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Not available in stores!

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 preorder. 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 Preorder 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 sound track, a free Strategy Guide, "behind the scenes" featurette, a demo of another game, or the usual suspects.

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.

See also Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition.

Examples of Preorder Bonus include:
  • One of the best pre-order bonuses is perhaps that of the American version of The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, which was a disc that contained an updated Gamecube port of The Legend of Zelda 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 Wind Waker had this as standard.
  • Manhunt 2 had a very limited doctor costume including bloody scrubs and surgical mask if you preordered it.
  • Many, many DS games offer a custom stylus as a Preorder Bonus (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin are two recent examples).
  • Most Harvest Moon games offer a plush cow keychain. Yeah, I know.
  • Galaxy Angel Eternal Lovers offered an Expansion Pack for the previous game, Galaxy Angel Moonlit Lovers.
  • Okami preorders 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 preordered, 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.
  • Pre-ordered copies of Lost Odyssey will apparently include an extra cutscene, leading some to claim that only those people who preorder will get 'the full game'. In fact, the content in question is already available as free DLC on the Japanese marketplace, making it likely that all players will get the bonuses eventually.
  • 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 Game Cube also received a bonus disk that allowed them to download a Jirachi, a Legendary Pokémon. At the time of this writing that preorder disk remains the only legitimate way (apart from importing) for American players to get Jirachi and completionists often pay upwards of $70 for the preorder disk at various auction sites (Though Wii modding now allows for shadier people to get a legitimate Jirachi, uhhh, illegitimately. Assuming they still have a GBA and GC-GBA Link Cable. Yeah, that's weird.) This is a unique case of the preorder bonus being more valuable than the game after the fact.
  • 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); While more recently those who wished to pre-order the newest[when?] Mega Ten game (Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army) will get a Plushie of the main character (Raidou Kuzunoha) and other unspecified 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 and 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.
    • In Famous 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.
  • Scribblenauts comes with the main character's Nice Hat.
  • Preorders of Halo 3: ODST came with a code to play as Sgt. Johnson in the Firefight game mode.
  • 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: Darkside Chronicles is coming with a T-shirt that has a zombie face printed on the inside. That way you can pull front of the shirt over your head and, as Nintendo Power says, "you're ready to munch on tasty brains and/or do the 'Thriller' dance!"
  • Brutal 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.
  • Preordering 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 preordered 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
    • Preordering 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.
  • Preordering Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep nets you free stick-on decals for your PSP (one for dark models and one for light models)
  • 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%.
  • Preordering Worms Reloaded gave the user access to extra forts, team hats and early access to the game on top of the reduced price.
  • Preordering 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.
    • Preorders of Dragon Age 2 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 preorders gave exclusive skins to the co-op robots.
  • Dissidia Duodecim 012: Final Fantasy offered an alternate outfit for Tifa for Western gamers who preordered 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.
    • Someone who pre-ordered the game decided to put the hat on their dog [dead link]
    • 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.
  • 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 Game Cube 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 preorderd 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 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.