Monday Musings: Seduced By The Swag

Special editions are all the rage now. You can't swing a Wiimote in a games store these days without knocking over some over-sized box crammed with toys, books, posters, and all kinds of novelty trinkets.

There's the Modern Warfare Prestige Edition, sporting night vision goggles and individually numbered custom stand.

There's the Splinter Cell: Conviction Collectors Edition, packed in with a comic book, making of DVD, bonus in-game content and a free download of Xbox Original Chaos Theory.

There's the Halo 3: ODST Controller Bundle, giving you the game and a custom ODST control pad.

The Assassin's Creed Black Edition brings an Ezio figurine, soundtrack, bonus in-game content and behind-the-scenes DVD and book.

Tekken 6 comes with a Hori arcade stick, art book or a hooded sweatshirt.

Dragon Age not only has loads of bonus in-game content, but also includes a cloth map. Yes, a freakin' cloth map.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy stuffs in an art, soundtrack, game guide and lithograph art prints.

The collectors edition of Aion: The Tower of Eternity includes a soundtrack, figurine, posters and a bunch of bonus in-game content.

And that's just a small selection of limited editions revealed in the past few weeks. There are more - countless more. In fact, there are probably fewer games not receiving some sort of special limited collectors edition this year than are.

While all the bundles described above share similar content, there is one thing they're all guaranteed to have: a higher price tag.

Publishers like limited editions because it allows them to sell their games at a higher price. And bringing out a cool or unusual bundle like Activision has done with Modern Warfare 2 attracts attention and perpetuates more hype.

Retailers like limited editions because it allows them to sell games at a higher profit margin. They also like exclusive bundles, too, because it offers them a competitive advantage over rival stores.

Retailers like how a limited edition lends more perceived value to their packaged goods when compared to what a customer can get from a digital distribution service. Last I checked you can't download night vision goggles.

There's an irony here. If there's one thing gamers love to complain about, it's that games are too expensive. Yet, to judge by the enthusiasm with which each new limited edition is received on this site, gamers are in fact quite happy paying more than they already do for their games.

Gamers, it seems, don't think games are too expensive when their money buys them some extra swag that isn't actually part of the game.

Do you buy limited editions? Why? And have you ever regretted the purchase?


    One that sticks in my mind is when I went to the Halo 2 midnight launch at EB years ago. They had a special offer for a 'limited' Halo controller for some special price. I'm glad I got it even though it's useless to me now.

    Another, GTA IV special edition on PS3, also at midnight launch, only cause I foolishly thought they'd all sell out and be nuts-hard to find. I regret paying top dollar, though I love the art book that came with it. Kinda bitter sweet, then.

    As for Modern Warfare 2, realistically, I'd be mad to get the goggles edition. I'm a 27 year-old-male who will never, ever, be able to justify buying them. They'll be cool to play with for a day at the most, before they're carefully packaged up and left to collect dust in my cupboard, along with that Halo controller. I would however, seriously consider the Tekken 6 Hori fighting stick pack. You can keep your hoody though.

    CoD: WaW's Limited Edition was an insult to limited editions past and present.

    and scribblenauts comes with a ROOSTER HAT! :D

    I do buy them if it offers something I think is cool. I'm a bit of a sucker for these things. Haven't regretted one yet.

    Half Life 2. That one was screwed up imo. I was seduced by the idea that it included 'The original Half Life powered by the Source engine!' and thought it was gonna be HL1 with HL2 graphics. Turns out all I got was the ability to play with dead bodies (HL2 physics). And a free t-shirt. =/

    Arkham Asylum, on the other hand, I am looking forward to. One word - Batarang.

    Collectors Editions I bought:
    WoW (But I quit before the expansions hit - thank god)
    GW: Factions, Nightfall
    Assassin's Creed
    Halo 3 (The middle one, not the helmet one)
    Gears 1+2
    Forza 3
    World in Conflict
    Warhammer Online
    Farcry 2
    Fable 2 (hardly anything in this for AU :( )
    Dawn of War II
    Thats all I can think off for now but I *know* there's more.. before I get depressed thinking about how much money i've spent on games in my nerdy life, I'm going to stop. But yeah.. I like my Collectors Editions. if its only a $10-20 difference then I spring it without thinking. If its a huge gap like teh GTA/WC3/Warhamemr bundles then I think about it and base it on the stuff thats included in there. I actually use the GTA lockbox to store stuff in!

    No massive regrets so far thankfully - although I wish the Fable II CE was actually more than 3 ingame things that I can't even remember.

      Oh right.. SF4 is in there too.. thanks Rich Woodall

    Not that this is an answer to the question posed, but can anyone tell me what the first collector's edition game was, or what their earliest memory of one is? By the sounds of it it's the norm now to offer a collector's edition of a game (or at least for many of the big budget games); when did that start?

