Today I found out that I had no hope of getting my hands on the collectors edition of Grand Theft Auto V. I never had a chance. You could say that I was pretty annoyed and didn’t handle the news too well. I am a big fan of the GTA series and Rockstar. One of my favorite things is my Rockstar keyring that I got with the GTA IV Special Edition along with the GTA IV safety deposit box.
On Thursday, Rockstar showed off the Special and Collectors editions of GTA V. Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited about the Collectors edition and the security deposit bag with key that is included with it.
The Rockstar website has all the information about these limited editions, but on the website and on Facebook and twitter it said price to be confirmed and pre-order link coming soon. I thought nothing of it, and was happy to wait for further announcements.
On Friday, EB Games, the only video game retail specialist operating Australia wide, released details on the pricing and availability of the special edition, the version without the cool stuff that I want. The special edition is listed as an EB exclusive, meaning that you can not buy it anywhere else in the country. There was no word on the collectors edition.
I tried reaching out to EB on twitter and Facebook to find out if they would be stocking the collectors edition, but I received no answer. Today I found out from some people on Facebook, that the collectors edition is extremely limited in stock and that all copies had already been allocated. This surprised me. When GTA IV was released allocations of the collectors edition were quite high and the retail video game store I worked at had plenty to go around.
After some more research into this, I discovered that the collectors edition of GTA V never became available for pre-order. What happened was, the people who already had a pre-order for the game with a minimum deposit of $50 were allocated a copy. Fair enough.
Well, no not really. Sure, it was the best option for EB as a company to distribute the available stock and I don’t blame them. So I got to thinking, what is to blame?
First off, consumers shouldn’t have to pre-order a game so far in advance to hope they get the super-duper ultra special collectors edition. As soon as a game is announced, it becomes available for pre-order. This means the 32 copies that my local EB Games were allocated, more than likely went to the people who pre-ordered over a year ago. Should we really have to be that prepared? Should we really have to order that far in advance? No.
A good reason why we shouldn’t have to put down such a premature deposit, especially of a rather high denomination is that we have no idea about the future of a company. Recently in Australia we saw the collapse of GAME, a competing video games retail specialist. When the company went into administration customers could not receive a refund of any kind. This meant that anyone with a pre-order was royally screwed out of their money. They paid a deposit, or in some cases the full amount for a false promise of a game they would never receive.
I’m not saying EB Games is going to shut down and fail as a business like GAME, but really who knows? If I have to put down $50 a year in advance… Anything could happen in a year.
The video game retail industry is also an issue. With EB being the only specialist chain, they get quite a lot of exclusives on pre-order deals. If there were more retail stores perhaps we wouldn’t see such issues with collectors editions. If there are two stores stocking the game, that doubles our chances of getting a copy.
And Rockstar… Not innocent in this either. Allocations have been horrible to Australia. I can order a collectors edition from Gamestop in the US, Canada Ireland, Spain or Germany. GAME in the UK has it available. Mighty Ape in New Zealand and a few different websites in Belgium, France, Netherlands and Poland also have allocations available.
Sure, I can go ahead and Import a copy from our over priced neighbors in New Zealand. I can even order a copy from GAME in the UK. But then I would be over paying. Importing should not have to be the only choice in this. Not only is it more expensive but the waiting time for delivery also sucks.
At first I didn’t understand why Rockstar gave EB the Collectors edition exclusive. I’m sure it comes down to deals between the company and publishers etc. but I can’t help but feel like it was also to try and cover up the lack of availability of the collectors edition in Australia.
When striking up the deal with EB, surely Rockstar would have know how many pre-orders there were for the game already. Knowing that they were only going to allocate a small number of copies to Australia, they could hide this by giving them all to EB and having them unavailable the moment it was announced.
If Australia had a larger retail sector for video games this might not have happened. More stores could lead to more demand and more demand would mean more allocations and more allocations would not lead to exclusivity to one retailer to hide small allocations.
Surely this can’t be the case though right? Maybe Rockstar didn’t realise they under allocated. Maybe they will see that all copies were already sold before they were even announced and more will be allocated? Possibly Australia is viewed as such a small piece of the pie, that allocating more would be a waste and those extra units are served better in other regions.
I dunno. I just wanted the cool stuff to go with my game. Sure I’m disheartened by this, but I’m still gonna get GTA V. It will be my most played game for quite some time, just like GTA IV was my most played game on PS3 and Xbox 360.
Who knows. Maybe the extra goodies will be available in the Rockstar store one day.