Why Collector's Editions Are Vital

I’m a sucker for collector’s stuff.

By Daavpuke, Posted 03 Oct 2011

These days, Collector’s Editions pop up left and right for many games on many platforms. You might’ve caught on to the fact I report on a couple of those now and then. Nothing fancy, just a special incentive for players to pick up their favorite game. Now, some might argue that these sorts of collector items come out too often now, which spoils the entire point. I agree on that fact, partially at least. Let’s face it; some games have such outlandish and/or 3 or more variations of ‘collector’ versions, that there’s hardly anything left to collect, if every schmuck holds a special edition. In cases like Zelda: The Wind Waker, there were more instances of the special edition out compared to the regular version without Ocarina of Time. Yes, there was a time where developers didn’t pawn off every old game for a few extra bucks, but that’s beside the point.

NoobFeed Editorial - Why Collector Editions Are Vital
You ruined Zelda with your cartoon graphics, Wind Waker! And all subsequent releases..

I, for instance, remember Dead Rising having some fairly ridiculous collector editions, complete with a poker set and the chance to win more stuff. While the connection of poker and casinos and all fits; it barely fitted as an incentive to me. I’m not talking about pre-order specials either; those are a sucker’s chew toy. I reviewed the ‘Augmented’ Edition of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and quite frankly, the items given weren’t life altering. I used the shotgun twice and there were regular shotguns everywhere. The special mission can be done in 2 minutes or less; not that amazing or any reason to own that instead of a regular version. Yet, this is only part of the entirety of the collector edition craze. You see, if done right, these specials can become vital for a few reasons.

I’m a sucker for collector’s stuff. Apart from owning a museum of old games that will never see the light of day again, I’m still looking out for current editions. I’m not alone in this endeavor. We are gradually shifting the climate, where older generations have been gaming for quite some time and have amassed backlogs that would make teenagers automutilate. I won’t dwell on how many I own, that’s irrelevant. The relevant part is that this backlog puts a strain on purchase decisions for new releases. Only if a game is beyond excellent would ‘veterans’ opt in right away. Otherwise, there’s really no reason to pay full price for a game that will collect dust until 15 other titles have been run through. And by that time, the game in question will have long since dropped in price, considerably. That’s where Collector’s Editions step in to save the day.

I used to have time to do this stuff. Enjoy a terrible unboxing video.

For one, there is the stress on the word ‘limited,’ making us believe that there will only be a set amount of pieces to be had from the delicious cake. Snoozers will be losers, so chances are slim of picking up a sought after edition after a few months. While ‘veterans’ (that’s the word of use, live with it) can easily pass up a full price game they’d want, passing up on an enhanced edition of said game in a special package is something completely different. It’s the same kind of want, but now for a limited time and offer only. For instance, I wanted to own Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked. But as they didn’t include a special edition, there’s really no incentive to buy it now. Not like the version of Ys Seven I bought, but still only played months later. But let’s not use me as an example too often.

It just shows that putting pressure on the consumer will sway that extra percentage of players to cave in immediately and that time span counts. Most games or media in general are rated on their immediate success, when everyone is buying. Let’s say the first two months. Unless the game is horrible like Lord of Arcana, most of the special editions will get sold, effectively adding to that success rate. And if a game is successful, usually everyone wins. The trick is just to do it right.

NoobFeed Editorial - Why Collector Editions Are Vital
Why own only some crap when Guilty Gear can offer you even more crap? Lots of it.

There are two methods that come to mind: First off, make it special enough. Don’t just include a few stickers and call it quits, just add something special. Soundtracks or added incentives like maps, shirts and so on are always great, because it’s something more tangible than a nifty figurine. Offer a nice Helghast lamp you can also use as storage and people will flip. Or better yet, make only 200 of something, like the Guilty gear XX Accent Core Plus Collector’s Edition. Now there was a limited offer.

Secondly, if making something intensely exclusive, but not ridiculous like Dead Rising, isn’t available as an option; hide it in secrecy. Lord knows how many editions are roaming out there. As long as it sounds exclusive, people will walk that threshold. Especially if your game is slightly more anonymous than most, offer something for die-hard fans like above and throw in a ton of copies for the masses that will spice the success rack. It doesn’t hurt to sell 10,000 more copies artificially, because people went for the sought after item they’d otherwise pass up on. And again, more sales and more success equals everyone still has a job.

NoobFeed Editorial - Why Collector Editions Are Vital
I had one more picture to place. It was either cake or porn. I've failed, but this was a triumph.

So, while there might be a craze of superfluous material out these days, it’s vital to see the importance that some of these editions can hold over the game industry. Certainly in an era where second hand sales seem to become the devil, owning up for items people won’t let go is a good idea. The trick is to either hold a steady middle ground and not go overboard or go the extra mile without coming off as cheap. Some sales might go to lesser inclined consumers, but some might find an entirely new market and either way you look at that; it spells success.

Daav Valentaten & David Gabriel, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

comments powered by Disqus

  • An article that makes sense and I absolutely agree with the two methods. Some games do take advantage having a large fan base. I'm sorry to say this but my most favorite series Mass Effect did the same with ME2. When they announced the collector's edition I was among the first to order it but it wasn't anything special once I held it. Same thing happened with Splinter Cell Conviction. What so special about an additional playable skin and Infiltration mode in a game. I felt like being robbed even with that few extra bucks. 

    Posted Oct 03, 2011

  • Like you I am also a sucker for it. Well as for your first option, I remember buying Catherine and they included an album book and a soundtrack in a standard copy. Which is actually pretty good deal. Coz I know Catherine limited edition offers even more. Some other companies abuse the concept and make it limited edition. I agree on your point that its better to hide it in secrecy rather than making yourself a villain in the gaming industry!

    Posted Oct 05, 2011

  • It's a shame that I've never owned a collector's edition in my life. Where as @FetusZero buys every single edition that comes out.

    Posted Oct 06, 2011

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