Who has been so read by reading our section dedicated to Team and the relative brief descriptions of each of us, will have been able to see my passion for the Collector's Edition. In this article I will try to share with you tips, "tricks" and considerations that I have acquired in my years of collecting to help you buy more effectively.
Let's start with the features that each Collector's Edition has (or at least should) and that should influence us on the final purchase decision.
1) The rarity, which I decide to put first because in my opinion the most important feature.
2) Beauty: the contents and the particularities offered are fundamental motivations in choosing one Collector's rather than another.
3) The cost: as you will know the collector's editions cost more, if not more, than the normal editions of the same game. Even among the Collector's, however, there are the most expensive and the most affordable ones.
4) Personal interest: obviously you will be more inclined to spend a hundred or more euros for a chapter of your favorite saga than for a game you don't like.
It is on these four points, now, that I will argue my consequent considerations and my (hopeful) advice.
Let's start from the first point: the rarity. Although having to be by definition the essential quality of every Collector's Edition, all too often it is now missing, making these editions only a money-trap trap for fans who would like to have something unique but, in the end, it is not so unique.
How to recognize so a potentially rare product from one that isn't? The very high price (over one hundred and thirty euros), is often a guarantee also for the impossibility of many to have it. Video games exclusively for a single platform usually have a proper Collector's edition (see inFamous 2, the various Halo). It must EXPRESSLY be called “Collector's Edition”: synonyms such as Special (Limited can still represent something very limited) are often misleading and do not guarantee an actual uniqueness. In fact, some games have both “Special” and “Collector's” editions. In general, when the gadgets are reproductions of game objects and not just statues, we are faced with a good Collector's. Taking these variables into consideration, the only certainty is given by the manufacturers: some ALWAYS churn out collectible material, others just worthless junk.
I take this opportunity to finally move one criticism due and sacrosanct to a specific company: Ubisoft. Their CE, before the advent of those available ONLY online from the Ubishop, were (and still are) only a mockery, referring specifically to those of Assassin's Creed that I myself bought up to Black Flag, Watch Dogs and also the various Farcry. This "scam" will be the subject of my next article, meanwhile all we need is to know that everything is rare. Findable months after their release and perhaps at half the price, they have always caused me deep disappointment. A big applause, instead, to the Blizzard: always fantastic contents and contained prices in comparison to the average, they are for the other hand actually unique and if you want to grab a copy of it you have to book them with great advance. The rarity, moreover, is ascertainable by their price with which they are put on the market, by private individuals, months or years after their exit. The higher the rarity the higher the price: go and see on eBay how much the EC currently costs Skyrim. Conversely, the others will find you with little price and little ambition.
Besides the rarity, another fundamental characteristic is the beauty of the contents. Fortunately, usually one implies the other, so if you find yourself something epic in your hands (a Pip-Boy, for example) is probably rare too.
Let's move on now to the cost. Starting from the assumption that there is no price that holds in front of something really fantastic (CE of The Witcher 3, CE of GTA V, for example) for many it could be difficult to get to buy one or more CE, especially for collectors ( me included), so I'll tell you a few tricks learned through experience. According to the rarity parameters described above, avoid buying a product that could remain on the market at a lower price (unless you particularly like it and don't want to risk it). Some things are unpredictable, (Hitman Absolution or God of War 3 found months later at half price) but as a rule you only buy those Collector's must-haves or those you care about. Another method worthy of note is to try to pass, occasionally, from the Gamestop more out of reach of your city: either because it might not have sold the ones you book, or because many people don't know that sometimes the warehouses find themselves some pieces in the lost times which then randomly sort between the various shops, becoming real occasions (a Metal Gear Solid CE: 4 only fifteen euros found a few months ago, at the unavailable exit). As a last chance, even e-commerce can go well: especially eBay often offers unavailable gems at affordable prices.
The last point, finally, is the most personal and least questionable of all, but for a collector like me (I bought the Gran Turismo 5 CE while not only caring because it was at a great price) and for those who intend to earn something by doing buy / sell the advice is this: if you come across a sought-after security at a price that is actually convenient, Buy it. If you do not like it or maybe you have two, you can resell it for a few tens of euros more.
Concluding, if you miss a definite (and unrecognizable) title for your collection, as well as attempting luck at Gamestop once in a while, I recommend independent shops, that we should a priori attend more but that in these cases can also contain a real treasure for collectors.