Extravagant Collector’s Editions Are Overwhelming Video Game Collectors

Extravagant Collector’s Editions Are Overwhelming Video Game Collectors

If you thought spending $US149.99 for a massive collector’s edition is too much, what about folks like commenter Gemini-Phoenix, who feel compelled to purchase every limited collector’s edition that comes out. Let’s hear his desperate please to publishers in today’s Speak Up on Kotaku.

In the world of collector’s edition (CE) video game collecting, we have either enjoyed (or been plagued by, depending on how you perceive it) an increase of CE’s being offered by video game publishers over the last few years. However, many collectors now feel somewhat overwhelmed physically, as well as financially, by the sheer quantity of CE’s being released these days

We can’t deny that 2008-2011 have had some amazing Collector’s Editions on offer, although a lot of collectors do feel that most of them are unnecessary and nothing more than a cash-in on a trend which is starting to get out of control! Considering the world is currently supposed to be in economic recession, many feel that releasing an insanely expensive CE for every other major video game release is incredibly insensitive. Most collectors also feel as if their hobby is being taken advantage of by publishers these days, and very few publishers actually listen to what the fans and collectors actually request

It’s not just about the financial pressures either. Storage space plays an important role for any collector, and there has been an increase of CE’s lately which are seriously large and bulky, and difficult to store or display. Also, they are very difficult for retailers to ship, and many collectors regularly receive such things in less-than-perfect condition – I have personally received several large CE’s which have all had the corners bashed in where they have obviously been dropped because of their size and weight!

Some recent examples of larger CE’s include:

Call Of Duty: Black Ops (Prestige Edition)

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Prestige Edition)

Crysis 2 (Nano Edition)

Gears Of War 3 (Epic Edition)

Halo 3 (Legendary Edition)

Halo Reach (Legendary Edition)

Killzone 3 (Helghast Edition)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (CE)

Uncharted 3 (Explorer Edition)

And to a lesser extent:

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Codex Edition)

Bioshock 2 (CE)

Dead Island (Treasure Edition)

God Of War Trilogy (Pandora’s Box)


Mortal Kombat (CE)

Do these publishers think us collectors live in a TARDIS or something?

Whilst we appreciate that the publishers are giving the fans and collectors something special, we feel that it’s getting a little too much for even the most hardened collector to keep up with, especially towards the end of each year when every publisher seems to want to release their triple-A titles before the holiday season

To use this year (2011) as an example, November sees the release of some of the biggest titles of the year, which all seem to have an expensive and bulky CE available. The month starts off with titles such as Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, and Skyrim, and finishes with several major releases from Nintendo. Needless to say, it’s an expensive time of the year as it is already due to the approaching seasonal holiday, without factoring in being a CE collector!

It wouldn’t be so bad if these Collector’s Editions were smaller and less expensive. I remember a time when a newly released game would retail at around £35 with a Limited or Collector’s Edition retailing at around £50. This was fine until some publishers decided to start releasing more elaborate editions and charging upwards of £80 for them. There was also a time when it was unheard of for a Collector’s Edition to retail at above this price, but nowadays it seems acceptable to have an over-the-top CE priced at over £99.99!

The annoying thing about these is, we’re tricked into thinking these are somewhat limited in number so that we pre-order before release, but within two or three weeks of release the unsold stock is reduced by half and sold off in the store sales! However, if we wait until after release for this to happen, Murphy’s Law dictates that they will sell out on pre-orders, so we can’t win either way! Either we pay a premium to secure ourselves a sought after CE, or we take the risk and wait until the retailers inevitably reduce the price and hope that they don’t sell out before release…

As if that itself wasn’t bad enough, some publishers feel the need to release more than one edition for a title. It is now commonplace to have two, three, or more editions available for one game, whether they be different tiered editions or store exclusives. Some recent titles which spring to mind are Fallout 3, the Assassin’s Creed games, and the recently released Batman: Arkham City. Is there really any need for so many editions on the market at any given time?

In addition to this, many publishers have now adopted the tactic of releasing “Day One” Limited Editions – Limited copies of the game which may feature some DLC bonus for buying the game on release day rather than waiting until the price is reduced or buying it used. EA and THQ are the main culprits here, and it has gotten to the point where nearly every single game EA released in 2011 has had some form of “Day One” edition – Even FIFA!

Therefore, I would like to say on the behalf of all collectors: THE BUCK STOPS HERE!

It’s nice to have a choice and all, but too much choice can be a bad thing. By all means release a Collector’s Edition, but please keep it sensible and within a realistic budget for us collectors. Also, keep it a sensible size so we can store / display it properly on our shelves, rather than having to relegate it to the attic / basement / garden shed! Most people I know who originally bought the Crysis 2 Nano Edition have long since sold it due to the fact that they simply can’t store something of that size!

