Thursday, February 03, 2005

The limited editions are coming

Places like Gamestop have long thrown in shirts and calendars to boost pre-orders, but the trend of publishers getting in on the act is starting to grow. Limited editions for PC games used to be the only exception, but the console side is catching. The recent Halo 2 LE was the most noteworthy example and its strong sales are probably responsible for encouraging the other kids. Is this a good thing? For the most part, yes, as long as there’s something very cool about the LE that is catered to the fans and the price is right. A quick rundown of those that do it right, and those that don’t:

Just announced today is the Tekken 5 LE, which comes with the game, a custom Hori joystick, and a special six-disc case to hold all the previous Tekken games, all for $99. If you pre-order it with certain retailers, you also get a snazzy art book. $99 is a bit steep, but it seems fairly reasonable to me as a Tekken fan. Hori sticks are top notch and I still have every Tekken game, so a case that will house all of them is really slick. Pictured above is the Tekken 4 stick, NOT the new one announced. I haven't found any pics of that one yet.

I consider the various Working Designs releases as the gold standard for offering the most bang for the buck. Unfortunately, WD is saddled with not being able to land top quality games to lavish their attention on.

- Any LE that Blizzard puts out is worth picking up. Just awesome.

- The Halo 2 LE has a cool metallic case and bonus DVD for just $5 more than the standard edition. Very nice.

Good and bad
- Competing extras. If you pre-ordered Resident Evil 4 from EB, you got a special behind the scenes DVD. Doing the same from Gamestop yielded a special tin case and limited card (although the tin did have a fat, unattractive “Gamestop” logo plastered on it). It makes no sense to buy two copies of the game just to get both extras. That tough on the fans for sure.

- I’ve griped about the Half-Life 2 LE before and it’s worth mentioning again, it was total crap. At least the one you bought in a store. Getting the game on DVD, a lousy shirt, and snippets of the guide and art book do not warrant $30 extra. Bah!

For those interested in the Shanna post, here are a ton of preview pages to get you going.


monkey said...

What the industry needs is more limited editions for DVDs that contain awesome extras, and not just extras discs. Video extras are fine and all, but what if, say, those Lord of the Rings disc sets had come with some art books with some of the classic art associated with the series from the Hildebrandts, or... I don't know, anything but more documentaries?

And let's not get into the awesome Alien set...

But getting back to the subject of game extras, it looks like the Japanese release philosophy (put out a limited edition for pretty much anything) might be leaking over to the US more and more.

The main problem: I remember talking to the newly formed Nippon Ichi America at E3, and they said that Limited Editions for PS2 games are really hard to swing, because of Sony of America's shelf space requirements. Boxes aren't supposed to be any taller than other boxes, and aren't supposed to be wider than any boxes either. A small company with a niche audience like NI can't pull the same stunt as Namco in this case with its near-guaranteed million seller, which is extremely unfortunate. Nippon Ichi produces really good limited editions...

Wataru Maruyama said...

You're point about DVDs makes me remember something else I was going to comment on. On one hand, DVD extra discs are far better than bonus content we've gotten with games. Great behind the scenes docs and extra footage, etc.

On the other hand, the LE abuse for DVDs is terrible. Almost every LE or CE for DVD comes out after a "normal" version has been out for a while. At least game LE's come out at the same time so the consumer has a choice. This is only going to get worse as the high def formats start rolling around. I figure I might have bought the same movie at least six times over various formats. said...

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