When Should You Buy a Collector's Edition Video Game?

Are limited/special edition video games worth the price? Get advice from a thrifty gamer.

Collector's Edition video games have become huge in the last few years - the most epic in recent memory being the Loot Chest Edition of Borderlands 2. Although after watching this unboxing of The Elder Scrolls Imperial Edition the Loot Chest may have a rival (I really like the statue).

 If you're a HUGE FAN of a title/series, picking up a collector's edition of a video game makes sense. However, as cool as some of these limited edition games look, I always have to sit myself down and ask "Is it really worth it" before buying. Here's a few questions to help the process. 

Will I ever use this stuff?

I bought the Mass Effect 3 Collector's edition when it came out (I'm a huge Mass Effect fangirl, so I didn't take the time to think my purchase through. ), netting me some free in-game items as well as a 70-page artbook, a mini-comic, a 4x6 lithograph, and a N7 fabric patch. A couple of years later, I still have all of those items....in the box. I ended up buying the bigger artbook and all the comics separately, and I still have no idea what to do with the lithograph and the N7 patch.

Imagine if you had actually gotten the Borderlands 2 Loot Chest. That chest looks large enough that it wouldn't display well anywhere in the house, and what are you going to do with all of those postcards, field notes and stickers? Probably throw them away or break them on accident. 

If you like displaying video game paraphanelia around your house you probably already have plans for what you're going to do with each piece of a collector's edition. If you don't know, don't get it. 

Is it Worth the Money?

Since my Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition came with free DLC and in-game items, I ultimately didn't end up spending too much extra since I would have bought the DLC anyway. Extra digital content can sometimes make up the price of a Collector's edition. 

That's not always the case, but as long as you were going to purchase the DLC later on, it is often worth paying a little extra. However, if you're not planning on paying for DLC and you don't care about extra in-game items - then a Collector's Edition is probably not worth the extra money. 

Is the Game Itself Worth Paying Full-Price For?

I don't oven buy my games at full price. I typically wait 3-6 months later for them to get marked down into the $30-$40 range until I will consider purchasing it. This is for two reasons: I'm cheap, and I'm waiting to see if the game is actually good. 

Can you imagine paying $150 for the Borderlands 2 Loot Crate and then for some reason, the game completely flopping?? I would feel extremely foolish about the money wasted. In fact, I'm sure many people that bought the Aliens: Colonial Marines limited edition felt this way. 

 Aliens: Colonial Marines was panned as one of the worst games ever - barely getting a 45 on metacritic. You start playing the game, realize how terrible it is, and then the Xenomorph/Powerloader figurine starts taunting your from your bookshelf.

Instead of wasting your money and being mocked by inanimate objects, you could have waited to see how the game was received, then picked up the collector's edition for $25 after nobody wanted to touch the game.That's what I ended up doing, and my Xenomorph/Powerloader sits on my desk complimenting me on my wise purchasing decisions. Win win. 

Worth it? Probably Not.

 Ultimately, it comes down to logically thinking these issues through without letting yourself get swept away by the hype. I know it's hard, the hype-machine is strong and begs you to surrender to it, but stay strong and don't waste your money.  

Published Apr. 10th 2014
  • [[Deleted]]
    Valid points here.

    I've been buying less and less collectors items, mainly due to the fact of my ever expanding 1 of a kind items I keep getting like my Gears of War Tactical Rescue knife complete with dom's tag line "Sup B...." Engraved on one side of the blade and the logo on the other or my Lightning Returns hoodie.

    The last one I bought would be the Tales of Xillia Collectors edition because it came with that sweet Milla Maxwell statue that's currently residing next to my center speaker of my entertainment unit.

