Fans often see the collector's edition of their favorite game series as the Holy Grail. If you like a game series, you'll buy it on launch day, but if you're a real fan, you'll spring for the collector's edition. Game store employees will even give you the high-pressure sales pitch to "upgrade." But are these special versions really worth your time and money? Not really. And here are five reasons why.
Exclusive DLC is Generally Lame
DLC that is worth anything is sold in bundles post-launch. Sure, having day-one DLC sounds cool, but what are you really getting? An exclusive gun, character, or skin? Is that really worth your hard-earned money? Usually not. Plus, some of the DLC actually marks you in the game for failure. Do you remember the flaming skulls in Halo or the golden lancer in Gears of War 2? Yeah, these items basically marked you for instant death in multiplayer matches. And the people who bought the collector's edition paid for that luxury.
Collector's Items Aren't Worth the money
One of the biggest ploys that collector's editions use to take your money is including fun little toy-like items that are sold to you as "collectibles." So what are these items? Well generally, they are action figures. You know, the kind you can buy for $9.99 on eBay. Occasionally, they're something a little bit more interesting, like an RC car or a Batarang. And while these things are kind of neat, would you be willing to pay an additional $50-90 for these items? That's what most collector's items want you to pay for these logoed versions of Toys "R" Us' best clearance merchandise.
Overpriced Digital Extras
In addition to physical extras and DLC, a lot of times collector's versions of games will include some extraneous bonuses that you can redeem via your computer. Mp3 soundtracks, ringtones, and digital comics are all things that look great on the back of the oversized collector's edition box, but when it comes to practicality, these items are worth close to nothing. Besides the fact that much of these items are available in some form for free on the Internet, these extras don't cost very much to make. Uploading some comic pages and music files to a server costs barely anything for the developer/publisher, but you as the consumer get to pay for it as if you were getting physical merchandise, instead of just codes on a paper insert.
Look, I know the value of making something visually appealing; I'm not going to try to say presentation isn't important. But putting something in a stupid box and telling you it is a "collector's box" is just not cool. A famous example of a lame box is the steel case that was sold with the Halo 3 collector's edition. This box was so horrible that it broke half the disks inside it. You would think this would be the death of the steelbook, but unfortunately, this silly box, along with the oversized cardboard box and the paper slipcover, is a common sight in collector's edition boxes. And all these boxes are just ridiculous.
What Are You Really Paying For?
When you are buying a collector's edition of a game, you need to think about what is really in the box, and what you are paying for it. A $100 collector's edition of a game that comes with an exclusive in-game weapon, dashboard theme, action figure, collector's case and soundtrack may sound like a deal, but what are you really getting for your money? $60 pays for the game, but then you've got $40 going toward a box, three pieces of paper with codes on them, and a piece of plastic. It doesn't sound quite as good when you look at it that way, does it? Unfortunately, overcharging fans is what the collector's edition game is all about.
Collector's Editions used to be something special. They only came out every once in a great while, and actually included worthwhile goodies. However, in the age of digital content and mass-production, the value of collector's editions has gone down significantly. Are there exceptions to this rule? Sure. But you should limit yourself to only getting the collector's editions that are actually worth your money.
By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*