On the official Dead Or Alive Facebook page, Tecmo Koei released a (not very friendly) chart that details the various pre-order incentives among the differing versions of the game. Perhaps the marketing team thought it would be a good idea to centralize the differences and put them in plain view. It has backfired. Whomever decided these incentives, the team has now earned the ire of virtually the entire fanbase by highlighting the ridiculous need for this clarification in the first place.
The most innocuous pre-order incentive is either the steelbook case for the physical editions, or the costume for Kasumi which is included in every pre-order version of the game and will also be available to those who buy the game before March 28th (called “early purchase”). Both are mostly harmless and easy enough to acquire for all those interested in getting the applicable versions they desire. Where some issues come in are where content is apparently gated off. To understand this, we have to see what comes in every version of DOA6, and what these particular versions even are.
As you can see, DOA6 is going to be available physically on the PS4 and Xbox One, and available digitally on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC through Steam. There are also two versions of the digital copy: a standard edition, and a digital deluxe edition, which comes with 25 additional costumes, 3 BGM songs for the soundtrack, an exclusive costume for Kasumi, and the additional character Phase 4. While the PS4 digital pre-order has an exclusive PS4 theme (a fairly common addition to PS4 digital pre-orders these days), the Xbox one digital pre-order nets you a special (ugly) green costume for Ryu Hayabusa. The steelbook case is, naturally, for the physical editions of the game, since you wouldn’t really need a case for a digital copy. There is one misdirected issue, however: there are multiple fans complaining about Nyotengu being a pre-order bonus for the standard editions of the game, while Phase 4 is only for the digital deluxe pre-order. The graphic above is misleading, as the listing on the Playstation Store for the pre-order of the digital deluxe edition lists that Nyotengu is also an available bonus for those who buy the deluxe edition before March 1st. The issue here is that the graph does an awful job at relaying this to the consumer- by all appearances, it simply looks as though Nyotengu is a regular edition bonus and nothing more, since the image does not describe that digital pre-order bonuses also apply.
Regardless, let’s not focus too much on the additional characters and content itself for the time being- instead, let’s talk about how needlessly dumb the entire move of creating so many bonuses that Tecmo Koei needed to create a graph to categorize them all. As game critic Jim Sterling has pointed out (multiple times), pre-order incentives are already a bad decision, but EA and Ubisoft in particular have amped up the foolishness on pre-order bonus garbage to an unacceptable degree. This graph is not nearly as bad or convoluted as the ones for Watch Dogs 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, or Anthem, but the fact that Tecmo Koei felt it needed to clarify and tack on a bunch of extra content incentives indicates that they believe it is a good course of business to emulate. The Facebook post has been set alight with negative responses, poking fun at the resemblances to other failed pre-order campaigns, and the confusion of Nyotengu persist because the graph itself is still visually misleading, so the image has already failed on multiple levels and likely caused more harm than good.
It’s unfortunate that Tecmo Koei did not learn from the ridicule of its peers, as DOA6 looks poised to be one of the better entries in the series’ history. A combination of poor visual design and inclusion of pointless pre-order bonuses has led to a pretty embarrassing presentation from the company. At this point, they should probably feel relieved that it hasn’t been received worse.