It's like a magic trick ... watch the copies disappear. Unlike a magic trick though, the audience is far from amused.
Ni No Kuni is a game that has seemingly been on the tip of everyone's tongue lately. Even with my acquired distaste of JRPGs I've found myself interested and indeed potentially considering buying it. I mean, I do still kind of like JRPGs, and I like Ghibi stuff, so why not? However, even with all the recent positive reviews and the hype the game is generated, it's still not all sunshine and rainbows.
Hell, I'm certainly glad I wasn't interested enough to attempt to buy the collector's edition, because that's where the mess comes in.
Ni No Kuni's collector edition had much of what you'd come to expect from a limited release version of a game: pseudo-strategy guide, bobbles, collectables, music CDs, the whole nine yards. No doubt that it was a very enticing offer for those that wanted a little something extra with their games. The thing is though that even though this collector's package -- called the Wizard Edition -- was obviously a limited edition, pretty much preorder only kind of thing, something happened, wires got crossed, and people who did preorder it simply aren't getting it.
The root of the problem seems to be that an ebay seller, playcanada, bought literally hundreds of copies of the Wizard Edition. Due to the extremely high volume of the order, other, single orders of the Wizard Edition are getting, for lack of a better or more objective term, completely shafted. playcanada meanwhile is selling the thing at exorbitant prices (try $400 on for size) and is still nearly out of copies.
Needless to say (although I'm about to anyways), this hasn't resulted in the best PR for Namco.
The company isn't exactly sitting on its laurels, it is offering a $20 dollar gift card and a free copy of the Ni No Kuni strategy guide to those that have missed out on the Wizard Edition, however, in cases like this such placation may not be enough. I know that I certainly wouldn't be happy if I lost out on those bonuses.
The article I linked above suggests that something should be done. It's understandable that they may not want to may more special editions, because well that kind of hammers home the point that it's only as limited edition as Namco decides it is. Still, these are hardly normal circumstances, and I believe that the PR to be gained, rather than lost, from doing so would make it worth pursuing. Whether they'll simply leave it at what they've given so far though, or go further depending on the resultant reaction, is something that I'll need to keep a close eye on.
Still, I may pick up a copy of Ni No Kuni sometime down the road. Just not one with all the extra bells and whistles. Well, not unless I hit the lottery that I don't even have a ticket for.