You know what... I'm just sick of this now. I'm tired of gamers being taken for a ride when it comes to their hobby, and especially when it comes round to wallet-gouging them for collector's editions like the recently unveiled Mass Effect Legendary Cache, which is legendary in name only.
I mean, we've all seen it, right? The special edition that promises the Earth and then, when it is actually delivered, is revealed to have been a colossal wallet-gouge, with a few pieces of plastic and paper on top of the game itself somehow dressed up to look like hundreds of dollars of spend.
But the Mass Effect Legendary Cache takes things to an entire new level. That's because it boxes up some plastic, paper and a metal tin, and then demands $149.99 (opens in new tab) of gamers' cash for the privilege. I mean, it doesn't even have the dignity of including the actual game itself.
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Yes, that's right. This is a collector's edition that doesn't even include the actual video game. Although it is interesting to note that on the promotional image above that is not noted, and instead we get to see the back of the included steelbook. Steelbooks, and especially steelbooks in very expensive special editions, contain games right? No, as the Mass Effect Legendary Cache collector's edition shows, they don't.
So, to be clear, that's $149.99 spent and an empty steelbook to look at, open, see there is no game inside, feel massive buyer's remorse that you've been taken for a ride, and then put back on the shelf.
Oh, and that $149.99 price point – that may be valid in the United States, with this legendary collector's edition delivered for free, but for Mass Effect fans outside of the United States that isn't the case. Based in the UK and fancy emptying your wallet for a plastic helmet, empty steelbook and a few pieces of paper? Well then, you better be prepared for 'flat rate shipping' of a further $75.
So, with that shipping option added in, passionate Mass Effect fans in the UK are actually staring down the barrel of $224.99, not $150.
Oh, but wait. At least you've got a digital code for the game, right? OK, cool. Gamers can just put the included digital code for the game in the steelbook and then pretend it's a collector's edition game disc instead, before going on to enjoy the game on PC or console.
No, wrong. That's because this legendary collector's edition doesn't even include that. To be very clear, there is no game of any format in the Mass Effect Collector's Edition box.
And that means that gamers who own the Legendary Cache and actually want to play the Mass Effect Legendary Edition game need to then go and buy it on top of the collector's edition. The price for the Mass Effect Legendary Edition game? On Steam right now the game is up for pre-order at $59.99 in the US, and £54.99 in the UK, with the UK price converting into dollars at $74.69.
As such, the full price for a gamer in the UK to buy the Legendary Cache and a copy of the game itself is a bank balance breaking $299.68. That is just cents short of a cool $300. That's the same price as the next-gen Xbox Series S console.
Even if you are are based in the United States and qualify for free shipping, buying both the Legendary Cache and the game itself will set you back $209.98. And I don't know about you, but to me that is a lot of money.
Now, look, I realise that collector's editions come at a premium, and that they also tend to be made in just one facility somewhere in the world, so not everyone can get the cheapest postage rates. And I also realise that the centerpiece of the Legendary Cache, the N7 helmet replica, despite being made out of plastic does look like it has a good fit and finish applied (the making of blog shows that clearly (opens in new tab)).
However, to me the Mass Effect Legendary Cache has set a new low precedent for video game collector's editions, as it shows that certain publishers clearly think they can get away with not including the actual game in them and gamers will still buy them, before then emptying their wallets even further for the game itself.
This is, for a lot of gamers, a $224.99 Mass Effect collector's edition with no game. Seriously, there is no game. No game is included in the box, digital or otherwise. There is no game. Just keep saying that to yourself as you prepare to empty your bank balance.
But hey, at least you've got that N7 Acceptance Letter piece of paper, right?
No, in reality, I think a new low precedent has just been set and, in the case of the Mass Effect Legendary Cache, BioWare has gone full Renegade.