    If they come with something physically interesting that I will use I'll buy it, but im done pre-ordering and buying collectors editions for free "exclusive" dlc content like outfits since its only a month or so before they become available on the marketplace anyways. (Like the summoners Garb from FFXIII-2, was a EBGames "Exclusive" but it was up 3 days after game launch for 1.99CDN)

    Good Swag I've Gotten Includes
    - Mirrors Edge Messenger Bag- I wore it out and as soon as I get the zipper fixed it'll be my favorite bag again.
    - Gears of War 3 Toque - this is an awesome giveaway item since it fits 90% of people, and being Canadian... can't say no to a free toque eh?
    - Gears of War 2 - Lancer Keychain - I actually use this as counter weight for my Tea ball to stop the entire thing from falling into my Lightning Returns tumbler, so I use it 3-4 times everyday.
    - Tales of Xilla Milla Statue, Star Ocean till the end of Time Nel figure, Gears of War 3 Adam Fenix Cog Medal, stuff that adds some spice to your entertainment stand or bookshelf is always good swagger in my book.

    Bad Swag I've Gotten
    Halo 3 - T'shirt and Stickers, the T's nice, too bad they gave me a medium that's the size of a small (never-mind the fact that I'm 6'4" >.>) and the stickers we just really ... really bad quality.
    Gears of War 3 - T'shirt - Same deal... why you'd give someone who's obviously way to tall to tall a medium is beyond me. I know L, XL , XXL and up are all like an extra 50cents to a dollar more depending on the manufacturer, still I think giving out swag that only 1 in 6 (yes i made that up) of your consumers actually fit into is just a bad idea.
    Art Books - Oh the art books, Don't get me wrong pretty art is pretty art but they make these things to be like 4"x6" and in the case of the FFX remaster... permanently bound to the game case, so now you can't even display them. I think an exclusive poster or something would be more viable myself, but that may just be me.

    And of course the worst is DLC outfits - I like new outfits don't get me wrong, but a collectors edition and or pre-order special is supposed to be a reward for being a loyal customer, It wouldn't be such a slap in the face if they didn't put "exclusive" on the front of it to build up the hype because you know it'll be up in the marketplace in relatively short order. If they actually stayed exclusive then maybe i'd be more in-tune to it.
  • DemonicSkies
    Great article! I sometimes regret not getting the Elder Scrolls Imperial edition (dat art book, man), but then I remember I preordered my game so early that I got it for $40 WITH early access and digital benefits minus the damn horse. So I'm not that sorry.

    ...but that art book.
  • Kate Reynolds
    Senior Intern
    Eh - in a lot of cases it seems like they're just going to sell an EVEN BIGGER artbook later. Such was the case with Mass Effect. Since games are getting so pretty nowadays it's like they can't help themselves.
  • DemonicSkies
    LOL, very good point. There's already a self-appointed ESO "photographer" on Facebook.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I think it really just depends on whether you consider yourself a hardcore fan of the game/franchise in question, and/or whether or not you're a true collector.

    I've never really cared about extra goodies and knickknacks and the like, but I do appreciate things like beautiful art books and interesting behind-the-scenes content. I'll only spring for it if it's a series that's VERY special to me, though.

    ...interestingly, I can't think of one right now. It used to be Final Fantasy but as I won't even buy those games anymore, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get a Collector's Edition. ;) Well, the CE of the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, certainly.
  • Kate Reynolds
    Senior Intern
    I think most of the time it does come down to being a hardcore fan - but there are those rare CE editions that are very tempting. I did get the limited edition FFX/X-2 Remaster - but that did come free with pre-order.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah, amazingly enough, I forgot to pre-order that one. Shows how much I really care about those collections, I guess. ;)
  • Proto Foe
    Senior Intern
    I am an obsessive CE collector and I'm not afraid to say it. *dances to LMAO*
  • Kate Reynolds
    Senior Intern
    Fair enough! I don't have enough money for it. Maybe if I cut out comic books from my budget...but that would be asking a lot :)
  • Proto Foe
    Senior Intern
    Oh no, never cut out comics!
  • Xavier's
    Featured Correspondent
    I have the Alien figurine in my house. Your right, every time I pass it, the damn thing laughs at the fact I purchased the expensive edition of the worst game ever.
  • Kate Reynolds
    Senior Intern
    Right? I honestly can't thing of too many complete flops like that - they seem to be few and far between at least!

New Cache - article_comments_article_13584