As a collector, I can't stand deluxe editions of PS5 and Xbox games anymore

Diablo 4 Collectors Edition
(Image credit: Blizzard)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a hoarder when it comes to video game merchandise. Recently, however, I can’t help feeling like collectors and deluxe edition releases of large titles have become more common than standard box physical releases. I think I’m starting to get really bored of the idea of yet another deluxe edition, let alone having to find the space for the sheer amount of stuff they’ve started coming out with. 

The items included in a deluxe edition could be anything from in-game item replicas to steelbook cases, but the surprising thing is the lack of the games themselves inside. More often than not, you’ll receive all these items alongside a sheet of paper with a download code rather than a disc or a cartridge. It completely strips a collector’s edition of its purpose since the entire idea of them is to promote the game rather than overshadowing it with stuff, and I feel like it’s driving another nail into the coffin of physical sales for PS5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch

The name and shame 

God of War Ragnarok Jotnar Edition

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

When buying a collector’s edition, you’ll ideally want something that standard edition players of the game wouldn’t have access to. Whether that’s a real-life collectible item or an in-game cosmetic to encourage you to spend a little more money. 

If you really love a franchise, getting a game with a few extra bits so you can display your love seems like a reasonable thing to do. However, the amount of game releases that are skipping a physical copy of the game entirely is baffling to me and is one of the many reasons I’ve had to reign in any future purchases. 

The Jotnar Edition of God of War Ragnarok immediately springs to mind when thinking of collectors’ editions that missed the mark. It comes with every piece of merchandise any God of War fanatic could ever want, but it’s missing one vital component - an actual copy of the game. 

Of course, it comes with the box of the game and a steelbook to display, but instead of a disc, you just get a download code which I think is a cop-out. The same can be said for the release of Sonic Mania way back in 2017, which is a little more dated compared to God of War but follows the same routine of including a lavish selection of items, such as a huge Sonic statue atop a Genesis replica, but ships with just a download code even though the game got a boxed release around this time.

Sadly, collectors’ editions lacking the actual game inside are not showing any signs of slowing down, and the upcoming release of Diablo 4 is a perfect example.  Fans can now purchase the collectors’ box of Diablo 4, which offers everything from a map to a candle inside for $96.66 / £96.66 but without any version of the game included in the package at all, not even a lousy download code. It’s not an isolated incident, either. 

The release of the Mass Effect Legendary Cache from 2021 seems cool in principle, with its wearable 1:1 scale replica of the helmet being the highlight, but once again, there’s no game in sight. The box even comes with a steel case for the game, yet you don’t even get a download code. The excessive scale of collectors’ editions has made it completely lose its novelty, in my opinion, not to mention how much it increases the price of a physical copy as well. 

A false sense of scarcity 

Mass Effect Legendary Cache Collector's Edition

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Having deluxe and collectors editions released alongside almost every title has created a feeling of artificial scarcity. People like me panic and feel like they’ll completely miss out if they don’t jump to purchase. I’ve fallen victim to this a few times, feeling the need to spend money immediately on a collector's edition or limited edition release when you don’t get much out of it anymore. It’s not about the in-game content you gain access to anymore. 

Instead, it feels like a constant competition between publishers to see who can release the grandest selection of products while encouraging second-hand sellers to make a further profit off this idea of scarcity. Taking the Jotnar Edition release as an example again, the artificial scarcity the launch created resulted in scalpers re-selling the collector's edition for up to three times the retail price, according to VideoGamesChronicle

Aside from depriving fans of the opportunity to have a collector’s edition, I think this whole idea of scarcity and competition is what puts me off buying any more sets like these. Given these examples, I don’t think there’s much of a future for them anyway. 

Is this method of release sustainable? 

Sonic Mania Collectors Edition

(Image credit: Sega)

 Although I’ve always found myself avidly interested in anything vaguely limited, Collector’s and Deluxe releases are putting me off adding to the collection almost entirely. If I can’t enjoy a game alongside the items it comes with, then I don’t see the point in investing so much money into a box set that serves very little purpose outside of taking up shelf space. 

The excessive nature of collector’s editions feels like a constant competition between brands to hand out as much stuff as possible rather than focusing on selling a game, and I’m finally in a position where I can’t even entertain the thought of purchasing another collector’s edition, let alone actually afford it.  

Kara Phillips
Evergreen Writer

Kara is an Evergreen writer at TechRadar Gaming. With a degree in Journalism and a passion for the weird and wonderful, she's spent the last few years as a freelance video game journalist, with bylines at NintendoLife, Attack of the Fanboy, Prima Games, and sister publication, GamesRadar+. Outside of gaming, you'll find her re-watching Gilmore Girls or trying to cram yet another collectible onto a shelf that desperately needs some organizing.