How Should You Buy ‘Grand Theft Auto V’?

Senior Contributor
09.16.13 40 Comments


Grand Theft Auto V has seen nearly three million preorders in the United States alone. But not everybody preorders, or some of us have just scraped together the money to pick up the game. So the question becomes… how should you buy it?

We break out the pros and cons of each choice. And, of course, if you’ve got others, let us know.



Since if you buy it in person you will probably be surrounded by screaming children, here’s a GIF of Spongebob stabbing some dude in the face to traumatize them.


  • Preorder bonuses out the wazoo. This being what will likely be the best selling release of the year, everybody’s got a preorder bonus or twelve.
  • You can actually discuss any possible problems with a human being, not an automated phone line.
  • A well-managed store will get you in and out pretty quickly; my local GameStop has actually be very good about filling every preorder and getting you your game in a timely manner.
  • You don’t have to wait for the game.


  • Preorder bonuses are generally junk. GameStop, you get a poster. Whoop-de-doo. To be fair, Best Buy basically hands you a $10 off coupon for anything else in the store, so that’s actually pretty good.
  • A badly-managed store can be an absolute nightmare, as we all know from bitter personal experience.
  • Store policies seem explicitly designed to make you feel like you’re at a methadone clinic. I am obviously over the age of 21, you do not need to see my ID.

Mail Order


Of course, you can get it shipped. This depends, however, on you not wanting to perform the above on your UPS guy.


  • The physical game disc, without having to go to the mall!


  • If you’re not home to get the package, there’s a pretty good chance it’ll be stolen. Literally, there are people who just go door to door swiping copies to sell at GameStop “used”. That’s if the UPS guy will leave it on your porch at all; they may decide you need to come get it from them if your neighborhood is “sketchy” enough, or you have a racist UPS guy.
  • Somehow, Amazon has managed to sell out of the 360 version.




  • No screaming kids, no lines, no shipping errors.
  • Once the game downloads, you’ve got the game, full stop.


  • Apparently Rockstar and console makers couldn’t make the preload work. Downloading a 36 GB file over either network is the stuff nightmares are made of. Plan to start downloading right at midnight and to work a full day, and then come home to have it still not be done.
  • The disc version has only an 8GB install, by the way.
  • The preorder bonuses are exclusively in-game, and thus a bit weak if you like free stuff.

So, how are you buying? Let us know in the comments.

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