Exclusive Retailer Collector’s Edition Deals: Unfair Trading Or Value for Money?

Exclusive Retailer Collector’s Edition Deals:

Is it Unfair Trading Or Value for Money?

by Allegionary

©2010 Alex Hilton

On January 28th of this year I bought the Collector’s Edition for Mass Effect 2. It was an ‘Exclusive Retailers Edition’ that was only available at EB Games.

I payed $120 for what ended up being a pretty average collector’s edition, but what annoyed me the most was that EB Games had no other competitors offering the same or very similar collector editions, so it was either pay the full recommended retail price (RRP), which I hardly ever do, or go without.

At the moment most game stores are getting retail-exclusive-content for most of the big AAA games heading our way. The content for these are either in-game content and or small objects that are included in the game package like a figurine.

Because of these exclusive deals between the publisher and the retailer the price of the collector’s edition is always full price whereas in the past there was some price movement when many retailers stocked them.

I think that no collector’s edition should be exclusive to any shop for a number of reasons.

Reason 1: Availability

These ARE sweet though

Collector’s Editions are always fun to get but some of them aren’t always available. Stores these days want exclusive collector’s editions so that they can get customers to buy from their store and not go to one of their competitors.

This though is costing some people their chance to buy a collector’s edition if they don’t have access to that retailer (unless they can purchase online).

This means that if you only had a JB Hi-Fi near you, and the game is exclusive to GAME, then you would be forced to buy that edition online which can lead to other problems.

Reason 2: Online Shopping

Some people who don’t have access to the particular shop that has the collectors edition that they want also don’t want to take the risk of buying products online either, because they don’t want their special edition damaged in the post, arrive late, or worse, lost.

This means that those people would not be able to get that edition, without having to take an unnecessary risk.

Then there is the issue of that wonderful Special Edition that you’d love, but is exclusive only to overseas retailers in a certain country.  For example, Gamestop in the US offers a completely different Limited Edition Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood version than what is available here in Australia – one that has an exclusive to Gamestop Jack ‘n the Box.

You might be able to buy it online, but will it definitely be region free if you buy a 360 version, and again, will it arrive intact?  What about the UK version which has everything ours has, but with an extra Lineage short film DVD and may even work out cheaper with the current exchange rate?

Here in Australia, we are region 4 DVD while they are region 2, and since our 360 (and PS3) won’t play NTSC DVDs it may not play these either.

Reason 3: Price

Another reason is that you have to pay full price if you want to collect it. There isn’t as much competition between shops to sell that edition as there used to be in the past because in many cases now these exclusive deals are made.

It seems to me that some of these prices even seem inflated, because nobody else can be selling them.  And if you want an exclusive weapon, level, figure or whatever, you must pay their asking price. More often than not, these Retail Collector Editions are ‘only’ available as ‘pre-order’ only, and once the game has been released, the editions are no longer available.

Not only this but with each retailer trying to get their ‘own’ special features in many cases, you may like elements of one and elements of another pack but cannot justify buying all of them.  It’s like they were split up so each retailer could have one of their own.

Reason 4: Smaller Retailers Disadvantaged

As these exclusive deals are only with the big gaming retailers, I pity the smaller game-selling companies who can only offer a standard edition or a lesser special edition.  We have unfair trading rules to encourage competition but as usual the biggies seem to have the advantages over the little guys. Just looking at this short list of just two majors you can see how the two retailers have a number of games with exclusive content.

List of games with exclusive editions:

Some of the latest games that have a collector’s edition that are only going to be at EB games are :

Some of the latest games that have exclusive content only available to JB Hi-Fi are:

Collector’s Editions are meant for gamers that like a game enough to spend extra money for extra content, but because of these exclusive retailer editions, some people might have to pay more than they would like to,  or simply miss out on that edition completely.

Obviously this is all a matter of choice and maybe too much choice, but I can’t help yearning for the days when the publisher put out two or three versions of their release and allowed all retailers to sell each of them.

Alternative Collector & Limited Editions:

  • Medal Of Honor: Collectors Edition at Mighty Ape
  • Call  Of Duty: Black Ops Collectors Edition – at Mighty Ape
  • Call Of Duty: Black Ops  Hardened Edition – at Mighty Ape
  • Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Collectors Edition- at Mighty Ape
  • Fallout: new Vegas – at Mighty Ape

• Please take our poll

What do you think?  Comment below.

