Bic Camera, one of the two larger electronics store chains, announced just minutes ago in an email newsletter to point-card-holders that preorders for Dragon Quest IX are officially open. That's not all they announced, however.
Hah! Made you click! That really is all they announced.
Now that you're here, though, let's talk about What This Means in the Grand Scheme of Things.
First of all, today is literally three months and four days before the release of Dragon Quest IX. It is also Christmas Eve. Bic Camera usually begins accepting reservations for games two months before their release. The early preorder mania on display here could mean that they are eager to gauge the public's frothing demand for this game, or that they are simply facilitating Christmas shopping: nothing says "I love you" like a Bic Camera receipt that can be cashed in in three months' time for a cold, hard copy of Dragon Quest IX.
Actually, that's not a bad idea. Wow, I just gave myself an idea, right there. There is one person in the world I would love to play Dragon Quest IX with, though I'm certain said person would not actually purchase Dragon Quest IX. Hmmm.
Moving along, this announcement contains two little curiosities. First of all, that the official Bic Camera listing page for Dragon Quest IX does not contain any box art, meaning that it's highly and frighteningly possible that the delicious apple-featuring promotional image used in the postcard that I appended to my recent Dragon Quest IX play impressions might not be the box art. Devoted Readers out there in Kotakuland — keep your internet petitions steady. The day may soon come when we have to launch the "Save The Fruit" campaign.
The second curiosity is what the Bic Camera newsletter calls the Dragon Quest series: "1986年の発売以来、家庭用RPGを代表する作品「ドラゴンクエスト」のシリーズ". I could translate that all formal-like, though I'm afraid my fee as a freelance translator would exceed the Kotaku per-post guest-contributor rate, so let's leave it to Excite Japan Translation:
"Series of work "Dragon quest" that represents domestic RPG after sale in 1986".
In other words — Dragon Quest originally went on sale in 1986, and it is the RPG series that "represents domestic RPGs". And "domestic" doesn't mean "from our country" — it means "for use in the home, to be enjoyed with family members".
Here's hoping that the Bic Camera newsletter announcing the opening of reservations for Final Fantasy XIII calls Final Fantasy "the representative series of RPGs to be played locked in your room while your mom screams 'dinnertime'".
Oho! I believe we call that a "burn"!
Now for a little editorial extrapolation:
Bic Camera's announcement of opening up preorders could mean that they want people to preorder the game at Bic Camera, instead of, say, Yodobashi Camera. The only thing anyone knows for certain about Dragon Quest IX at this very moment is that, recession or no, Dragon Quest will sell at least five million copies in its first three months. Whether or not it goes on to become a cultural phenomenon and sell five million more copies is anyone's guess. Bic Camera are merely trying to get as many of those five million copies accounted for as possible.
In closing, though Square-Enix's recommended retail price is 5,980 yen (nearly $70 at the day's fiercely rollercoastering exchange rate) Bic lists the price as 5,380 yen, with a chance to earn 10% Bic Camera "points" — good for 538 yen off of any further purchase, the drawback being that you can't earn points on a purchase where you use points, meaning that points are ultimately worth about as much as nothing plus nothing.
See you next time on Official Kotaku.com Dragon Quest IX Newswatch (hopefully in a couple of hours or so)!
[via Bic Camera]