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Exclusive Race Works? Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition Outselling Standard Edition By 5X In Pre-Orders

Digital Special Collector's Exclusive Limited Time Edition! You've seen it before. Packed with Day 1 DLCs, skins, maps, what-have-you. Why do the publishers do this? They do it because we buy them.

When details on the Imperial Edition of Elder Scrolls Online were revealed earlier this week, gamers across the web gawked at the physical goodies included in the Collector's Edition, until we noticed one little thing:

Playing as the Imperial race is exclusive to the Imperial Edition of ESO.

Vanity pets, skins, in-game mounts, and different gears are all fine --- but being required to pay more money in order to play a specific race in a subscription-based MMO definitely ruffled a few feathers.

Imagine our surprise, though, when the pre-order numbers started trickling in for Elder Scrolls Online (FYI: ESO pre-order was on sale at 25% off last weekend.)

On Wednesday morning, I had a bet with our deals editor Mike Paddock on which edition would sell more. Mike declared that the special Imperial Edition would outsell the Standard Edition. I thought the whole exclusive race thing might trigger a blacklash and sales will be limited on both editions.

What better way to settle a bet then to crunch some actual #s from our backend data?

Spoiler: I'll be owing Mike an In-N-Out gift card.

After a thousand plus copies sold, here's what we saw:

As you can see on the chart above, pre-orders on the Digital Imperial Edition are outselling Digital Standard Editions by a landslide. These are confirmed purchases of the digital copies of both editions (details on the data below ).

Are those complaining about the exclusive race just a vocal minority, or are people upset but still reluctantly buying the more expensive edition? It's hard to extrapolate purchasing mentality from this set of data, but it's clear that more people are buying the Imperial Edition than the Standard Edition.

(Before you point out that of course Imperial Edition sales are higher given it's priced higher, quantity/transaction #s for Imperial Edition is mirroring sales).

Interesting Tidbits on ESO Pre-Orders:

  • Transactions with multiple copies purchased will often times be 1 copy of Imperial Edition and 1 copy of Standard Edition (buying a copy for a partner/friend?)
  • Transactions with Standard Edition are mostly single purchases, and rarely with additional copies of Standard Edition purchased
  • The Super Bowl did not impact sales on Sunday - we saw no trend change in clicks, transactions, or traffic

Details & Thoughts on Elder Scrolls Pre-Order Numbers:

Jan-29 Jan-30 Jan-31 Feb-01 Feb-02
Standard Sales in USD $3,083.00 $2,760.00 $3,936.00 $2,411.00 $2,767.00
Standard # of Trans. 55 50 76 38 56
Imperial Sales in USD $11,460.00 $14,907.00 $24,799.00 $14,578.00 $14,351.00
Imperial # of Trans. 175 227 397 234 225
  • We went with a sample size of about ~1500 confirmed transactions of The Elder Scrolls Online. During this time period of January 29th to February 2nd, a total of 1533 transaction was completed, 275 on Standard Edition of ESO, and 1258 on Imperial Edition
  • Dealzon not only tracks game prices, but we also track game sales numbers on our backend, oftentimes for our internal use (though we should really publish these numbers more because they're neat to look at)
  • Transactions are on digital copies of ESO - Standard and Imperial - from two retailers: UK-based Green Man Gaming and US-based Gamefly Digital.
  • Because these numbers are from PC digital pre-orders only, we're not sure if the same trend is applying for physical console copies or the physical PC Imperial Edition (which is priced much further apart than the digital versions).
  • Pre-orders are of course the domain of early adopter crowds or bigger fans of the series. Might be little surprise that they will opt to purchase the more expensive version with more content.
  • These are discounted pre-orders, with Imperial Edition between $60 and $64 depending on the day and retailer, and Standard Edition at $45 to $48. This might be a factor in Imperial sales (some may think: "Well I was already planning on spending $60...")
  • Transactions and purchases are across region, numbers are in USD, but sales come from AU, US, UK, and the EU, with US constituting the majority of sales.

    Past Editor’s Notes and Discussions

  • Viet DoFeb 03, 2014

    The publishers won't stop offering Special Collector Super Duper Extreme X Editions if we don't stop buying them.

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