Friday, 17 September 2010

Collector's Edition and Competition: Gameplanet Newspost

For those of you don't know, Mighty Ape used to be called the Gameplanet store before a split into two companies. I believe Gameplanet is now solely a news site and Mighty Ape is a online store. Today Gameplanet posted a news article about Mighty Ape feeling frustrated about being unable to meet demand due to larger companies holding exclusive rights to the Star Wars Force Unleashed Collector's Edition.

Gameplanet failed to mention that Simon Barton CEO of Mighty Ape is a shareholder in Gameplanet . This combined with the fact that Mighty Ape used to called Gameplanet store as well makes it seem extremely hard not to see it anything but a biased report.

To be fair it's not a big deal really. Its just a straight repost of the comments made by Mighty Ape but its good journalistic integrity to specify any and all possibility particular as the companies were at one point strongly intertwined.

This also brings me to an interesting debate is Mighty Ape's claim of competition good? In this case yes it definitely is and I agree that consumers will ultimately lose out.

In the US gaming industry however what has happened is that each retailer/publisher gets its own exclusive item(s) in their collector's edition. E.g. Gamestop gets an extra map, Steam gets 2 new character skins etc. is this giving consumers choice or ultimately making them suffer? In my opinion, the competition has caused rather silly proliferation of gimmicks in the end rather than giving consumers true choice. Who but the most fanatical fan will purchase all the collector's editions?

Game companies should be creating truly value added products rather than trying to create all these 'micro-differences'. Ultimately, customers will feel better knowing they bought the definitive "Ultimate edition" rather than the Collector's Edition of retailer XYZ. I completely understand why retailers want to create point of differences but surely there's a better way of doing it?

Update on this: Gameplanet has now posted up some clarification on their relationship. Anyway good to know that tweeting works!

They're clarifications are below:
Some comments on this story have expressed concerns about Gameplanet's relationship with Mighty Ape and a possible conflict of interest in our reporting. Gameplanet reported this story because we believe that it is local gaming news which is highly relevant to our readership. Any opinions quoted in the story are entirely those of the parties involved. Gameplanet sought comment from Sony representatives but they failed to respond before publication.

While Gameplanet and Mighty Ape have a long history of working together (Mighty Ape formerly used the Gameplanet brand under license, being known as "Gameplanet Store" until 2008), the two have always been separate companies and are operated independently with different ownership and management. Full disclosure: Mighty Ape CEO Simon Barton is a shareholder in Gameplanet.

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