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Germany bans vague pre-order release dates

Retailers no longer to pre-sell games that are “coming soon”, courts have ruled

A new ruling in Germany will significantly affect the way pre-orders are handled in the country.

The Higher Regional Court of Munich has banned retailers from offering pre-orders for products without a solid release date, according to German news site Heise (confirmed by the Eurogamer.de team).

The ruling follows a consumer protection claim against leading German electronics chain Media Markt over pre-orders for a smartphone, but now applies to all products - including video games.

This means store must be able to offer customers a latest date by which their purchase will arrive. They are no longer allowed to pre-sell products with a "coming soon" or "available soon" placeholder.

Düsseldorf Consumer CEO Wolfgang Schuldzinski said: "When consumers order goods on the internet, providers must specify by when the goods are delivered."

This will have a noticeable impact on video games as publishers regularly announce new titles without a concrete release date and retailers begin offering pre-orders almost immediately. Germany is a sizeable European market, and therefore likely a good indicator of demand for publishers when targeting the region.

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