorder the DVDs. For example, Victorian Romance Emma included everyone who preordered the first boxset of the anime by a certain date in the credits (since they were able to use the money they made on preorders to actually help fund the release).
  • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles came with a T-shirt that had a zombie face printed on the inside. That way you can pull front of the shirt over your head and, as Nintendo Power says, "munch on tasty brains and/or do the 'Thriller' dance!"
  • Brütal Legend gives players the chance to use The Love Giver guitar, made famous by Jack Black and his band Tenacious D.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 preorders came with an exclusive baseball bat weapon, plus those who preordered it specifically on Steam gained Bill's hat for all classes in Team Fortress 2. This unbalanced the game a bit, since if anyone on the team had preordered, the entire team could gain melee weapons where there otherwise would be none. Since the release of The Passing DLC, however, the bat is available to all players and spawns the same as every other melee weapon in the game.
  • Pre-ordering Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky at Gamestop would net you a bonus DVD that contained the final part of the anime based on Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2.
    • If you pre-ordered Platinum version, you got a free 6" Giratina figure. HeartGold version or SoulSilver version also had the pre-order bonus of either a free 6" Ho-Oh or Lugia figure or both if you pre-ordered both.
      • In Japan, if you pre-ordered them both, you'd also get an Arceus figure. Whilst game shops in the US and UK didn't do this, a special Trading Card Game set was released stateside that contained the Arceus figure.
    • Pre-ordering Diamond or Pearl got you a stylus with a Dialga or Palkia topper respectively. They're actually quite durable and easy to hold.
  • Many game retailers have different Pre Order Bonuses for the same game, meaning that if you're a completist you have to either buy the game several times or hope that some of it later becomes DLC.
  • The preorder bonus for Luminous Arc 2 have the game comes in a very pretty, shiny box, along with a soundtrack and artbook.
  • Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete came with a punching doll of Ghaleon, one of the major characters. The PC release of the game was supposed to come with the Alex doll to go with it, but the game was never released, and Working Designs went bankrupt soon afterwards.
  • God of War 3 was pretty bad about this. There was only 1 bonus costume on the disk, several others that were preorder bonuses, from different places, and another one obtained through a code bundled with the interquel Ghost of Sparta much later in the year. Unless a bunch of friends give you their codes, you would have to spend several hundred dollars on preorders to get all the costumes available.
  • Pre-ordering Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep nets you free stick-on decals for your PSP (one for dark models and one for light models)
    • Likewise, preordering Kingdom Hearts 3D gets you a set of AR cards that will unlock special Dream Eaters for your game.
    • Preordering Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMix would get you a variation of the usual box case, which included a book containing illustrations from Kingdom Hearts.
  • Pre-ordering Rock Band 3 worked this way for multiple retailers: with Amazon, you got an exclusive in-game guitar, with Walmart you got $10 off on your next purchase and with Gamestop you got three songs for free that didn't become available for weeks otherwise ("Burning Down the House" by Talking Heads, "Shove It" by Deftones, and "Blue Monday" by New Order).
  • Preordering Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts for the Xbox 360 gave you a code that allowed you download the original Banjo-Kazooie for free, 2 weeks before it was released to the general public.
  • In the UK, if you pre-ordered Dead Rising 2 from GAME stores/online at their website, you could get the exclusive 'Outbreak Edition' that included the game, a making of DVD and a special edition figure with interchangable parts. You could also preorder the 'Zombrex Edition' that came with the DVD and a Zombrex injector pen that was packaged in a steelbook case, but this edition was sold alongside the normal edition in stores like HMV.
  • Preordering Poker Night at the Inventory gives you a visor for the Heavy to wear in his native game, as well as a price tag that was reduced by 10%.
  • Pre-ordering Worms Reloaded gave the user access to extra forts, team hats and early access to the game on top of the reduced price.
  • Pre-ordering Transformers: War for Cybertron at Gamestop gave early and free access to Shockwave in Escalation and use of his chassis in multiplayer. Doing the same elsewhere gave you similar rewards for Demolisher and Jazz.
  • Dragon Age: Origins had a whole lot of vendor-exclusive pre-order bonuses in the forms of various pieces of equipment. If you bought the PC version, a lot of these could be manually installed using special lines of code. If you bought the console version, you were SOL.
    • Pre-orders of Dragon Age II before January 11 2011 were upgraded to the "BioWare Signature Edition," which included DLC codes for the Black Emporium, the Exiled Prince, the game's soundtrack, and five exclusive items. BioWare also got players to play the demo and follow them on Facebook by promising more items for it.
