PlayStation 4’s Largest Consumer Market Sees Collectors Penalized the Most

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I LOVE video games. Seriously, what was once a simple way to pass the time has really grown into an obsession of mine that has gone on for years. My “library” of games has grown well into the hundreds between both my physical copies & digital editions. This little hobby of mine, and probably yours too, has grown into a full blown passion.

To compound this, I am drawn to those special releases we’ve all come to love or loathe, the coveted Collector’s Edition or CE for short. These special editions for games come in all shapes & sizes and can cost a little more than the standard release or hundreds of dollars more for the collector’s edition. Often times these will include a special “steelbook” case, a bound art book, posters, lithographs, additional DLC codes or most importantly, a statue depicting the main character in some sort of action pose or scene.

…most importantly, a statue depicting the main character in some sort of action pose…

Many times publishers will even release various “levels” of collector’s editions. A perfect example of this is the CEs that were made available for The Order: 1886. This game saw two editions made available, the first branded as the “Collector’s Edition” which offered a variety of additional items including a very detailed statue of the main character titled Galahad Under Fire. Also offered was the “Premium Edition” which cost slightly more and shared much of the same content as the other CE but added in a collectible art book & a completely different statue titled The Endless Duel.
TheOrder1886PremCE

Both are great items to add to any collection, especially if you are a fan of the game. As a collector though, this begins to present a problem. Do I collect one, the other, or both? The drive from the publisher’s standpoint is to offer the customer a variety of choices at various price points to appeal to the broadest consumer base possible, thereby driving revenue and increasing popularity of the release. I understand the concept, but for those on a budget or really looking to collect, it becomes a very costly model to follow. But wait, it gets even better (or worse) depending on what side of the transaction you fall on.

…it becomes a very costly model to follow.

Lately, there seems to be a growing trend for publishers to now release region specific collector’s editions. Wait, what?! Yes, this certainly does happen and it is not an isolated incident for an obscure title that may see only ten thousand copies sold. Many of the mainstream titles have seen region specific releases with varying content for the same game. Other times, some regions may not even get a release of the collector’s edition even though the game itself is released in all territories. This kind of marketing baffles me to say the least but also frustrates me to the utmost.

This kind of marketing baffles me to say the least, but also frustrates me to the utmost.
As an avid collector, if I know a CE is available I’ll track it down if I have enough of an interest in it, the content makes it worthwhile, and if the game is something I want to play. This ends up costing me as a consumer a lot more since I now have to deal with currency conversions, international shipping costs and import fees & taxes. It also makes me wonder what the publisher was thinking by ignoring one of the largest markets open to them, North America (NA)!

If you think I’m kidding, here’s some of the most recent examples for some of the most notable games to release this year. Let’s revisit The Order: 1886 for a minute. I already covered the 2 releases that were available in NA, but did you know there was one available exclusively in Europe (EU)? The EU CE didn’t include any statue but included a replica Black Water vial and a custom storage box. I’d argue the NA editions offered more in terms of content for the price, but why not offer this 3rd edition stateside if it was already produced for the EU? I would have purchased all 3 if they were readily available. (Read up on the game with Glenn’s review here.)

TheOrder1886EUCE

Another major release was Bloodborne, which also saw a unique CE scenario. The NA collector’s edition, and I’ll use that term loosely describing it, was only a steelbook case, art book & soundtrack. Nothing great here in my opinion. However, Japan saw what was termed as the “First Press Limited Edition” which was very similar to NA version. The killer here is the EU version which saw the “Nightmare Edition”. This trumped either previous offerings by including various replica objects from the game, and it all came in a tin faux bookcase. Of course I imported this one because this was the “real” CE offered but again, no NA release! (For an in-depth review of the game, checkout Andy’s review for it.)

BloodborneEUCE

Yet another example is Tearaway Unfolded. This game saw a global release of the standard edition, however two alternative editions were offered only in the EU. To compound this region exclusivity, one of these was offered through a single retailer, Amazon.de. The EU collector’s edition for this release included probably one of the rarer items to be offered by publishers, a plush doll of the main character Iota. This was only offered in a very select countries in the EU and the exclusive Amazon version titled the “Messenger Edition” added in some additional DLC. I think a NA release of the plushie version would have driven sales more for the game especially appealing to a younger audience with a broader distribution. (I’m sure Josh’s review here will give credence to how good this game really is.)

TearawayUnfoldedEUCE

The North American crowd is left with the standard plastic case and no special additions.

The Last of Us Remastered and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection both have seen special editions released for other regions. The Last of Us Remastered offered a steelbook case version for the EU customer while Uncharted gets a “Special Edition” which also includes a steelbook case & art book. The North American crowd is left with the standard plastic case and no special additions. This is saddening as I’m sure there are many fans of these high profile franchises that would have liked a special version of the game for their library, I know I would have. (You can read Glenn’s review of the game right here on PS Nation too.)

