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?