©2010 Alex Hilton

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I love playing video games a lot. I currently own a laptop, an Xbox 360, a Nintendo DS and an iPod touch. I play all of these consoles and enjoy them all because of the diversity in them. I play my laptop for strategy games, my Xbox 360 for most genres, my DS for Pokemon (not much else on the DS), and my iPod for the simple yet addictive mini-games. I also develop Android Apps. I have just started development and I am well on my way to fame and fortune (I hope) with the release of my first app. More details can be found at my blog: http://legionaryproductions.wordpress.com/ My favourite games are Warcraft III, League of Legends, Mass Effect 1 and 2, the Pokemon games and the Elder Scrolls series. I also enjoy shooters like Halo and the earlier Call of Duty games (before COD 5). I also enjoy playing Hockey, reading a good book and watching movies and TV shows. One of my favourite book series is Rangers Apprentice and my favourite movies are the Star Wars movies (as shown by my profile picture) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

10 thoughts on “Exclusive Retailer Collector’s Edition Deals: Unfair Trading Or Value for Money?”

  1. So your to cheap to buy video games and demand to not pay full price for an item.. that good for you? go be cheap and ill buy my collector editions of games… Mass Effect 2 collector edition is the best but i am probably saying that cause i love the game and series😛


    1. Hmmm, not sure what you mean there mate. I don’t think he’s saying he’s too cheap to buy them, but he’s looking at specifically the “Retailer Exclusive Editions” rather than the Official Collectors Editions etc.

      Where most of those retailer editions are really not worth the $$ they are asking for – most of the time.

      The Official Mass Effects 2 Collectors Edition is well worth the money, but that’s actually called the Ultimate Edition put out by the publishers, not a retailer.


  2. I’ve never been a collector of gaming stuff. Never seen a point most of this newer stuff isn’t worth it. I dont see a point in standing in line for hours only to rip open the package to play the game. I’ve never met one person who bought one for collecting purposes. I’m not saying people don’t, just going buy what I’m seeing. But its working I guess, paying an extra $100 for a game just because it comes in a tin can must be something special for some people.


    1. Fair point.

      Most often than not, real dev/publisher collector/Limited editions have an increase of around $10 – $40 added to them above the normal higher price-point for retail, ie $AU120, making them between $AU130 – $AU160.

      But yes, some ppl do like collecting, for whatever reason. It’s why some ppl collect art, books, cars etc. All usually having a premium price, but there are times when it does pay off. I have been offered much more than I paid for several items, and made a solid $560 profit on the sale of just one Xbox once.

      I suppose it comes down to us all being different, which makes the world what it is . . .🙂


  3. Amazingly, GAME had pre-orders up the wazoo for the Halo Reach X360 Console at one of my local stores.

    You know how many they got in, TWO, and of course, those customers that missed out, ended up buying a normal X360, plus 2 Halo Reach controllers.

    They were not getting any more in, just those two units at a major retail outlet with thousands of customers walking about, amazing isn’t it.

    Often it’s not the actual stores fault, but more the head offices, as almost all of head offices of both EB Games, GAME and the like do NOT have staff who have any knowledge of games or gaming per-se, and are simply office staff with expertise in marketing, sales, PR etc.

    There’s a void between the Head Office staff, and on-the-ground staff, which affects sales in the long term sadly.


  4. Buy what you want, its your choice to make. But if you let them make the choice for you the you’ll always be on the losing end.

    As a gamer first and collector second I choose the games to buy and where to buy them. This gives me the power.

    If you are buying strictly for future investment you’ve already missed that boat. The so called limited editions and collectors edition are produced in too large of quatities to make them hold their value. Retailer will alway use incentives to get your money, its business.


    1. Most definitely agree, but the question is, is the tactic unfair trading practices, or those ‘sepcial retailer exclusive editions’.

      I’m a collector as well, and have many collectable game packs, as well as hardware items, I steer away from the ‘retailer exclusive’, but marvel at the number of gamers who think they are getting a great deal when buying those retailer exclusives, when in fact, as the article points out, they are at best, simply glorified standard editions with DLC content.

      When you look at the list of “alternative Collector and Limited Editions” list at the bottom of the article, the same/similar games that are being produced by the publishers are a great deal different to those on offer from retailers, and are often worth the extra funds.


      1. Its not unfair its standard business. The retailer pays for those exclusive items to entice the consumer. Just like ford offering 0% financing, or kraft putting a 20cent coupon in sundays paper. Businesses need to do all kinds of things to make them standout from the rest. As the buyer you are the one that makes the ultimate purchasing decision.


    2. True, and it is aimed at dragging in the unaware consumer of course. I suppose it just erks me, as having been in business, it’s something I just would not do.

      I know how these retailers often abuse the fair trading rules. One manager was demoted due to the fact he upheld one of the fair trading rules, but went against the in-house rules.

      Clearly showing that the retailer cared little for the law, but only in the profit they could gain by breaking said laws.


      1. I personally love the ‘bait and switch”. Oh we’ll have a couple of items on great sale but when you get to the retail store, my goodness there are none in sight. The week after the sale, however, there are plenty of them!

        But they got you in the store…


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