Bioware doesn't publish games, they go through EA. This is a bad decision and I hope in the future Bioware leaves EA. If Bioware left EA I'm pretty sure another company would pick them up in a heartbeat and it would leave EA stranded with mostly sports titles.
Here are the issues.
Mass Effect was a great game. It was on the PC and Xbox. PC versions were then added to Steam.
Mass Effect 2 came out on PC and Xbox. It got an even bigger audience. Game was added to PS3 on new engine.
Here's where EA starts getting involved and being stupid.
ME3 was pulled from Steam, and you have to use Origins for it (EA's version of Steam). Please note that many people who play PC games already play through Steam, they have a good reputation and is a great way to play PC games knowing it's your license for MANY COMPANIES. EA wanted to pull out the middle man and said their the big dog and wanted to do it all themselves. So now you have to have Steam for most PC games, and Origin for EA games. To me it just seems like EA took their ball and went home, and I feel sorry for those that have to play this game on the PC.
Next is the Collector's Edition. Remember how I said that the vast majority of players were on the Xbox with PC second and PS3 last because it came out later. They made the same amount of collectors editions for each of these three groups. Okay, say like there were 100 people and 60 were Xbox and 30 were PC and 10 were PS3...then they made 10 Collectors Editions for each platform. Xbox has the majority that don't get the opportunity to get it, while PS3 can all get it. PC becomes a moot point since what people really want out of the Collector's Edition is the downloadable content, which is still available if you play through Origin. So whoever dreamed up the amount of things to make per platform didn't understand how the previous two games were released or worked with save files people wanted to keep. If you could import your save files between systems, then this wouldn't be an issue. But I won't hold my breath for the day PC, PS3 and Xbox save files are compatible.
Now let's look at the Normal Version vs the Collector's Edition.
Normal has the game.
Collectors has the game, Day 1 DLC, Alternate Squad outfits, weapons pack, Dog for the normandy and other Xbox live goodies. Soundtrack, Comic book, art book, patch, lithograph.
Normal costs $60, and you can pay $10 for the day 1 DLC, you'll probably be able to get the squad outfits for another $10 (I'm guessing $1-2 a character), weapons pack I'll guess for $8, comic books are around $2-3, Soundtracks typically go for $10-$15, Art books for $30-$40, patches for $2-5 and lithograph for $5-$10. For a total of ~$140
If you just wanted the ingame stuff and didn't care for the physical items (which is what made the CE 'Limited') then the total comes to ~$90
CE is $80
I will admit I'm a sucker for soundtracks and art books. And I like getting CEs because of them. But normally you don't get this much 'extra' if you get a collector's edition. So the only reason I think they 'limited' the CE is they were already losing money on it and thus clamped it down.
The smart way of doing things would be have three versions.
1) Normal version
2) Collectors version
3) Limited Edition version
The difference would be normal is normal. Collectors would be normal plus the ingame content, and Limited edition would be Collector's plus the physical stuff.
That's something similar to what NISA did with Disgaea 4 was had the three versions, and the Really limited collector's one did cost a lot more than the previous versions but you got a ton more physical stuff.
There are three things people are up in arms about over this.
1) Origins - we know EA needed a flagship game to bring people to Origin but this seems like bad form as it's the last game in a trilogy.
2) CE - Why make it so limited unless you have stock in Ebay? And why not skew the product so it will match where the sales of previous games were played on? This to me feels like someone who didn't play any of the ME games in the past was the one calling the shots on how to publish ME3. Bad EA, just bad.
3) Day 1 DLC - If they had not done Zaheed in ME2, then I think I'd be able to give them a pass on this one, but the fact they did it then is why I can't give them a pass here. To release a new character and mission on Day 1, and make it cost $10...which is half the cost of the CE that you already limited just shows to me they don't care about the fans. They already know people are addicted to the story and want to play how it ends. But there are also people who want this unique character in their party. Imagine if Legion was DLC only and came out on Day 1 of ME2. That's what this feels like. The Prothean is not Zaheed, it's more like Legion and even though I didn't use him in my party much. I loved the story of having him there. ME3 dev team said they're getting back into story on this one...so why make the most interesting story a pay to play thing?
In the end I could forgive them if they made the CE more available, or at least made a digital copy FOR ALL PLATFORMS. Or if they'd made the CE around $100 they'd probably not have this big of an outcry because that seems like a more equitable price for it given all the stuff in the CE. And then people who had to pay for the Day 1 stuff wouldn't feel as shafted by EA because it would feel like the CE people already put in their $10 for that in the price of the CE.