Pre-ordering a video game can be a risky business – for every top quality game there’s an Aliens: Colonial Marines (yes, I did pre-order that). But companies want you to – with enough hype, pre-orders can help pay for a game, no matter how rubbish it turns out to be. Equally retailers fall over themselves to be a part of this. Whether you want to pop to your local supermarket on the morning of release of queue outside your local Game at midnight, you can get your hands on a game as soon as it’s officially available.

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To aid this, more and more games now come with “extras”, only available for those who pre-order. Now my tale of woe is about Call of Duty : Advanced Warfare. Officially released yesterday you could get it on Monday if you pre-ordered. Not only did you get the game a day early but you got extras such as a day of double XP.

So, I’d ordered it in advance. I’m not the kind of person to queue outside Game, or pay extra at a supermarket, so I did what I always do – I ordered it from Amazon. That turned out to be a mistake. To explain why, let’s explore how their delivery has changed in recent times.

Not that long ago, Amazon relied heavily (unless you paid extra) on Royal Mail, and games, DVDs, etc, were sent through the normal post. This didn’t give any kind of guarantee but most of the time they arrived on time and the latest you had to wait was for your usual postie round. But wind back to today and Amazon now offer their “next day” Prime service, which is very popular. Moving from other couriers, they’ve created their own (“Amazon Logistics”) to be able to handle this. As a result they’re now able to provide a postal service cheaper than Royal Mail so have become quite reliant on this for their deliveries, whether Prime or not. The only time I’ve recently had a delivery through the standard post is when it was not coming directly from their warehouse.

But, that’s good, yes? A guaranteed courier rather than first class post? As it turns out, no, not really. Certainly not for games. On Monday my game was delivered at 7:30pm. So much for  a day of double XP (I’d been at home all day, but not so that I could play the game, I should add). And it wasn’t a one-off – pretty much all of my Amazon deliveries are late evening. Consequently, a game sent through 1st class post turns up way earlier than via the Amazon courier service.

So, if you want to get a game on day one, risking the chance it’s a dud, don’t buy it from Amazon. Visit your local Game – they could do with the business far more than Amazon does.

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