The Value of a Video Game: Part 1

Often, one would wonder - how much is a video game worth? For the purposes of this post, and the many after it: let's talk about the value of Halo 3 Collector's Edition. For the first part, let's just look at the visible value your money pays for when you buy this particular game. When Halo 3 was released, the RRP for it's collector's edition was AUD109.95 (if I am not mistaken). Being the shrewd customer, I took advantage of certain market mispricings and a certain trade-in promotion to get hold of my copy for a lot less than that. But that's not the point.

So let's have a look at what you pay for:

  1. Nice plastic cover for the case.
  2. A painted steel case emblazoned with the Halo 3 logo.
  3. Halo 3 Game Disc (this is why you bought the game after all)
  4. A Halo Bestiarum - hard cover book with nicely laid out information on Halo 3's races
  5. Halo 3 Manual
  6. A folded controls cheat sheet/poster
  7. 48-hour XBox Live Gold Trial Membership
  8. Halo 3 Essentials Disc One (with Making of and other videos)

(The photo is just meant to give you an idea of what's inside :P )

So just look at the box, that's the tangible goods you pay for - 2 discs, a steel case, and many many printed sheets of paper - some more valuable than others.

Let's put aside the two discs for a while. Do you see value in the other 6 items?

Some people don't - but I do. The plastic cover may feel stupid - but it is the one with all the details, the nice artwork for the logo, and overall completes the package for retail sale. A lot better than Halo 2's plastic cover mind you.A lot of people are attracted to the steel case - and so am I. The steel case is black, which makes it look sleek - and it's got a big stylized number 3 on it so you know what it is. Ths case is what makes it special and stand out from all the other XBox 360 games in their typical green DVD cases.

The Halo Bestiarum is simply somewhat a small hardcover book filled with info and pictures of the races in Halo 3 and brings you a little up to speed with what's been going on if you haven't been to the world of HAlo before. The Halo 3 Manual is what you'd expect, the mandatory manual. As much as I make it sound like that - I value the manual highly. A game without its manual is significantly less valuable to me, since I buy games mostly for collection purposes. A manual gives it completeness - not to mention it is more often than not, good fun to read. Some games come with thin manuals which are extremely lacking - which I do not like. Thin manuals to me feel sloppy and convey a message that the game doesn't have enough depth or features to put into a manual, or that the company was just plain stingy. We paid for the game - we deserve a fair thickness manual together with it.

Controls cheat sheets are very normal nowadays - but this one happens to be a nice poster all well, which is a nice touch - I don't use it, I don't use posters, but having it around makes one happy that one bought the game. The 48-hour trial was worthless and still is worthless to most people - it's more of an advertising ploy - some later games came with a more generous one week or one month trial - which is a lot more valuable.

OK - back to the discs. Now, I'm from Malaysia. Piracy is rampant there. I am used to not caring about copyright, acquiring counterfeit discs, and all other nonsense normally associated with a typical Malaysian. If there's one thing you learn - it's that original games and discs come with nice fancy manuals - some people make take these for granted: I do not. I think it's extremely important that you make originals look nice and fancy.

Good looking discs make game publishers look good, they make consumers happy as well. The Halo 3 discs are no different - they look beautiful and well thought out. The discs are a pleasure to look at, not to mention play in my XBox 360 - carrying the Microsoft XBox 360 holograms. On the other hand, some original discs look like crap. Wii discs for one are usually ugly - and PS2 games suffer similar treatment. I find it unacceptable original discs look worse than pirated discs. Effort to make your discs look nice do go a long way to making people convert. I like having presentable discs.