We all know how gamers can get pretty serious about their games, down to the collectible items that surround them. Books, figurines, jewelry, soundtracks, artwork – It’s not uncommon for game companies to make collector’s and limited editions of games that come with some “premium” items such as these. Still, for some of us, that isn’t enough. We want that top-shelf quality, the best of the best when it comes to gaming memorabilia; Which brings us to this current story. Our friend Jalen Bell, Editor-In-Chief of iGoGaming, was telling me about something he found while perusing the web for Assassin’s Creed III collectible items. This in turn led him to Ebay, where he found an item listed for a pretty penny, even more surprising (or not) was who listed the item.
The collectible turned out to be an Assassins Creed III Colonial Flag. The price that this collectible was listed for? $2,000. A hefty price for sure, but what’s more interesting is that this isn’t the same flag that you find in the AC III Collector’s Edition. No, this flag is the one found in the Press Kit sent out by Ubisoft. The person listing the item? Someone who seems to be a either member of or someone closely associated to the “professional” gaming press as deduced by the comments made in the description of the item,
“…flags like this one were given only to select members of the press, retail partners, and they were likely also handed out internally within Ubisoft.
I have, however, done a bit of research and as of today, I have personally been able to document a grand total of 14 of these flags (including the flag in this listing.)
I found that, for instance, the offices of Giant Bomb, EGM, and Destructoid were each sent one of these flags.”
So this is cool, right? Awesome collectibles on the web for gamers to snatch up! Collectibles that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get their hands on. But this also raises another issue about ethics in gaming journalism, an issue that was touched on in a controversial article posted by Rab Florence on Eurogamer. Should it be okay for members of the press (people who get paid already as part of their job to write reviews) to engage in these sort of activities of personal gain? This isn’t a new practice, nor is this an isolated case. The same ebay member has a handful of other gaming press kits up for sale and don’t think they will not sell. This person has sold hundreds of gaming related items – some for a small profit, others for a nice sum such as a Resident Evil 6 Press Kit which recently sold for $399.
Now I admit, I do not know where this money is going, who the person posting these items is, nor how the funds garnered will be used. I don’t know if they were given an explicit OK to do as they may for each item from their respective game company. For all I know, it could be for charity, which in that case I applaud their efforts. Or maybe they’re selling the items to help fund their site and to buy more games, so they can continue giving the community what they want. That’s okay, I suppose. Doubtful, but okay. However, this is not the only person posting press kit items online for sale and there’s no doubt that people out there do this for personal gain. So, the question is, is that okay?
Sound off in the comments below: Do you think it should be alright for members of the press to sell these type of items they receive for free from games companies? What would you do?