There are a lot of reasons to be enticed to purchase a Special or Collector’s Edition of a game. Though the features vary from one game to the next, some things are almost a given, such as exclusive in game content, a soundtrack, and art work. In the past few years, we have seen statues or other items included with them and subsequently saw their prices rise dramatically.
With Batman: Arkham City on the horizon, I saw the Robin preview and it said, “Exclusive to preorders.” Little did I know how exclusive some things were and how platform-specific certain in-game content was. Now, I’m not going into the tech differences between the platforms because that’s not exclusive. Simply put, consoles can’t run Nvidia’s Phsyx, and if they could, the game developers would impalement it on the consoles. Neither is this limited to only people who preorder, get a collector’s edition, or buy it through DLC.
The collector’s edition for Batman: Arkahm City comes with several goodies. Through Amazon, I learned they were not available on the PC. This isn’t the first time this has happened; Modern Warfare 3 does this currently and Black Ops did it beforehand. Where I run into the problem is when there are items in the collector’s edition, minor but exclusive nonetheless, only for that edition of the game. The statue, art book, and whatnot I don’t mind living without, but why does the platform of my choice have to lose out on the content? This may sound like a nitpick from a costumer, but I see this as the start of something more sinister, and here’s why.
The game publishers want a reasonable guarantee to make their money back and a profit. It’s an investment I don’t disagree with. I believe this problem stems from their perception of piracy: give consoles these collector’s editions with content not available on the PC, and they can ensure a greater profit because it’s harder to pirate on a console. The problem I have with that way of thinking is, if we buy the collector’s edition for the PC, you’re still making your money. So why is it a problem? I can see many different answers to this question, but honestly, I leave it open for the game publishers and developers to answer. All I can see in the end is that you’re undercutting a platform and your audience, which is going to hurt your bottom line.
I know I’ve said before that I’m a PC gamer and proud of it, but let’s get one thing clear: if this were happening on the consoles, I would be calling this out as well. This is not a one-sided view; I don’t think games should be shafted on any platform for any reason when it comes to content unless it’s a technical one, end of story.
I’ve said before that I hate exclusive preorder DLC. Well today, I’m going to touch on another one: the store-exclusive DLC. When I went looking to preorder Batman: Arkham City, I went to GameStop because Amazon wasn’t showing all the right info for the collector’s edition, and I wanted to make sure it just wasn’t available to Amazon. When I got to GameStop, I saw three different exclusive preorder bonuses that were available through GameStop and not Amazon. I have no faith in GameStop with online ordering because I have friends who’ve used it and run into problems, and GameStop sat on their hands over it. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this, either: with Mass Effect 2. there were many store-exclusives out there.
These tactics go to hurt the franchises, in my opinion. Why? Because it’s forcing us to go with a retailer we may not trust or to choose what to have, rather than giving us the option to grab it through DLC at a cost. When you take something away from a game and we know about it, we start to resent it and think this could’ve been better because of this, but we couldn’t get it. This fosters animosity not toward the game but toward the publisher and developer because it’s a money grab. Either they’re getting paid by said store or getting a bonus for the amount of units sold there.
Honestly, I believe the store and preorder exclusives need to stop, or at least be forthcoming that it’ll be available to everyone from the get-go at a later date after release, to prevent customers from growing resentful. I know that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is now selling its preorder exclusives, but the resentment about its being only available for those who could pay for it before release and those who couldn’t still remains. This will be the same for every game that does this, including Batman: Arkham City.