The once (and potentially future) “Worst Company in America” strikes again.
This week was a good one for Mass Effect fans, for the most part at least. After years of anticipation and months of mystery, the next installment in the series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, now has an official (and by the looks of it, very concrete) release date. And with the date being a mere two months away, I’m sure many of the franchise’s fans were rushing to pre-order their copy of the game as fast as humanely possible. And when they did so, they probably noticed three different versions of the game available for sale: a “Standard” edition, a “Deluxe” edition, and a “Collector’s Edition.” This is a very common three tier system for video game releases nowadays, and I’m sure gamers have some idea what to expect when they go to purchase the upper tier versions of their most anticipated games.
But, upon closer look, you’ll probably notice that something is not quite right with the top dog edition of the game, dubbed the “Collector’s Edition.” On the surface, it seems to come with the usual — a steelbook case and a pretty spiffy looking “physical” object, in this case a controllable replica of the Nomad vehicle that is one of the main modes of transportation in the game. A Collector’s Edition coming with such a replica has been the standard for over a decade now, from the Master Chief helmet that came with the Halo 3 Legendary Edition in 2007, to the Pip Boy replica that came with Fallout 4 Special Edition just last year. But the Collector’s Edition for Mass Effect: Andromeda does forego a typical standard of these premium editions.
The actual fucking game.
Because, if you read the description of the Collector’s Edition for Mass Effect: Andromeda on Amazon, you’ll notice the following:
Yes, Mass Effect: Andromeda is not actually included on the Collector’s Edition of Mass Effect: Andromeda. To explain how extremely stupid that actually is, let’s break this down grammatically: in the phrase “Mass Effect: Andromeda Collector’s Edition,” Collector’s Edition is clearly acting as a adjective modifying the object that is Mass Effect: Andromeda. The modifying term “Collector’s Edition” is used to highlight a different version of Mass Effect: Andromeda than the normal one: that’s how words work. If said Collector’s Edition does not actually feature Mass Effect: Andromeda, then what the fuck is it a Collection Edition OF? Is Mass Effect: Andromeda just a term to describe the IDEA of the game? No, it’s a fucking concrete product that can come in many different edition! Strip away the actual product that relates to the term, and “Collector’s Edition” is apropos of nothing.
Oh, and also it’s a dirty, dirty move targeted to trick people into paying for something without actually getting the product they are looking for. So that’s pretty bad too.
Selling this as a Collector’s Edition of the game is like selling someone a Collector’s Edition movie ticket for Star Wars: Rogue One, and leading them into an empty room with no chairs or screen — hey, all they did was buy a TICKET. If they want to actually view the film, they have to purchase it separately: this “Collector’s Edition” of Rogue One is only good for a shiny, lenticular version of the ticket. But hey, you can control the ticket with your fucking iPhone though, so totally worth the $200!
Which really is the dirtiest part about the whole thing: taken alone, the price of the Mass Effect: Andromeda Collector’s Edition (if you still feel like we can logically call it that) is a whopping $200. That’s a hefty price for a Collector’s Edition in general, nonetheless one that’s also asking for you to pay $60 more for the thing you actually want. By comparison, the Halo 3 Legendary Edition (which, in addition to the Replica Helmet, came with a shit load of other goodies too) retailed for about $129. The Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition (which came with working night vision goggles) launched for $150 in ’09, and at the time was even criticized for such a large price point. Flash forward eight years, and now EA is expecting you to pay $50 more for something that is worth $60 less. It’s greedy, it’s asinine, it’s despicable — and it’s absolutely, 100% EA Games.
Because, don’t forget: this is the company that was ranked “Worst Company in America” by consumers not just once, but TWICE. They ranked worse than BP and Bank of America, companies that cause actual damage to the world, for Pete’s sake! Clearly consumers have been wise to EA’s dirty practices in the past, and responded in kind. After all, this isn’t new to EA: they have been finding way to gyp consumers for years. Heck, this isn’t even the first time EA has tried THIS PARTICULAR PRACTICE: just last year, Battlefield 1 also launched with a phony “Collector’s Editon,” which means this is not just a singular stupid move from the company: it’s an attempt at a new trend. And I for one won’t just let them play gamers (no pun intended) as though we’re too stupid to notice. Because we noticed this bullshit in years past, EA — you can bet you’re ass we’ll notice again.
It’s been just four years since EA was last given the status of Worst Company in America, and since then they have been working diligently on correcting their horrid public image. But in terms of fixing their consumer-deceiving business practices? Clearly they have a long fucking way to go.