Battlefield “1” was announced today and the trailer looks awesome (see below). Pricing, and a date of release (October 21st) were announced too.
And Amazon also revealed their exclusive Battlefield 1 Collector’s Edition, for the MSRP price of $220 (20% off for Prime members. Yay?). Honestly, that’s an insane amount to pay for a game, but I remember shelling $350 for the Carmageddon Kickstarter several years ago (a move I later regretted since I never received the promised goodies, due to changing addresses – and country – twice between the time I pledged and the time things were sent).
Why we love collector’s Editions
So, err, gaming studios, what’s with this trend of super expensive games?
Don’t get me wrong, I get the “Collector’s Edition” argument.
In this age of all digital, I personally would rather get a digital version of a game for the same price as the physical one. Digital has shown its benefits to me, a long time ago: my digital PSP games still work on my PS Vita because they are using the same account, while my UMDs are collecting dust.
I have to believe I’m not the only one out there. Physical still has its benefits, in particular the fact that you can resell your physical games, so in essence physical is a bit cheaper than digital, but with digital I pay for the added convenience of getting the game whenever I want it, and the cross-device benefit I mentioned above is also huge on my list.
So in a world where digital is the fast growing tendency, games in physical format need to provide some additional bang for your bucks. Collector’s Editions are, in my opinion, the right way to do that. Yes, I’ll be ok to shell a few more dollars if I get a cool t-shirt, a figurine, or something else that cannot be replicated digitally (I don’t care for extra skins or in-game *** in a collector’s Edition, is that just me? I want to express my fandom in the real world).
It does look cool, though
With that being said, at $219 MSRP, the Battlefield 1 Collector’s Edition is almost 4 times the price of the “Standard” Edition. I’m having a hard time understanding who would pay that kind of price for a game (again, I paid $350 for Carmageddon, so guilty as charged here), but I’m picturing a few scenarios: A cool collective present for a gamer friend’s birthday, huge fans of the franchise who want to show their support and fandom, and, last but not least, a way to sell more of the Deluxe Edition.
The Marketing conspiracy – put your tin foil hats on
There’s a common marketing trick which consists in comparing 3 products. An expensive one, a less expensive one, and a “normal price” (or cheap, depending on how you look at it) one. The goal is to have people buy the middle-priced product. Nobody wants to be the cheap guy who buys the lowest priced one, but nobody wants to pay “too much” either.
I feel the Battlefield 1 Collector’s Edition does exactly this to me: The Deluxe Edition, priced lower than the collector’s edition, now looks fairly reasonable to me. The Deluxe Edition also has the benefit of being released 3 days prior to the standard edition. Will people be willing to pay an addition $20 for that? Well, that’s the price of an evening at the movies, so I could even consider myself paying for that, if I was still in my twenties, an age at which I loved to brag to my friends that I saw a movie before them, or played a game before it was released.
Still cool, but not as cool. But cheaper, so much cheaper!
Another way to look at it is that this shows how much benefit a Prime subscription can give you as an Amazon customer. Again, a marketing trick, but a convincing one: if you really want that Collector’s Edition, it makes absolute sense to be a prime customer as well. Amazon are cutting 20% off preorders and recent games for their Prime customers. This purchase alone is basically paying for half of the yearly Prime subscription, as it cuts a lot from the price. And with Prime day coming in July…
So, is $220 too expensive for a video game?
Video games were never cheap in absolute, but relatively, given the amount of content and hours of play they deliver, they’re actually a pretty cheap form of entertainment. Uncharted 4 is estimated to have a 14 hours single player campaign, and is getting very positive reviews. at $59 MSRP, that’s about $4 per hour of entertainment, not counting multiplayer. Compare that to an evening at the theater which easily costs $15 for a 1h30 movie…
Nevertheless, at $220 MSRP, the Battlefield 1 Collector’s Edition still sets the bar really high, almost reminding me of the crazy prices of Neo-Geo games when I was a kid. That Collector Edition’s going to be drawing a line in the sand between the haves and have-nots. Maybe if you’re a really dedicated fan of the game, you’ll get that one?
By the way, I’m not saying $59 for a video game is cheap in any way. I’ve half-jokingly mentioned on twitter that video game studios complain of piracy as the reason they have to drive prices up, but given that the PS4 and Xbox One have virtually no piracy (except for black-market piracy tricks – see here for PS4, here for XBO) at least until we get to see a PS4 Jailbreak on firmwares higher than 1.76, the excuse is proven once again to be lame.
Would you buy a Collector’s Edition of your favorite game franchise for $220? Why, or why not? What’s the most expensive game you’ve ever seen? Purchased?
Disclaimer: ironically enough, the Amazon links in this article are affiliate links. I don’t think I really condone paying $220 for a game, but if you and do it from the links in the article, I’m going to get a fat commission, quit my job and live in Hawaii for the rest of my life. You won’t pay anything extra.
We are constantly looking for guest bloggers at wololo.net. If you like to write, and have a strong interest in the console hacking scene, contact me either with a comment here, or in a PM on /talk!