A collector's edition of a video game comes with two things. You have the basic game itself as well as the additional content (in the form of a special outside box, artbook, soundtrack etc). In a sense, when I buy the collector's edition of a video game I should have the standard version of the game (that all the less-fanatical people buy) and as well as the bonus stuff I'm paying anywhere from $10 to $90 more for. Wrong. Let me start off with an anecdote.
I shelled out good money for the Batman: Arkham Asylum collector's edition. While I was disappointed with all the garbage that in contained and reprimanded myself for once again falling head first into materialism I was even more disappointed with the game case itself. From a few meters away it looks like the standard case of the game but when you see it close up what you see is a cardboard "case" with a crappy pull-out cardboard disc container. Someone I know, upon seeing this, commented: "What is that? Did you print off some Batman pictures and glue them together to make a case?"
While this is one of the worst examples of this it seems that many games in a collector's edition have this problem. God of War III, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood have large icons on the back of the case that state, "NOT FOR RESALE." Thanks for that. Alan Wake chose to give me a standard, black DVD case with no Xbox 360 logo on it. Halo Reach gave me a pure black case instead of the classic green (My friend liked this particular one and I just shake my head at him).
Then there are the "steelbook" cases. Yeah the Halo Wars, Mass Effect 2, Splinter Cell Conviction and Gears of War 2 steelbook cases look "cool." But I happen to like the regular cases of these games better. Why don't I just buy the regular version? Because I want the DLC and the artbook that come with the CE and the pride of owning a "special" edition of a game. Every time I pass the regular version of Splinter Cell Conviction in a store I regret buying the collector's edition and wish I had this normal version. The one with the awesome artwork. But instead, I payed $10-20 more to receive an inferior version.
"Awww, but I like my collector's edition case to stand out." And I like punching myself in the face, what's your point? The OUTSIDE box of a collector's edition is what is supposed to stand out. That is your pride and joy. That high quality Dead Space 2 case that proudly suggests, "Dead Space 2 Collector'd Edition." On the inside I want the SAME case that all of the lesser-fanatics are buying so I can show them that I have what they have and more, that I am the true "fan."
I am very thankful that all companies do not choose to make this error. With Bioshock 2 I received the same case like everyone else (including the shiny extra cover). Dead Space 2, Fallout 3 and New Vegas and Resistance 2 didn't punish me for paying more. With these games I can place my collector's edition box on a shelf and the regular version of the box on the shelf without feeling ashamed or out of place. I can't do this with the non-standard boxes. If I put the Alan Wake case on my shelf someone would say, "What is this Alan Wake movie about?" If someone saw my God of War 3 case they might remark, "NOT FOR RESALE, haha, did you buy a bootleg copy or something?" I certainly don't even think about putting that disaster called Batman Arkham Asylum on display anywhere but at the bottom of my sock drawer.
So, O my brothers, I would hope that video game developers and producers would see my cogent argument and realize that a collector's edition should include the standard case of a game in addition to all of the things that make a collector's edition a collector's edition. Until that time I am proud to say that these terrible consumer experiences have persuaded me to NO LONGER buy collector's edition of video games.