Monday, January 22, 2007

Burning Crusade Losing Its Flame?

It was a few days before World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade's release, and everyone was stoked. People were frantically scouring website after website, calling countless stores, and maybe even setting up some black market deals to ensure they got their hands on a copy.

Then there were those who pre-ordered at a local store ahead of time who avoided this chaos, but they can go take their saved time and sanity and shove it.

The focus of this entry, however, is eBay and The Burning Crusade Collector's Edition. Before the release of WoW's highly-anticipated expansion, prices on eBay were exceeding $250-500- quite crazy, considering the product only retailed for $69.99. Why the mark-up? Well, it's a collector's edition, and there are only X boxes being shipped ever, so people who played wanted to get their hands on a piece of history.

At least, that was the theory.

Not even a day after Burning Crusade's launch, with people already done installing the game and traversing the wondrous new world of Outland, Burning Crusade Collector's Edition saw its price staggeringly drop by more than 50%, and in some cases, decreasing all the way to retail price. And not even a week later, the prices are actually selling for under retail price, with no sign of rebounding any time soon.

What could have caused this plummet in prices? The game was no dud- quite the contrary, it's bringing back players who quit in throes. Furthermore, with small exception, everyone who had a character level 58 or above was practically signed up from the get-go. Otherwise, you'd be left in the dust.

The only reason I can see, and the only one that makes logical sense, is that nobody cared about the Collector's Edition pack-ins. Somehow, a game CD, art book, world map mouse pad, DVD installation disk, pretty box, exclusive in-game pet, and 2 WoW trading card game starter decks just wasn't worth the extra cash. People wanted the CE for bragging rights alone- and on launch day alone. Everything after that wasn't worth the extra cash or hassle.

This is speculation, but from what I can tell, there's nothing that explicitly separates a non-CE owner from a CE owner. Which is how it should be- equity in-game which is irrelevant to real-life affluency. Nevertheless, it strikes me as odd that demand dropped off so steeply, and so soon.

Perhaps there will be a re-surging of demand later in the year (possibly summer when players have time to return to the "world" of Warcraft). Folks will eventually realize that the product is out of circulation and this is the only chance to partake in the club-like exclusiveness that the Collector's Edition affords.

I, for one, feel the price gouging wave is over. Sad for resellers, good for World of Warcraft players. Perhaps this is what Blizzard wanted all along.

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