I am so far looking forward to seeing what CE’s 2012 brings, but part of me is also dreading it. If this year is anything to go by, I think I may end up going bankrupt before 2012 is out! The majority of my video game budget has gone mainly on CE’s this year, leaving me very little spare to purchase “normal” games.

I’ll finish with just a little something for publishers to think about for future reference – If I’m spending £130 on your overly excessive CE, that’s effectively two other subsequent titles of yours I can’t afford to buy. If you’re wondering why sales of ABC and XYZ games are low, it’s because I’ve already spent my monthly budget buying an elaborate CE for my collection…

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That’s why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That’s the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we’ll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.


  • No! I need more statues to clutter up my shelf and desk!

    My approach to collector’s editions are only for games that I’m a huge fan of. Gears 3, Uncharted 3, Ac:Revelations; I’ve ordered the CE for these because I’m a big fan and would like the extra stuff. It’s generally these games I’ll also buy locally, games that I have to have day one. Games that I’m meh or I can live with waiting a a couple of weeks, I’ll just order the vanilla edition from ozgameshop.

    Another thing with CE is that they should be stacked. Collector’s edition should contain everything the special edition has. It’s annoying to fork out so much for the collector’s edition and not quite own everything associated with that; the reason I’m buying a CE is because I’m a fan and would like to get my hands on ALL the special stuff, not just part of it. For example, there’s the Skyrim CE with the dragon, but there are other editions, with the novel and the diary etc. available. If I’m going to fork out for the dragon edition at $200, I think it would be nice to also get the novel and diary and stuff as well.

    /my two cents

  • Don’t forget Star Wars: The Old Republic Collector’s Edition and Batman Arkham City in the lesser extent category.

  • IMO Blizzard do some neat collector’s editions. Ususally a soundtrack, an artbook and a neat collectible that isn’t super huge (WoW mousepads, SCII Dog-tag USB)

    • Pretty much this. The Blizzard Collectors Edition art books wind up on my coffee table and have become talking points to visitors. Sure I can do without the mouse pads etc, but I think it’s a lot more tasteful than huge statues in everything.

  • The sea of insane collector’s editions only make them all less valuable. There was a time when a collector’s edition was truly special, and I own a few I’m proud of, but I just can’t get myself to care anymore.

    This is a game we cannot win, with every publisher trying to outdo the other.

  • I never used to buy collector editions and I always regretted it, I made the choice to always buy CE (for my favourite games) after missing out on the night vision goggles from mw2. Though, the only games/CE’s coming up that I’m buying are Uncharted 3 and Mass Effect 3, for the rest I will just be buying normal editions or special editions.

    • You didn’t miss out on much with those NVGs. They actually work, but they’re just a toy. Hell I feel embarrassed that I forked out over $200 just to get a toy with my game.

  • I think being the sort of collector that buys ‘every single one’ of anything, you’re likely going to run into the problem of space. CE’s for me are reserved for the games I’m really excited about, or have something particularly awesome inside.

    Most of them are more like a happy meal for grown ups – you look at what’s coming in the box, and you’re super excited. You get it out, and it’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen. But after a short while, you realise that statue you got really isn’t that exciting, or that novelty item is exactly just that – a novelty.

  • I dislike that some of the games come with one cool item in the CE edition that makes you want to buy it and a bunch of other stuff you don’t care so much about.

    With skyrim it was the cloth map and dragon statuette that did it for me. I’d be happy if more gaming companies did regular and steel book editions (the steel book edition containing extra DLC) and having a $10 difference. I would gladly pay that, these collectors editions are getting way too large nowadays.

  • I bought the Bioshock 2 collector’s edition, after it came down in price. The posters from it are hanging on my office wall

    Only other CE I have is the InFamous 2 one with Cole’s awesome bag

  • not to mention Total war: Shogun 2 Grand Master Edition, that thing is freakin huge!!! i also have all three wow expansions as CE tho i dont play it anymore, Warhammer online CE, Space Marine CE among other less bulky versions

  • I thought the shark-jumping moment was when they had that one with the nightvision goggles. So ridiculous.

    But yeah, I’m getting sick of the whole collector’s edition bandwagon. Like you said, there was a time when it was special but now everyone’s doing it and who cares any more. That said, I’m planning on getting the Zelda special edition (since that one actually has functionality and stuff), but the last one I got probably would have been the HotD Overkill Bang Bang Box. That was awesome.

    • The Night Vision Goggles were the first time I went “what the hell” and then they went ahead with the RC car with Black Ops and I just laughed it off. Collectors Editions are becoming ridiculous. Thankfully there’s no such thing with MW3.

