Arguably the most anticipated PlayStation 4 / PlayStation 5 game of the year, God of War Ragnarok will be hitting consoles on November 9. Those who have been eagerly awaiting to purchase a special edition are sure to be looking to secure a Ragnarok Collector's or Ragnarok Jotnar Edition, but may be sad to learn that these versions of the game only come with a digital download code and not a physical disc. For those still looking to collect physical media, they'll need to either purchase the game full-price at launch or wait for a sale months or years down the road.
This is despite the fact that the each edition comes with a steelbook collector's case that is just added as a decorative piece and doesn't actually store a game disc. Similar to the Horizon Forbidden West Collector's and Regalla editions, why is Sony insisting on not including a physical disc with the special editions of their games?
What are the God of War Ragnarok Special Editions?
If you preorder God of War Ragnarok, you can select either a digital deluxe edition, the God of War Ragnarok Collector's Edition, or God of War Ragnarok Jotnar Edition. When the God of War Ragnarok release date was announced, we broke down what comes in each collection, which includes a download copy of the digital version of the game, a handful of extra perks, but no physical disc, despite a steelbook case being a core piece of each special edition. Why is this?
Why Doesn't God of War Ragnarok Jotnar Edition Come with a Physical Disc?
Initially, I thought the lack of physical media in the God of War Ragnarok Jotnar and Collector's editions may have had more to do with with the sheer number of items in the box. These boxes are likely time-consuming to put together, and they already have some created as we saw Sony release an unboxing video shortly after the announcement. If Ragnarok doesn't go gold until weeks before launch, it would be difficult for them to package the disc with all of these boxes. That being said, many other games in the past have managed logistical gymnastics like this, so why can't Sony?
The more practical reason, which I hypothesized over for the Horizon Forbidden West special editions, is that the game is being cross-released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, so should these editions include discs for both consoles, or just PS4 and then players can take the $10.00 upgrade route if they want to update to the PS5 version? The fact that Sony believes in generations and then does everything to prove that they don't believe in generations has made the release cycle of these games more difficult. The PS5 is going to be two years old around the time we hit the God of War Ragnarok release date, and the company is still producing games to run on PS4, a console that was first released in 2013.
It's possible that when Sony fully commits to PlayStation 5 and stops supporting the PS4 we'll see more physical media be available in collector's editions, but I still think it's unlikely. It's ultimately cheaper for Sony to provide a download code than it is to package a physical disc, and given that the special editions of their biggest games have no trouble selling out, it's not like enough players are refusing to buy the special editions over the lack of a physical disc. Unfortunately, the days of physical media look to be numbered. And paradoxically, we may see a future where including a physical edition of a game *is* a special perk of a collector's edition when studios transition to a primarily digital future.
If you're asking yourself, "which God of War Ragnarok edition should I buy?" you're not alone. Gamers for years have been balancing their love for a game and what a collector's edition set actually means to them. Even with the base copy of the game we're all going to experience the same story and, theoretically, get the same enjoyment out of it. So is it really worth paying more for the extra cosmetics and physical items? That is certainly up to each player.
Those who have the coin and the luck could invest in the God of War Ragnarok Jotnar Edition price, which comes in at $259.99. As of this writing, that edition is sold out via PlayStation, but you may still be able to secure a Jotnar preorder at another retailer. Of course, scalpers are already taking to eBay with inflated prices of up to $500 or more.
The God of War Ragnarok Collector's Edition price comes in at $199.99, and will likely be easier to procure than the Jotnar Edition despite the lower price tag. Of course, Paying 3-4 times the price of the base game is not something many take lightly, and for that high price point the question still remains: why don't these God of War Ragnarok special editions offer a physical disc?
Are Collector's Editions Ever Worth It?
Whether or not the God of War Ragnarok Jotnar or Collector's editions are worth it is going to be up to each player. Personally, as really cool as some of the items in those editions are, it isn't worth me shelling out multiple times the cost of the game to purchase them. I'll be very happy with my base God of War Ragnarok digital edition when the game launches, and in several years I'll buy a physical copy on sale to add to my games collection.
The way I see it, designating how much a fan someone is of a franchise shouldn't be determined by how much they can afford to spend. Someone who springs for the God of War Ragnarok Jotnar edition isn't any more or less a fan of the franchise as someone who just buys the base game. We're all here to experience the same story. The extras are just precisely that: extra.
All I know is when the God of War Ragnarok release date arrives on November 9, I'll be tuning out the world like countless others as I get reacquainted with Kratos and Atreus for the first time in several years.