    I remember Killer Instinct SNES packing in a soundtrack, but that was included with every game, so I guess that wouldn't be called a collector's edition. And I guess many of the maps included with older games don't count too (I remember Metal Gear NES came with a walkthrough).


      I don't know if it was the first limited edition, but the earliest I can think of was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64. The limited editions had a gold cartridge instead of the usual grey.

    Far cry 2 was the most over the top, the special edition from EB games gave you a special case, making of dvd, map, t-shirt, Far cry 2 bag and far cry 2 water bottle

    As a game retailer, I question the claim that retailers like limited editions because they can sell them at a higher margin - unless there is some great discrepancy between NZ/AU this is simply not true. I like limited editions because they are a great way to get people to commit to a pre order (pre orders having obvious benefits when it comes to gaguing stock levels etc)
    As for myself I have bought quite a few limited/special editions - the first being Metal Gear Solid (t-shirt, dog tags, soundtrack, poster, stickers). The only one I regret in any way is the ludicrously overpriced (NZ$200)SFIV collectors edition with poorly sculpted figurines that look like they were painted by a babboon on an acid trip.

    The only special editions I've got are Gears 2 and Guild Wars: Nightfall.

    I am getting the ODST one though, as I need a new controller and I quite like the look of this one.

    The best CE I never regret is WoW, and WoW Burning Crusade (I even have 2), and WAR. WoW BC and WAR are even still in their shrinkwrap.

    Often no matter how much I've anticipated a game, I don't pay a premium to get the game and superfluous plastic extras. Only after getting into the game do I realise I DO want the art book, the duffel bag, the soundtrack.. often bought on eBay and cheaper than if I bought the special edition in store.
    In the case of GTAIV though, my swag thirst could not be quenched I needed the stickers, the promotional posters, the novelty statue of happiness figurine, the real beer filled bottle of fictional Pisswasser beer - all of which cost far more than the game itself, but were all in an effort to be closer to the game world.
    Often all I really want is a quality art book (Dead Space quality or the brilliance of the Okami Complete Works) and making of DVD as I find game development fascinating - the Gears of War 1 documentary was brilliant and worthy of more than one viewing. Luckily these things can be found via the net or youtube negating the need to purchase a so called special edition, which came in handy for Fallout 3. When I couldn't get into the game, checking out the making of DVD really showed the depth of the game, it's detailed production and motive's of the designers.

    If Bethesda brings out a Fallout 3 special edition then I will be all over that like Basmati on rice.

      they did:

    I've been cutting back on LEs after I began to realise that the 'value-adding' extras actually are usually worthless.

    'Artbook' means DVD case-sized pamphlet. 'Soundtrack' means 4-6 tracks from the real soundtrack. Bundled in figures etc are usually fairly terrible (I ended up binning my Bioshock one, what a waste of money that thing was).

    If you want to see how a collector's edition can be done right, The Witcher had a fantastic one. Glossy 100+-page magazine-style artbook with all sorts of interesting info, making-of DVD and full soundtrack.

    Nowadays I look very carefully at the stuff that's getting bundled in before I decide to buy. Generally it seems like the more mainstream a game is, the more crappy the LE / CE is. I find myself almost always picking up the preorder-only LEs for niche JRPGs and the like, but I doubt that I'd bother with, say, the COD pack with the toy night vision goggles.

      Dude I sold my Big Daddy figure for 50 bucks on eBay. I paid $99 bucks for it at JB Hifi on the day of release meaning I paid $49 for the game!!!

      I understand your point though. I have bought the following CE:

      Bioshock (Awesome)
      Street Fighter IV (Not so much)
      Gears of War 2 (photo of Dom and Mario - ughh, most insincere plot twist ever. You're ugly now so I have to kill you)
      Devil May Cry 4 (biggest rip-off of all)
      Halo 3 (Not legendary, just CE... waste)
      Lost Planet (again, metal case and a map that was free within a week)

      Games I wish had CEs:
      Mirror's Edge
      Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction
      Killzone 2 - Stupid metal case doesn't count

    Fallout 3 was easily the best SE i bought. The bobble head proudly sits on my dashboard, and i use the lunchbox to keep my Uni supplies in (pens and small notebooks)

    Next up is House of the Dead: Overkill. The hand cannons are EASILY the best, and coolest, gun shell for the wiimote.