  • The only CE I have (ever) ordered is Mass Effect 3. Not even getting the map with Skyrim. Most of it is a price argument, but I also just don’t have the room for all the extra gizmos. In the end it is a personal choice, even if you are a “CE Collector” you have to draw a line as to whether or not you really want a particular game’s CE. No different to any other collection

  • Stop buying the collectors editions, and as demand dries up so will supply 🙂
    It’s a little naive to pump a company full of extra profit and then ask them to please stop doing it…

  • Sounds like serious OCD. If you’re buying something that you dont really want, than you are wasting your money (break the habit – I did, and its liberating). It doesnt make you any less of a fan of a game because you didn’t buy the collectors edition! Most Collectors Editions are not actually “collectable” anyways. On another note, I pre-ordered Skyrim C.E. from EB a full year before release and didnt get allocated a copy! If thats how publishers/retailers want to play it, I’ll keep my money!

    • Never pre-order CE’s from EB and expect they’ll honour it, even a full year ahead of release. I remember my local EB tried to do that to a friend when WoW Burning Crusade was coming out – his order was paid and confirmed roughly 6 months prior to release. A day before it’s midnight release, they called him to say they hadn’t got enough stock and he was going to miss out – he told them ‘No’, in no uncertain terms.

      He ended up getting one at the midnight launch, which I was attending (only for a standard copy, mind) but at 5 minutes to 12 on the night, the guy who ran one of our local LAN centres arrives, walks to the head of the queue, straight in, and walked out with about 5 BC Collector’s Editions.

      We later found out from a guy who was a regular customer of his he was supposed to be getting more, which I’m guessing was why they rang my friend to try and tell him he wasn’t getting one.

      I mean I’m all for looking after staff and close friends, but this guy was angling to get up to ten BC CE’s, and EB was gonna do it, even if it meant shafting people who’d ordered and paid half a year in advance.

  • You’re missing something from the title of the article “FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS” You are effectively flushing money down the toilet, then complaining about it and how the toilet should accept less money.

    Here is a revolutionary idea. If the CE of a game is too big, if the game is too hard or will take too much time… DON’T BUY IT! I have been doing this for almost the entire year, and I’ve saved over a thousand dollars so far by only buying the games that I want and will play. I know that to some people this is an insane concept, some of my friends are struggling to understand me when they ask me for my thoughts on Arkham City and I reply with “I didn’t buy it” but this extra money has afforded the the chance to do OTHER stuff, mainly socialise with other human beings and travel.

    The only negative part of my new life? I usually don’t get trophies for spending dozens of hours completing menial tasks.

  • My biggest issue with collectors editions is when you are required to purchase them over a standard edition of the game in order to get what amounts to the full game. When it comes to in-game content, stuff like multiplayer skins or cosmetic additions don’t really phase me (and a developer actually scores points with me if these become available down the line as cheap DLC options), or even timed exclusive content (in-game playable content that isn’t part of the game as standard and that comes with a collectors edition, but is made available to others later on in either free or paid DLC, like the Robin DLC for Arkham City, or the DLC tombs in Assassin’s Creed 2). But when you have Day 1 DLC that is exclusive to a collectors edition and should technically just be part of the game, that just does a disservice to your customers.

    That being said, some collectors editions have gotten it right. Duke Nukem Forever (despite being a terrible game) had additional physical Duke-flavoured paraphernalia and didn’t give any additional in-game content that other players didn’t have access to, and the Sonic Generations collectors edition came with a mini-game version of Casino Night which doesn’t really take away from the main game, some avatar skins, and some nice physical content (like the documentary, anniversary soundtrack and the gorgeous statue). That way, you reward the fans who fork out for the collectors edition with collectables and additional content without punishing people who just want the game by giving them a butchered version of the game they purchased fair and square.

  • I would really like to get some Collector’s Editions.
    But, one I don’t have a XBOX 360, or a Playstation 3.
    But, some of these can be awesome, and some can be ”Do I really need that?”
    And, there getting pretty dear, as well.

    But, still the Ocarina from TLOZelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D is cool, although t’s just there.

  • I just wish someone would make a CE that included things I ACTUALLY WANT and that are truly worth the premium price they expect to be paid for it.

    A plastic dragon? Why would I want that?

    I got the limited edition of Oblivion when it came out and it came with a replica ‘Gold Septim’ (the coins from the game-world) and I thought that was neat and I still have it. It only cost an extra 10 dollars and also included a pocket guide to the empire guide book type thing. That’s reasonable.

    I’m not going to pay 150 dollars for a DVD and an artbook and a plastic dragon that I have no place/use for.

    I remember the Mirror’s Edge CE came with a full-sized messengery bag styled after Faith’s bag. That was cool. That’s the sort of thing I could see buying at higher cost. Statues? No thanks… 100+ dollars for a statue? Get out of here…

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