  • Persona 3 Portable had Junpei's hat.
  • Portal 2 had a reduced price and a free copy of the original Portal (which can be gifted if the buyer already owns Portal) when preordered on Steam.
    • GameStop pre-orders gave exclusive skins to the co-op robots.
  • Dissidia Duodecim 012: Final Fantasy offered an alternate outfit for Tifa for Western gamers who pre-ordered the game with GameStop, along with a Kingdom Hearts skin for either Cloud (if you lived in the States) or Squall (if you lived in Europe).
  • Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter gave those who preordered an extra player model for multiplayer modes: a Sam-sized version of The First Encounter's Final Boss Ugh-Zan III. The "Super 8" DLC includes that model alongside 7 new ones.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has the bonus (aside from the nigh-standard "Free month of game time") be early access to the game - which will carry over once it's officially released.
  • Sonic Colors came with a hat that looked like Sonic's quills.
    • Pre-orders in the UK came with action figures of Sonic and some wisps, with different wisps being exclusive to the version pre-ordered. Not everyone got the figures, though, since they ran out of supply.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution had two different pre-order packs, both of which became Downloadable Content shortly after the game's release.
  • Fallout: New Vegas had four different pre-order packs, depending on where you pre-ordered it. The week after the last major DLC (Lonesome Road) was released, all four packs were compiled into the Courier's Stash.
    • New Vegas might count as an unintentional subversion. Due to the game's rushed state on release, most of the Pre-Order items were poorly programmed and had a number of problems (for example, the weapons were almost entirely left off the lists for Perks, meaning that Demolition Expert increases the damage of all Explosives weapons except the pre-order Grenade Rifle). Since there was so much other stuff that needed fixing, these items never got patched, making them more of a pre-order load - fortunately, they're still worth quite a bit to vendors.
  • Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One offered early weapon unlocks, depending on where the game was pre-ordered from.
  • Japanese players who pre-ordered Baten Kaitos got a GameCube port of The Tower of Druaga.
  • The Atari Star Wars arcade game was the main advertising point for preordering Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike in advance. The game was included, already unlocked, on the preorder exclusive bonus disc. Although its inclusion within Rebel Strike itself, even if you have to go through a little extra effort to unlock it, seems to make the bonus disc thing moot outside the hobby of collecting video games.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary gave players who preordered access to the Grunt Funeral Skull, which caused the weakest mooks in the game to explode upon death.
  • Preordering Modern Warfare 3, at least on Steam, netted players a free copy of Call of Duty 4 along with it.
  • Preordering Forza Motorsport 4 would give you the Mazda RX-7 Spirit-R (A "unicorn" car, which cannot be acquired through normal means) for use in Forza 3. You could then import the car into Forza 4. Multiple retailers had their own preorder cars, like the Honda CR-Z from the online Microsoft Store, a BMW 1M from Best Buy, 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi fro Amazon, Alfa Romeo Giulietta from GameStop, and the Mini JCW Clubman from Wal-Mart. The pre-order store cars can all be unlocked for 560 MS points, but the RX-7 remains exclusive to people who preordered, or players who win official contests.
    • Preordering Forza Horizon at Game Stop resulted in a special code which allowed you to download a special Forza Horizon edition 2013 Dodge Challenger.
  • Preordering Asura's Wrath from Gamestop gets you an official artbook that explains a few more details of the game's story as well as a Penny Arcade comic.
  • Preordering The Amazing Spider-Man game gave you different bonuses depending on where you ordered it from. Preordering from Amazon USA (Or GAME stores in the UK) gave you the Stan Lee Adventure Pack,pre-ordering from Game Stop (Or Amazon UK) gave you the Rhino Challenge. Other stores had the Oscorp Search and Destroy pack.
  • Lots of games funded trough Kickstarter have this. More you pay, more goodies you get ranging from extra copies of the game to "backers only" stuff.
  • X-Com has taken a page from Kickstarter and runs three tiered pre-order bonuses, depending how many people pre-order the game. Tier 1 (achieved) includes new outlooks for soldiers other aesthetic stuff. Tier 2 (also achieved) has Team Fortress 2 hats. Tier 3, if reached, means that everyone who pre-orders the game gets Civ 5 for free.
  • To make up for the ridiculously limited number of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Collector's Editions that were available to Australians, EB Games had a free Special Edition upgrade on all pre-orders, which came with a steelbook case, art cards, and faux-leather notebook.