    I also quite liked the SFIV collectors edition, the toys were great and the extra anime DVD was a bonus

    HOWEVER: I have regretted the purchase of a few special editions:
    -Unreal Tournament III: A half-hearted art-book and some even more half-hearted 'making of' DVD's

    -Red Alert 3: The blooper reel ALMOST makes up for the fact that half of the extras were really bad. I mean, an item in warhammer online (which i don't play), a couple of downloadble maps and a 'beta key for a NEW cnc'? Come on

    ive bought a fair few ce's, le's etc. over the years and cant really say that ive regretted any at all. normally i will just pick them up a bit after launch if there is anything left and pay around the same as what the game would cost on its own. i picked up the SFIV CE on the day without a pre-order but lucky me also got the regular game thrown in on top :). no i didnt return it (i didnt make the mistake, they did). i left the CE sealed and played the original game instead. I have ordered the MW2 PE though. that is something i dont wanna miss out on.

    World in Conflict Special Edition. It was cool it came with a piece of the berlin wall but it wasn't worth the price tag looking back...

    On a side note I'v got my Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition pre-ordered at EB... :P

    I love CE's but often they are hard to get at reasonable price or even impossible to get outside America (The Mines of Moria expansion CE,which I bough for $150 being an example of both). It's laos as mentioned above, a catch 22, you only want the CE once you have played the game (I would now kill for a Witcher art book). and probably now I regret buying the spore galactic edition. Pre-order bonuses are great becuase usually they don't cost more and shops can entice customers with them as a reward for shopping at that particular store I just wish that they would stop making CE's exclusive becuase then retailers can't be competitive with pricing, also it's not just the quality of the items but their rarity that gives them value.

    The gamers who complain about prices are teenagers without jobs who cant talk their broke parent/s into buying stuff,
    as a working adult i have no problem buying all the limited edition and collectible gear worth getting,
    from my perspective buying bundles SAVES me money rather than importing art books, soundtracks and figurines seperately,
    movie stuff is way worse any way, i paid 400 for the vengeance trilogy box set and all that came with that was a limited edition box, which was from a scene in the movie, a hammer and some postcards and i have 3 "limited edition" copies of Advent Children now lol

    The ones mentioned above are actually limited editions that sound GOOD & decent. Not too sure on that cloth map, lol.

    But loads of in game content, NVG, controllers, figurines.

    At least it aint JUST a DVD, the game & a poster. Artwork is cool, but sometimes i think its just cheap. I mean, cost next to nothing to whack in. And they could just ask a designer to sketch some rough drafts and paste it into a book.

    I got Halo 3, love it. Just wish the helmet was wearable. I really wanna get MW2 Prestige, but its all about money atm. I got the Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Special Edition and it only came with an extra DVD and artwork, lol, but i really digged Ubisofts DVD. They made it right, as with the Halo 3 DVD also.

    I'll probably get the Conviction special edition, mainly because i loved the Vegas 2 one and also because Conviction HAS changed during its development. Not just a change that all games go through without being noticed, basically, DIFFERENT to what was shown at E3 2006 (or 07) for a game that was expected to be released later that year. So i hope they include loads of footage from previous to what it is now.

    Got the GTA but returned it a few days later. Wasn't worth the price to me. Besides some of things were dodgy as, but i burnt the Soundtrack! =)

    The only reason WHY i would get the Assassins is for the extra content. THAT is the only reason people would i say, that sucks cause it really suck you into buying it. And i'll probably get it anyway, cause i hate to miss out on some quests which will probably be less-decent than others anyway.

    Only Spec Eds I got were GTA4 and Resident Evil 5. Only thing I regret was getting the Shiva figurine that looks like s*** compared to the ones in Hong Kong.


    I've bought a few special/limited/collector's editions over the years. That I can remember:

    Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [N64]
    Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask [N64]
    Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker [NGC]
    Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition [NGC]
    The Conduit [Wii]
    Halo 2 [Xbox]
    Two Worlds [X360]
    GTA IV [PS3]
    Dragonshard [PC]
    Football Manager 2006 [PC]
    Oblivion [PC]
    Fallout 3 [PC]

    And I've pre-ordered Assassin's Creed II: White Edition, Halo 3: ODST Controller bundle, and Batman: Arkham Asylum, all for the 360.

    Plus plenty of 'pre-order bonus' deals that weren't actually SE/LE/CE. And, if they count, the Collector's Edition walkthrough/guides for Twilight Princess and Phantom Hourglass.

    And I don't regret any of them. It's pretty simple, really. You look at what bonuses you get, you see how much extra you have to pay, and you decide if you feel the content is worth the price. If not, you just don't buy it.

    I strongly disagree with the current trend of exclusive in-game content for special editions, though. Unless it all eventually appears as DLC, in which case I've got no problem with it.

    Regretted all collectors edition and ended up returning them. I have all standard editions and i prefer it that way. Sometimes there is exclusive dlc but its generally with pre-orders and so far i personally haven't come across anything that's made it worth wile.

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