Germany Has Banned Pre-orders for Games With No Release Dates

Germany has officially banned all pre-orders for games with “vague” or no release dates at all. This means that if a game hasn’t been given a confirmed, set day for release, it will not be allowed to sell copies until it does. For example, a game with a “coming soon” date will not be allowed to be sold until a confirmed date is given.

This ruling in Germany comes not because of video games, but a recent ruling against a specific German retailer. A consumer protection claim was made against retailer Media Markt in August 2016 over a pre-order offer for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Android smartphone. Though the initial claim had nothing to do with games, that isn’t the case any longer.

Metroid 4

The ruling in the case has now resulted in Germany not only banning pre-orders for vague release dates of smartphones but video games and everything else as well. This affects a wide assortment of games like Final Fantasy 7 Remake that currently has no release date (or even release window for that matter).

While you could also pre-order Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch here in the United States right now through Amazon, you won’t be able to do that anymore in Germany unless a specific release date is given. No word was given on what will happen to open pre-orders for games like those that were placed before the ruling.

Dusseldorf Consumer CEO Wolfgang Schuldzinski had this to say on the matter:

“When consumers order goods on the internet, providers must specify by when the goods are delivered.”

It seems that the Germany ruling on pre-orders is meant to provide some sort of protection for consumers. For instance, those who pre-order a game like Final Fantasy 7 Remake with no release date could wait potentially years and years before seeing the product in their hands.