I am a huge fan of CD Projekt Red. It's a developer that isn't afraid to do something unpopular if it's right. By which I mean, CD Projekt Red doesn't add DRM to their game and has pledged to make all versions of their games equal. I'm sure the company has faced pressure from publishers to do otherwise, but CD Projekt Red has always stood strong, and we've supported them for it. Which is probably why so many people reacted so badly when it was revealed the Xbox One Collector's Edition of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is slightly different than the PC and PS4 versions.
CD Projekt Red recently revealed the Xbox One collector's Edition of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt comes with two decks of Gwent cards and a cloth map. The cards are from a newly created tie-in game. Neither the PC or PS4 collector's editions will be getting these decks. Hence, all lovers of The Witcher have unleashed their fury. These fans are justified. If this were, say, a remake of Final Fantasy VIII and only the Xbox One collector's edition would be getting a deck of Triple Triad cards, I'd be mad too. But then I'd let it go, because there are things to consider with a collector's edition bonus like this.
The first is that this is a collector's edition addition. Hands up, how many of you realistically have $150 around to spend on a special edition of The Witcher 3? It's a lot of money. Especially going into a season where a lot of big name games, like Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Super Smash Bros, Destiny, and The Evil Within are on the horizon. My point is that most of the people who are up in arms over this decision aren't going to buy it. Why be mad about something you'll never spend the money on in the first place?
We also have to consider the notion that Gwent might be available outside of the Xbox One Collector's Edition of The Witcher 3. CD Projekt Red hasn't said anything about it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised. Why? Because The Witcher Adventure Game exists. Gwent isn't CD Projekt Red's first foray into physical games. Since the company put all the time and effort into making Gwent, it seems odd that the only way to get the cards would be in the $150 collector's edition for one platform. Instead of being incensed by this "betrayal," fans should be patient and wait a month to see if Gwent will be available outside of this bundle.
Most importantly, this doesn't have anything to do with the base The Witcher 3 experience. The Gwent decks and cloth maps are supplemental trinkets. It isn't as though certain cards will be scanned by the Kinect or PlayStation 4 Camera and used within the game. It's just a physical bonus. One which will probably never be used. As a flea market and thrift store aficionado, I can't tell you how often I find the collector's edition treasures for ridiculous prices. You know that $100 BioShock 2 Collector's Edition with the LP, posters, and soundtrack? I found it without the game at a Goodwill for $10. I saw the Skyrim Alduin dragon statue from the collector's edition at Wolff's Flea Market a few years ago for $30. If the Gwent cards and cloth map are so important to you, check eBay or flea markets six months after The Witcher 3 is released. I guarantee you'll find a deck.
CD Projekt Red does so much for its fans. Behavior like this over some silly cards and a map is ridiculous. I can understand why someone who loves The Witcher would be annoyed by the decision. Take a minute and be mad. But once that minute is over, let the issue drop. It isn't worth undoing years of goodwill due to bonuses in a collector's edition most players would never even consider buying.