Exclusive Exclusions

There is an increasing trend happening with games that I’m not too happy about. I seem to have been more annoyed about it with past occurrences so I’m either getting used to this fiasco or have given up caring; I’m referring to the so called exclusive offers that games come with nowadays.

There are a few different ways these so called exclusives can happen and more and more it’s how the games are sold in shops. If you look at the current Pre Order thread in this forum, you will see a number of offers that both HMV and GAME have for us consumers whenever you pre-order your copy of a game within those stores. Obviously they are arranging such offers to entice you to place your order with them so that they can sell more copies and make as much profit as possible and, as a business plan, this makes sense for the retailers but games aren’t created for the retailer, they are created for gamers to play and enjoy.

Yet with this ‘arrangement’ of exclusive offers it means that we, the consumers, have to pick one bonus over another. I don’t know about you but I would like to have all the extras available in a game and not have to be excluded from anything just because the retailers want to make profit. Some special editions however are tied to one retailer as well; if you wanted Splinter Cell Conviction with the Sam Fisher statue you had to go to GAME, if you wanted the Modern Warfare 2 Prestige edition with night vision goggles you had to buy it from HMV and if you want the upcoming Fallout New Vegas special edition you have to go to GAME or GameStop.

Fallout New Vegas also has a different bonus pack containing armour, weapon and accessories depending on where you get your copy of the game from, with different items available from GAME, Gamestation, Play or Amazon. I’m sure you will be able to get the other items in the game eventually, but that’s not the point.

One example of a bonus only being exclusive to one version of the game is with Batman Arkham Asylum where it was only the PS3 version that came with the ability to play as The Joker in the challenge maps. Or how about Soul Calibur IV with the additional character available depending on which format you bought the game for, with Yoda in the Xbox 360 version and Darth Vader in the PS3 version. Now I’m not a big fan of the fighting genre of games so this didn’t affect me, but the thought of not being able to play as all the characters available in the game is crazy. As it turned out, these extra characters were only exclusive to the relevant console for a period of time and are now available for the other console BUT you have to pay for them, so Darth Vader will cost you 400 Microsoft Points on Xbox 360 while Yoda will cost £3.19 on PS3. I’d be fine with the games having exclusive characters at launch, but if the characters are already included in the game’s code then why should you pay for the characters after the timed exclusivity period is up.

It just seems to me that us gamers are having to choose to sacrifice one offer in favour of another whereas I would like to have access to all content especially if I am a fan of a specific game. When Fallout 3 came out, I had to choose whether I wanted the special edition with the Brotherhood Of Steel figure or the Lunchbox and Bobblehead edition unless I wanted to buy two copies of the game and so I chose the figurine but I would still like the bobblehead. There’s also a danger that you could miss out on a particular exclusive because you weren’t aware that you could only get a specific extra if you picked up your copy of a game from a certain retailer.

Perhaps I’m making more of this than necessary but I would like to be able to buy a game and get all the extra features from any store, rather than having to pick and choose or possibly miss out because I haven‘t checked every shop or online site. I wouldn’t object if the additional bonuses were exclusive to pre ordering your copy of the game but was the same in every shop so at least the retailers would have an idea of how many copies of a game they think they would need to order in, customers would learn that pre ordering gets you a bonus and it would hopefully encourage more people to do so.

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  1. Iain says:

    I hate this too. I only have a Gamestation in our town so unless I want to either buy online and get it delivered (which I hate doing) or travel to the next town to pick up my special edition, I’m fucked. Gamestation hardly ever get the good pre order exclusives either.

  2. Edward Edward says:

    I agree so much with this. It’s bad enough you have to pick one over the other, but then have to decide which extra you can never see again. It basically effs over the people they want to entice most, the gamer.

  3. Ben Ben says:

    ” I would like to be able to buy a game and get all the extra features from any store”

    That’s pretty much how I feel too, yet sadly I think the whole retailer roulette game is only going to get worse and worse as time goes by.

  4. Lorna Lorna says:

    I’m going to go against the grain and say that I don’t find it that bad. Yes, it is frustrating, however, they need to make money somehow and with so much competition out there, especially from internet retailers, they can hardly be faulted for trying to come up with some way of getting extra sales. With the advent of digital downloads threatening proper boxed copies as it is, this attempt to get people to spend money with their business is entirely understandable. Frankly, I’d rather have too much choice than no choice. I think we’re too spoilt as gamers nowadays :)

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Ok, here are my two cents worth… I’m a collector, and always have been. If a single version of something comes out, the vanilla version if you will, then I get bored and expect more because it just smacks of laziness from the manufacturer. It annoys me that there are hardly any awesome exclusive sets within the gaming industry and there’s nothing to entice you into buying one edition over the other unless it’s just something that can be used in-game rather than a tangible collectible that you can have out on display.

    When I was a record collector, I would buy the same album from however many countries released it with a different cover from the UK release. Even if that meant buying the same album twenty times, just because the Japanese version may have had different liner notes or the German version had a slightly different logo. I was a fan and a devoted collector, therefore I wanted… no… NEEDED… every variation available. The same goes for my DVD collection, where I have perhaps six different versions of the original Star Wars Trilogy because it came out in different packaging in different stores and from different countries. I don’t regret those purchases, as they were my way of showing support for the franchise (someone has to keep Lucas in flannel shirts) and I enjoy having the various versions out on display.

    What Lorna said is also true though, that retailers these days are fighting a hell of a battle hanging on to custom… look at GAME yesterday announcing that they were closing another 85 stores (probably all in the same city, if the respawning of GAME stores in Glasgow is anything to go by) because they can’t compete with the failing market at the moment. If they have to strike up a deal with the developer to have specific content made available only to their customers in order to stay in business and perpetuate the gaming industry then I’m all for it.

    To make it fair on everyone though, what I WOULD like to see in the future is an indie-specific release where the developers agree to keep a particular special edition AWAY from the big names such as Amazon, Play, GAME, Gamestation etc and reserve those copies for the independent retailers so that people who may normally have walked past G-Force in Glasgow and head straight for GAME would have no choice but to support their local independent retailer if they wanted a particular special ed.

    Either way, we all have a choice… we either buy all the special editions or we don’t, but there’s nothing wrong with having specific content available only through certain retailers. It’s business… it’s their USP for that particular game.

  6. Kat says:

    I don’t tend to get exclusive/limited/collectors editions so this is yet to affect me however I can see how it could grate on someone’s nerves if there’s two different copies of a game, both with different collectible goodies. Most of us aren’t made of money after all. Good rant indeed :)

  7. MrCuddleswick says:

    The in-game exclusives don’t bother me that much, but I think it’s a little more trying with physical goodies.

    But, it’s mostly tat anyway so what are you going to do.

  8. Rook says:

    I understand the retailers wanting to attract more customers and offering choice is a good way to do i, but I don’t like missing out on a collectible especially with a game I am keen on. I recall @Markuz mentioning the different special editions of Two Worlds Two each with some different things, and I would like to have it all but don’t want to have to buy two versions of the game,

    HMV have a way to entice customers to buy from them by offering free 800 Microsoft points for a game bought on Xbox 360 or a free specific bluray movie for a game bought on PS3; not on all games but there have been quite a few. I like this approach more as the extra enticement is not a game realted colelctible but more a store incentive. It means I don’t have to choose between Zombrex / 8inch(ish Zombie figure or night vision goggles / Soap McTavish figure.

    Some different opinions here and there will never be a rule to appease everybody, this is just my gripe as there are some games that have different collectibles for different editions and I want them all (Brotherhood Of Steel figure / vault boy bobblehead). Maybe I’m just grteedy. :)

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