UnchartedTNDCEUCE

And here’s a real curveball for you. Although titled as a Collector’s Edition, Journey Collector’s Edition combines 3 phenomenal releases, Journey, flOw & Flower in a single bundle but offers no additional content. That’s really not the surprising thing, what is surprising is that the trilogy will only have a physical release in the EU. Although available as a digital download in NA, I see no reason why a physical version isn’t available in NA given that the PS3 release of the same trilogy was available on disc.

JourneyPS4EUCE

As you can see, there are some weird decisions being made as to what regions will see what content and which versions are available for consumers. These examples here clearly show that the EU is favored a bit more when it comes to exclusive content and what I would say better inclusions in collector’s editions in most cases. I have other examples I can delve into but I think you see my point.

As a collector it makes the collecting aspect frustrating to track down what releases are available…

It remains unclear as to why these decisions are made or even how they made since the games see both worldwide releases and who’s content is not changed for each region. As a consumer it makes it difficult to know, that without alternative outlets, I may never see a special version of a game or even be exposed to the choice of a standard edition or collector’s edition. As a collector it makes the collecting aspect frustrating to track down what releases are available and then determine do I really want to spend the additional funds to import it.

…please, don’t limit our choice because of the geographic region we happen to reside.

The variety is great, and publishers continue to up the ante for what they include & offer the consumer in terms of content & additions in each collector’s edition, but publishers, please, don’t limit our choice because of the geographic region we happen to reside. In the end you’re not really impacting anyone but yourselves by limiting our options as to what we spend our dollars on.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Comment below or head off to our forums to voice your opinions about region exclusivity, collector’s editions and game collecting in general, we’re happy to hear your thoughts & opinions on it!

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  • As a collector, I generally hate when there are two good region-specific CEs for one game, but don’t mind when the CE is restricted to one region (especially if that region is not UK/US).

    For instance, Batman: Arkham Origins had an awesome statue in Europe, with the Bat holding Joker up by his lapels. However, the US got one with Joker and various TV screens, which I also wanted (needed). This was very annoying.

    I guess for the regional exclusive games though, I kind of see it as more collectable. For example, I have that Tearaway PS4 CE pictured. It didn’t release in the UK, so I had to order it from elsewhere. I was happy to do so though because it’s a much rarer item because of the exclusivity.

    Another example later this month is a Pokemon Omega Ruby Pokeball edition, which I’m importing from France. Again, this thing will see its value doubled within weeks, and the fact not many people in the UK/US will have it makes it more attractive to me.

  • Dirkster_Dude

    I don’t really see video games as collectible. You have original versions of Pong, Space Invaders, and Asteroids. Iconic games if there ever were such a thing and the games + original cabinets are in Pong’s case 40+ years old. How much are they worth? Pretty much nothing.

  • Jahonius

    Regional CEs are indeed very weird.

    Until Dawn is another such case, it seems.

    EU and some Asian regions had Steelbook editions, and the funny thing is, in Korea, they “gave away” the steelbook at no extra cost to the regular versions.

    In the other hand, we sometimes don’t get any CE at all. Arkham Knight and COD games never get CEs here.

    I dunno, Ben. I really admire your dedication to collecting CEs as well as your bottomless coin pouch, but I think that seeking out that “last piece of the coveted shard” is what makes people become avid collectors.

    But yeah, that Japanese Bloodborne is crazy, I sometimes even dream about it.

  • Jim_Beamer

    digital games are making the entire video game market a throwaway, careless market. Digital games that will be forgotten and unplayable over time. Games that have one week of talk and then are gone. Its like the cd industry. When there are no actual items to care about, people dont care about them. They would rather watch someone else play it for free, for an hour and then move on. CE’s help keep some of that nostalgia of opening a package and getting actual things with your purchase.

  • ChazzH69

    I only get a few collector’s editions when I know the game is good or I see it really cheap like my DedSec edition of Watchdogs for £22. I like Special Editions but not ones that are exclusive to a store or worse still an entire country.

    • Jahonius

      My Korean collector’s edition Until Dawn Steelbook is not as pretty as that one! I’ll post the picture once I get home.

      • Jahonius

        Very ugly, but hey, it’s probably as limited and “collectible” as any!

      • ChazzH69

        I look forward to seeing that one.

  • Franggio Hogland

    And then we had years upon years of releases that doesn’t even make it to EU but now we have a few select titles people are complaining about. Hell even if games have sold better in Europe we get skipped over next time.
    So yeah I feel your pain but talk about head in sand screaming.