Have you started getting the feeling that special editions for video games these days don't seem all that... special? I know I have lately, especially after the bevy of special editions revealed recently for the highly anticipated Ubisoft title Watch Dogs.
Ubisoft appears to be a specific perpetrator of this practice with four special editions each for three upcoming titles. Do we really need all this? Is this hurting consumers in any way?
I've never really been one to gravitate towards special editions when picking up video games. The prices are usually outrageous since these tend to be packaged with things like statues or, in the case of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, a remote-controlled plane.
It's one thing to give franchise fans an option to go all out if they're willing to spend the dough, but four special editions seems a bit much. It can also get very confusing as is the case with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
There's the Special Edition with only some in-game content, the Skull Edition which throws in a steel case, art book, and soundtrack, then there are the big daddies with the Buccaneer Edition and Black Chest Edition. The latter two include a statue and bigger statue respectively stored in enormous boxes.
Better make room for your shelf
I realize there are folks out there who live to collect things like this and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm speaking more on behalf of the common consumer who may feel overwhelmed with which content is included with which bundle.
For the most part, each special edition comes with certain downloadable content. As is the case with Watch Dogs, you get one piece of DLC in the Special Edition and a completely separate one in the Vigilante Edition. When developers start cherry-picking content like this, that's when I have to cross the line.
Anyone and everyone gets a statue these days...
Day 1 DLC has always been a bit of sore topic in the gaming community. These latest special editions just seem to push that level of soreness even further now. Why withhold content that's already completed by the time a game is completed? I would suspect it's for the exact same reason why Ubisoft offers an hour worth of extra content on Sony's consoles over the Xbox 360 and PC versions. It's all about the exclusivity deals.
It's no surprise that GameStop, Amazon, Best Buy, and other game retailers are vying for your business. The way to do that in the gaming department, it seems, is to land exclusive content that can only be obtained by purchasing at a specific outlet. The retailer gets their incentive, the developer gets an extra kickback from the deal with said retailer, and the consumers get the illusion of choice. Power to the players? Hardly.
Screw you, GameStop
Simply put, there needs to be an end to slicing out game content and only making it available from certain retailers. While it's true that said content could potentially appear later for universal download in the future, this isn't always the case. Don't force me to buy a statue just to get what should already be in the game.
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