Today, every major PS3 release has an alternative special edition.
For a few quid more - sometimes, many quid more - you get a fancy box stuffed with extras: an art book, a soundtrack CD, bonus DLC, high-tech surveillance equipment, and the bragging rights that come with having the best version of the game.
Publishers have realised the money-making potential of this, and special editions are now an industry standard, with some companies taking the idea to extremes.
Remember Activision's infamous COD night-vision goggles? Here, we celebrate ten of the best special editions, as well as ten that'll be released in the coming months.
However frivolous or trashy the purchase, our wallet's always under threat when there's military hardware involved...
Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition
The Absolutely Mental One
Contains: Tin case, download code for the original Call Of Duty, art book, fully functioning night-vision goggles.
Verdict: Probably the first ever special edition designed specifically for stalkers and Buffalo Bill fanatics, the Prestige Edition's nocturnal eye-wear is an insanely cool, if slightly worrying, bonus. Mercifully, a Goodbye Horses MP3 was not included.
God of War 3 Ultimate Trilogy Edition
The 'Where Am I Going To Put That' One
Contains: Pandora's Box sculpted container, God Of War: Collection, in-game combat arena challenges, four character skins, God Of War trilogy soundtrack (three CDs), God Of War Blood & Metal EP, art book, postcards
Verdict: God Of War's ultra-edition is a really special set of kit, with every game in the series in full HD, a pleb-dazzling array of DLC content and a gorgeous box. Being EU-only, it even came packaged with some bonus smugness.
Grand Theft Auto IV Special Edition
The One With The Nice Bag
Contains: Soundtrack CD, art book, metal lock box, holdall.
Verdict: A nice set, with the bag as the highlight. It has a fancy gold lining printed with the Rockstar logo, and editor Dan still uses it as his actual bag. The art book is a bit lightweight, though.
Bioshock 2 Special Edition
The Fancy One
Contains: Vinyl record, posters, hardback art book, soundtrack CD.
Verdict: This is pure class, from the real vinyl LP to the art book that's actually interesting. And if you hold the posters up to ultraviolet light, you'll see some chilling hidden messages. Nice box, too. Good job, 2K.
Tekken 6 Arcade Stick Edition
The Useful One
Contains: Hori Tekken 6 wireless arcade
stick, 100-page art book.
Verdict: A bundled Hori stick is a seriously substantial, if not indispensable bonus if you're serious about your fighting games. Strangely, though, this elite set is missing the poster and hoodie that came with the basic Collector's Edition.
Batman: Arkham Asylum Collector's Edition
The Crime Fighter's Choice
Contains: 14" replica batarang, 48-page
Arkham doctor's notes journal, behind-the-scenes DVD, exclusive Crime Alley challenge map download code.
Verdict: Batman's special edition evokes crude vigilante fantasies. The full-sized batarang, modelled after the awesome-looking version in the game, is a one-way ticket to feeling ten years old again. Arkham City's extras will have to include a fully functioning Batmobile to top this.