It seems that when a new game is unveiled to the masses there are always umpteen different variations of the same game on offer, which all deliver the same base experience, but all offer something different in some slight way. They also differ greatly in price. So it begs the question, when more and more gamers are acquiring their games digitally (and games are getting more and more expensive), are “Ultimate editions” of games really worth splashing all that cash on anymore? What do we as consumers/gamers really get from the deal?
[HEADS UP – I’m using “Ultimate edition” as a general overall term. This will include: special editions, limited editions, collector’s editions and of course the fan-super-tastic-never-beaten-uber-amazing editions]
Bizarrely, you have Dragon Ball to thank for this piece. I was sat looking through the upcoming releases on the internet when I came across the listing for Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 – Collector’s Edition and the thing that caught my eye (aside from the fact it’s a sequel to a fantastic game) was the 34cm statue of Goku, stood there in all his Super-Saiyan glory. All sense left my mind…I wanted that statue! I was so enamoured with the statue I forgot two key factors: 1. It is £139.99 which is no small amount of money and 2. I already have a statue of Super-Saiyan Goku…in fact the figure I own isn’t all that dissimilar from the one on offer. Yet the fact remains, there’s a little Danny stood on my shoulder, who every now and again reminds me there are only 80 days until the Collector’s Edition is released.
The reasoning behind this is simple, I am a massive sucker for memorabilia. I’m not ashamed of this, it’s a fact and I wouldn’t have it any other way, however it does pose me quite an issue when one of my favourite franchises releases a game, and there’s a statue or some form of memorabilia involved. In my mind there really is no alternative, the “Ultimate edition” wins every time. It would be naïve of me to not think that game creators (generally the bigger franchises) knowingly play to this weakness I, and thousands of others share, but is it such a bad thing if the statue/memorabilia is of good quality and more importantly, worth the asking price? That’s really the most important thing I consider when I look at a game’s “Ultimate edition”. I look at: what’s on offer both physically and in-game, how much is said version of the game and just how badly do I want it? Sadly, money is finite when it comes to my bank account so that usually plays the biggest part in my decision making. (At this point my girlfriend would like to point out that this isn’t always the case).
However, the more I ponder on it, the more it becomes apparent that whenever an “Ultimate edition” or other “editions” have been available, I have always gone for the option with the statue and not necessarily the option which was best value for money. By value for money, I actually mean content which effects the base experience of the game. At the end of the day, that is what we as gamers want isn’t it? A better game than people have from simply buying the standard version. While I concede, I always prefer the statue, game creators often package things like DLC and Season Passes with their “Ultimate editions” to make them more appealing and more worthy of their excessive price tag. Yet I have always wondered as to the point of DLC and Season Passes and why they are fast becoming an exclusive element from the game to which they are related. Those with the DLC/Season Pass are undoubtedly getting more of an experience from the game than those without it, yet why, if the DLC/Season Pass is crucial to the continuation of the game, is it not included with all versions of the game for everyone to enjoy? The DLC ends up becoming an almost exclusive playground for those willing to pay extra for it, and it’s not something I’m overly enthused about seeing more of.
To be fair, “Ultimate editions” which only include a Season Pass or a couple of pieces of DLC don’t really class as an “Ultimate edition” in my book, but again, maybe it’s because I’m old fashioned and I like my statues. But I’m not alone. I posed the question of “Ultimate editions” to the other guys at TheXboxHub, about whether they’re worth the expense and found the response to be quite divisive. Some were in the same boat as me, if it was a beloved franchise and an awesome statue then it was a no brainer. Others found the notion of “Ultimate editions” and all their extra content to be superfluous when taking into account the overall gaming experience, and others believed it depended upon what was on offer irrespective of the game. There was even one theory, which stipulated that “Ultimate editions” of games were just a ruse to keep retail versions of games relevant and to postpone the switch to digital gaming…(illuminati confirmed).
Ok, while that idea may be a little extreme (or not…who knows?) the idea of “Ultimate editions” in digital games is a whole different kettle of fish. In fact, it’s one that actually flares up the argument of digital vs physical gaming. Despite being born in 1993, I am decidedly old fashioned when it comes to gaming. I like being able to go into a shop and buy the games that I want and then display them upon my shelves for all to see. It stems from my Dad’s similar inability to switch to ITunes from Cd’s. But when it comes to “Ultimate editions”, digital gaming really does take the biscuit! Obviously, because you are buying a digital version of the game you can only expect digital extras. This means no statues, no memorabilia and no cool art books. No, all you get is content which can be used in game and that is it. To some people this could actually be viewed as a good thing, as you know all the DLC you get will be useful (hopefully), however the kicker is that because you are buying a digital version of the game, the pricing will be stipulated by the distributor and the distributor alone. Meaning that the “Ultimate edition” you buy online, while featuring minor differences from physical variants of the game, will come with a hefty price tag irrespective of the fact you may be able to get it cheaper in stores. It’s one reason I don’t really buy into digital games. Look at Destiny on the Xbox Store. There are still variations of the game on there going for £70, which may not sound a great deal in the grand scheme of things, however consider the fact that Destiny has been out for the length of time it has and that you can pick up the base version of the game AND the Taken King DLC for £15 in a store, it doesn’t really add up financially.
I’m digressing slightly…
So are “Ultimate editions” worth buying? My honest answer would have to be that the decision ultimately lies with you. For me, the decision to buy an “Ultimate edition” of a game will always rest upon the quality (and cost) of the statue/memorabilia on offer. That’s just my personal preference, as you will have your own personal preference. I think that “Ultimate editions” are good in the sense that they give consumers/gamers the ability to choose which variant of the game they would rather buy, and in some strange way allow them to take pride in showing their allegiance to their favourite franchise when buying the expensive version of the game. While on the other hand, I also think you have to be careful when considering spending hundreds of pounds (or dollars) on content which can only be used in game. There’s a line after all.
Interestingly, if you ever feel like you have spent too much on a game in the past, spare a thought for the people who spent $188,718.75 on the Mono Edition of Grid 2 which came with not only a Grid 2 branded racing helmet and suit, but also a street legal BAC Mono Supercar. Or even worse, those who forked out $386,000 on the Dying Light Special Edition which came replete with its very own custom made zombie-proof shelter! When you think about it like that, that £200 Dishonoured 2 statue doesn’t look too bad after all, does it?