Pre-order boxes are produced in quantity a few months before release and then shipped out to the stores with a good chunk of them set aside for the online pre-orders. If everything is on track, you can start mass producing the non-gold master materials like the box, instruction booklet, and insert(s) as well. Yeah, this occasionally means your game ships with outdated information, feature claims, etc.
As for the game itself, it really varies from title to title. At the low end, the title is shipped next-day, it gets stocked in the early morning, and the game is on the shelves the day after the "official" ship day.
For larger titles, everything gets finalized, production is started, and the title is shipped in bulk to all the warehouses and stores quite some time in advance. This is especially common when the title is eagerly anticipated, a specific date is given by the publisher in all its marketing, and if a title is said to be available for pickup at 00:00 that day.
Just like any other book/CD/game/whatever, how do they manage to have a title ready at 00:00 that day? Clearly, UPS/FedEx/Crappy
DHL did not make nation-wide deliveries to every single store at 23:00 midnight. The given item had been in-store for quite some time...
I order DVDs online all the time; it is usually cheaper than ordering locally and I can get the title early. DVDs "officially" come out in stores (normally) on Tuesday, yet I had titles that do not "officially" come out until this coming Tuesday....that shipped out this past Wednesday.
This does lead to abuses as well. Every Toys R Us game/toy employee is total, outright bastard.
Ever wonder why you cannot find a certain item? Yet, you can go to a convention and find some chump with boxes of them? Tha answer "Oh, I work at company X." Any manager of a gaming store can talk to you about playing big games early.
It is all about setting marketing dates for the PR gods and trying to hide the behind-the-scenes action from the
customer; you just want them to come in when you tell them to, only when you are ready and good to go.
I thought the big rumor was that nViDiA was going to try and get the Doom 3
bundle, but who knows? Unless ATI has the game in the box, it all seems a bit moot. Besides the 6800 series being significantly faster, ATI's titles have a "Within four to six weeks" timeframe.
Just hoping EB/GS will "break" the release date a few days...,
Friends do not let EVIL
piglets play Doom 3
!http://users.ign.com/collection/RayMardenhttp://www.dvdaficionado.com/dvds.html?cat=1&id=ray_mardenI love you, mom.
Everything is awesome!!!http://www.kindafunny.com/I love you, mom.