So picture this, you walk into your local game store, like normal, and you're looking around, not really looking for anything in particular. You do really wish that that big AAA title was on shelves already, you probably really want to play that one. Well you wrap things up and find something you haven't played yet. You go to ring it up and some person behind the counter finishes things up by asking if you wanted to pre-order something... and you find this outrageous for some reason. Ok, maybe you don't, but perhaps the person in front of you, or behind you would be outraged by this. You hear and see outrage at this simple question all the time, in person, or especially on the internet.
The bottom line is, Pre-Orders are a great idea, just do them. If you really want something, put your name in, put a deposit down, or whatever you need to do to guarantee your copy of whatever game. I don't understand why people have such an issue with simply pre-ordering games. I see it all the time (yes, I personally work behind the counter at a game store), and I don't understand it. It usually isn't a ploy to get more of your money out of your pocket... It's just a ploy to get your money in the first place. The only real benefit for the stores is that it pretty much guarantee's that you will spend your money there, and not elsewhere. That's it.
What's good about pre-ordering things? Well, at most places you're guaranteed a copy of whatever game you pre-order, and usually for just a small deposit. It's especially a good idea if you want a Collectors Edition of whatever is available. I cannot count the amount of times I've had customers come in even 1 month before release hoping to pre-order a collectors edition of something, it's even worse when you come in very very close to launch, or even after expecting to find one. That's just dumb. Really? You expect to walk into a store on a launch day and expect a Limited Edition copy of a game? Just pre-order something early and just guarantee you get that game you want. It's a great idea, why are people so opposed to it? Not only does it greatly benefit you to pre-order a product, but it benefits the developers, the retailers and everyone else. It benefits the retailers and developers by simply letting them know the demand on a certain product. If there is no foreseeable demand on a product, then there is no supply. It all comes down to simple economics.
I personally remember the fall when Dead Island was released. No one pre-ordered the game so stores only received a few quantities... and there were none in production for the entire month. I said "No" to quite a few people just because not enough people had the foresight to put a bit of cash down on it. Pre-orders usually determine the likely hood of a midnight launch, too. Having a store open at midnight costs stores money, they have to pay staff to come in for the extra hours, so they need to make sure it's worth it. So if a game doesn't have a big list of pre-orders then don't expect them to be open at midnight. If you don't have a pre-order on a game then don't call asking if a store is going to be open at midnight. Usually if you pre-order something the store will let you know that they will be open, so just stop worrying and do what you need to do.
What's bad about doing a pre-order? Nothing! You just pay for it ahead of time. The companies do make interest on the money you give them because it sits in a bank account before being "spent." That's really the only significant way a retailer makes money off of a pre-order (unless they charge a fee to do so... at which point, you shouldn't bother unless you have no other options, I know many retailers just ask for a deposit)..
So there's no downside, and all upside. Just do some pre-orders on things you want. If you can think of anything you really, really want, you should probably go out and pre-order it. It doesn't hurt that all retailers now offer bonuses just for putting some money down early, free bonus stuff. Sure, you can usually walk into a store on a launch day and find something, but that's not always true, and it certainly isn't always true about limited edition copies of games, but it really helps out everyone if you do a pre-order. It especially helps you, especially if you're going to spend that money anyways. So just do a freaken pre-order, get it over with, guarantee your game, your bonus content and just shut up about it. It's the way the industry works, get used to it.