It’s officially a trend: Game studios are embracing limited run physical editions of their otherwise digital-only games. In the last few months alone, we’ve seen the Strafe retro throwback, the Furiboss rush, and now the LawBreakers team-based shooter all get physical editions.
LawBreakers isn’t set to debut until August 8, but a limited Collector’s Edition package is now available for pre-order from Limited Run Games, a company that specializes in exactly this kind of release. The Collector’s Edition includes the “Deadzo Deluxe” edition of the game, a “journal ripped from the LawBreakers game world,” two card packs, a sticker set, and a “premium individually numbered box issued by order of purchase.”
That’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from these limited edition releases. Digital games are often cheaper than their physical counterparts–Strafe and Furi normally cost $20, and the standard version of LawBreakers will cost $30–because of their lower distribution costs. Offering a few extras, whether it’s an art book or a bunch of stickers, can entice people into spending more money to help cover costs.
This isn’t all that surprising from PC games–we suspect few people bother with disc trays nowadays, so digital platforms reign supreme, and getting someone to buy a physical edition requires a little extra incentive. But it’s also interesting to see this approach carry out with the Nintendo Switch. Consoles are historically physical release-dependent, but now we’re seeing more and more Switch games offer more than just a cartridge in a box.
Games like The Binding of Isaac Afterbirth+ and Cave Story+ are both available on a number of platforms. They’re also both made by smaller companies, which means the manufacturing costs incurred by the Switch’s cartridges have to be offset. Nintendo doesn’t allow developers to charge different prices for digital or physical versions of their games, however, unless the physical versions also come with some kind of bonus items.
The result: Physical releases with additional items (booklets, CDs, etc.) becoming more popular on both PC and Switch. A decade-old indie title like Cave Story and an upcoming big-budget game like LawBreakers don’t have much in common, but they do share this approach to distribution. At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if all game companies started to pack in art books, soundtracks, and other bonus items with every physical release.
Back to LawBreakers: The Collector’s Edition is available for pre-order until July 7 for $70; copies are expected to ship by August 8. You can learn more about the game via our hands-on impressionsor, if you’re more of the “experience it for yourself” type, by the open beta running until July 5.