Don’t Preorder Video Games

Don’t Preorder Video Games

We’ve got to talk about this Australian Star Wars Outlaws pricing.

If you’ve not seen the grumbling on social media, let me catch you up: after Ubisoft dropped the first story trailer for Star Wars Outlaws last week, it also announced that preorders were open for the game’s August release date. There are currently a total of five different editions available in Australia. They are:

  • Standard Edition
  • Special Edition (EB Exclusive, includes Kessel Runner Bonus Pack, Trailblazer spaceship cosmetic and a speeder cosmetic)
  • Limited Edition (JB Exclusive, but includes exactly the same preorder kit as the EB exclusive above lol)
  • Gold Edition (Includes Season Pass and 3 days head start)
  • Ultimate Edition (Includes Rogue Infiltrator bundle, Sabaac Shark bundle, digital art book, the Season Pass and 3 days head start)

This is too many editions, I think you’ll agree.

Pricing on these many editions currently starts at $109 AUD (though JB and Amazon are undercutting the RRP down to $89, and Mighty Ape’s been prepared to go as low as $79). $109 as an RRP is … well, it’s up there, but it’s also considered the regrettable New Normal for Australian AAA video game releases. The EB and JB “exclusives” are also priced to match their standard edition counterparts (and when comparing the two, the JB one is the obvious pick — it has the exact same bonuses as the EB version, and it’s $20 cheaper).

It’s the Gold and Ultimate Editions where things get silly. For the Gold Edition, which again includes the Season Pass and now-standard 3-day head start on the ‘official’ release date, you’re looking at $169 no matter where you go. The Deluxe Edition goes all the way up to an eyewatering $200, for what amounts to the same kit as the Gold Edition with a couple of extra skin packs.

I’m using a Ubisoft game to spotlight this, and I’m sure they’ll have expected to take a bit of a whack on the pricing. They are, of course, far from the only publisher pulling this kind of stunt. WB Games favours the exact same multi-tier approach with its titles. In it, we see the unsustainable business of AAA games laid bare. In the last 12 months, every major publisher has revived preorder strategies that seek to convert FOMO and impatience into preorder dollars as margins thin, budgets bloat, and demand for ROI only grows. 3-day early marks aren’t even a new strategy! They’ve been doing it for years! This renewed trend of pretending release dates are three days later than they really are has never served anyone but the publishers.

And then, the well-known punchline. All of the content available in these Star Wars Outlaws editions — the Season Pass content, the bonus skins (even the “exclusive” ones) — will be included in an inevitable Game of the Year edition that’ll drop a year after launch. This set will be half the standard edition’s launch price because it always is.

Patience plays win the day (and, in a cost-of-living crisis, save you a buck too).

Of course, if you absolutely MUST have a copy on launch day (I know what you Star Wars fans are like, I get it), you can find our list of cheapest copies here. We’ll be keeping it updated all the way to launch, so smack it in your bookmarks in case we catch someone going lower than Mighty Ape. If we can’t help you resist the lure of the Dark Side, then we can at least help you avoid giving into it for a hundred and ten bucks.

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