This generation of gaming has seen a monumental shift in the way we play video games and what video games we play. The latest generation of consoles allow for all ranges of video game developers to publish their games to the consoles storefronts. From huge budget AAA titles from your household name developers like Rockstar and Ubisoft, to the small 2 man team games that can afford to develop from crowdfunding or kickstarter.
These smaller indie games are releasing more frequently digitally, but for someone who is old fashioned and afraid to let go of the past, it’s quite troublesome to get these games when they do eventually get physical releases due to the low volume of prints of the games thanks to the costs that would be involved to get mass prints of them in the same volume as AAA games.
There are plenty of outlets doing stellar work however in releasing some big indie releases physically. Such as Limited Run Games, Special Reserve, Strictly Limited and many more, but the problem is within the name of these outlets. They are all limited in print. Some of these games only get 2500 copies physically printed.
As someone who wants to collect these great indie games in physical form, it can be really quite a stressful process. And it’s actually quite annoying too.
As indie games continue to thrive on platforms, their popularity is ever growing and the recognition they deserve is finally becoming apparent too, especially evident at the Game Awards where the big prize for Game of the Year featured breakout hit Celeste up against the big boys of Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War. As these games continue to gain popularity, you would think that the ease in which they could be released as physical editions would increase, but it would appear not.
Celeste collector editions went on sale via Limited Run Games on January 1st 2019. From what I can see on Twitter they were sold out within seconds with some complaints that by the time pay details were added to the payment page, upon hitting submit, the game had already gone out of stock. I did manage to get a pre-order in for a PS4 and Switch version thankfully as I never intended to attempt a collectors edition of the game. I legitimately wanted a standard copy to open and actually play, rather than sit on a shelf gathering value.
And this is another part of the frustration I have. Because these games are only every created in small batches, and to be honest aren’t the cheapest when ordering from the UK ($15 for shipping from the States) I can’t keep up with the release calendars that they have of a game or two every week. I have to prioritise which to get. This sucks. Rain World went onto Limited Run Games in December for PS4. A game I’d be incredibly keen to have in my physical collection and a game I have interest in playing, but because Celeste was coming New Year’s day I waited for that.
If I were to look for Rain World on eBay now, well, you can guess what the story is.
I hear you, “It’s not hard to buy a game a week?”… uhhh, yeah it is. “Yeah but they’re only £5-£10 digitally”, Great, but you miss the point of this rant completely in which I say I’m all about physical gaming media and will be for as long as there is the option.
There was one other rant I had about a game that went to Limited Run Games. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. That’s right, Jak and Daxter, who were a staple franchise in PlayStation’s first party line up during the PS2 and PS3 years. Games that were easily available to purchase and play. Well they’re getting released physically on PS4, but rather than mass produce in the way that Crash N.Sane Trilogy or Spyro Reignited are they got a limited release with LRG. I can’t complain as I did manage to secure my copy, but it is still a tad frustrating that even once large platform mascots from one of the best know developers are seeing limited releases.
I guess the point of the rant I’m trying to get across is, why can’t these indie games be put into mass production as we are now clearly seeing a greater interest in indie games this generation. I appreciate it’s not cheap, but there are some great publishers such as 505 Games and Sold Out Sales and Marketing that are happily sharing the burden and releasing some smaller games to great success. It’s not all bad, some great indie games are getting mass produced such as Stardew Valley and Prison Architect which I’ve amassed stupid amounts of hours into. I’d just like to see some of these incredible games be easier to attain in a physical format and not a frantic 30 seconds of refreshing a website and sitting in a queue with debit card in hand ready to type numbers down as fast as possible.
Fortunately for the most part, the games I’ve been aware of their release and wanted, I’ve managed to pick up when the countdown hits zero on their release page, and I hope I can continue to be as fortunate going forwards. But I’m pretty gutted to have missed out on picking up games that did get releases long before I was aware of such outlets selling them such as Odd World: New & Tasty and Shadow Complex, which now If I were to splash money on, would be upwards of £100 on eBay.