The Higher Regional Court of Munich has placed a ban on retailers from offering pre-orders for items without a concrete release date, this according to German news site Heise (also confirmed by the folks at Eurogamer.de.)
This means stores and online retailers will need to offer customers a latest date by which their purchase will arrive. Simply saying, “it won’t be long” no longer cuts the mustard.
This ruling is liable to have a marked impact on the video game market as publishers regularly announce games without a date they are expected to ship with retailers often opening pre-orders at the same time.
These pre-orders offer the publishers and game developers alike a snapshot view of customer interest and can help shape their overall take to market strategy. With the use of the “coming soon” now essentially outlawed in Germany, will any other jurisdictions follow suit? We’ll be sure to follow up on this story if there’s any further developments.