  • Dishonored had a full 78-card tarot deck as its bonus, with card artwork based on the game's characters and setting, plus instructions for a card game for 2-6 players using the deck.
    • In a more conventional use of this Trope, pre-ordering the game from various outlets got you various extra powers to use in-game. On May 3, 2013, Arkane announced a complication pack that would contain these bonuses that will come out on May 14.
  • For a little while in the early Aughts, Wizards of the Coast was getting into the action with rare Table Top Games examples. For example, D20 Modern came with a cloth patch of the symbol of the in-game faction The Knights of the Silver Dragon, and the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook came with a plastic replica of Olidammara's Dice
  • The slash000 edition of Duke Nukem Forever may be the most extreme case of this.
  • Three words: Ni No Kuni. Preordering from a retailer like Gamestop landed players a collectable tin. Preordering from Namco's website, allowed players to order a Wizard's Edition which came with a plush of Drippy, DLC familiars and the Wizard's Companion Book in English! Oh, and the instruction manual was in color too.
  • All pre-orders of Tales of Xillia were automatically upgraded to a limited edition, which included an art book, soundtrack, and in-game costumes along with the game.
  • PAYDAY 2 has two different types of pre order bonuses on the PC version. Pre ordering the standard edition of the game got you the PAYDAY Loot Bag, which contains a laser sight for rifle weapons, a unique mask, two templates to use on modifying your masks, and some in game money. The "Career Criminal" edition got you the loot bag plus even more bonuses, such as two beta passes to use for yourself and a friend to get access to the game's beta, the soundtrack to the game, in game discounts on all items, a guide to the game written by your Voice with an Internet Connection, and printable blueprints for every heist in the game. No matter what version you pre ordered, you were bound to get a good deal out of it.
  • Pokémon Rumble U gave out Black Kyurem and White Kyurem figures to those who pre ordered the game, though one is randomly selected. And they are both a Disc One Nuke.
  • Epic Mickey came with a figurine of Mickey (with removable paintbrush), decals for the Wii and Wii Remote, and a behind-the-scenes DVD of the game, which also included several original cartoon shorts. Sadly, the "Clock Cleaners" cartoon is the censored version.
  • PlanetSide 2 (a free-to-play game) could be "preordered" for $40 with the "Alpha Squad" package, which gave immediate access to the game's closed beta (instead of random chance for an invite like other players), $40 worth of Station Cash, 4 weapons immediately unlocked per faction, exclusive camouflage, decals, and a title, and 6 months of +10% XP. The package was sold until the weekend before the game launched.
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier had different permutations of the same preorder bonuses depending on where you got it from - some gave you AK-47 and Mk 14 assault rifles, some gave you M40 and Mosin-Nagant sniper rifles, and some gave you all four.
  • Sonic Generations had several themes on the PS3, plus a pinball minigame based on Casino Night Zone.
  • For the Western releases of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, in the US, pre-ordering the game would get you one of two DLC character early. Pre-ordering from Amazon would get you Shigekiyo "Shigechi" Yangu while pre-ordering from Club Namco directly would get you Yoshikage Kira's original self. If you lived in the EU though, pre-ordering the game would get you both of them.
  • Pre-ordering Super Mario Sunshine would get you a free Sunshine themed beach towel, but only from certain stores like Toys-R-Us.
  • Pre-orders of Sunset Overdrive got you some bonus weapons and an extra costume in-game.
  • Occasionally, Club Nintendo will have a list of upcoming games. If you click on them before the games are released, when you register them on your Club Nintendo account, you will get bonus credits.

    Music 
  • Pre-order bonus tracks have been common since the advent of digital downloading. They are often kept exclusive to the pre-order, and not reissued after the album has been released. Examples include:
    • Megadeth 's "Black Swan" for those who pre-ordered United Abominations from iTunes. The song was however, rerecorded for Thirteen.
    • The Pretenders ' "977 (New Version)" for those who pre-ordered "Break Up The Concrete" from iTunes.
    • Music/Scooter 's "Firth Of Clyde" for those who pre-ordered "The Ultimate Aural Orgasm" from iTunes Germany.
    • Funeral for a Friend 's "Wrench (Demo)" for those who pre-ordered "The Young And Defenceless" from their Pledge Music account (which was set up to finance the recording of the EP).
    • Funeral for a Friend 's "Red Is The New Black (Acoustic)" for those who pre-ordered the vinyl reissue of "Between Order And Model" from their website.


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