Amazon, known to very, very often put GTA V on sale, known as one of the largest global distributors of... well, everything, known as a massive financial powerhouse have just made a decision that was probably thought up by a deranged mollusk. As part of an absolutely baffling new policy, Amazon has added certain video game to the list of items available exclusively to their Prime subscribers.
Amazon Prime is a subscription system where members get discounts on all purchases, access to special deals, faster and cheaper shipping and a plethora of other, less important bonuses for an annual fee of $99.
In 2014, Amazon began to wall-off some products, making buyers unable to purchase them from Amazon as the seller unless they were Prime members. The community reacted to this in a way that you would expect. Despite the outrage and loss of customers, Amazon decided to add to the list of Prime-exclusive items.
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However, up until now they stuck either to niche products or categories which aren't the biggest sellers. Their most recent move? Make GTA 5 and Fallout 4, two of the best selling and most popular video game currently available, Prime exclusive.
Granted, they only walled off the PS4 edition of GTA 5 and the PC version of Fallout 4, but the move is still an extremely illogical one. Potential buyers who otherwise aren't Amazon regular will not pay a hundred bucks just so they can pay for something again, if they can get it with just one payment somewhere else.
Of course, you can still buy these items from the Amazon website, but from other buyers - which, depending on source, carries some risk. In this case Amazon just takes a percentage off the top so they're still making money off of this!
Amazon seems to be a dangerously schizophrenic entity. One day they come up with extremely good ideas like 20% off for all newly released and pre-ordered games, or care-packages sent to Prime members as a bonus. On others they come up with crap like this.
For how long and based on what certain items are tied to Prime exclusivity is unknown, but based on Amazon's official statement, it might have something to do with stock, but in the case of these two games, that makes no sense.
From time to time, Amazon offers exclusive selection and pricing on select items for Prime members. Customers who are not Prime members can sign-up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime to benefit from these exclusive prices or they can purchase these items or similar products from third party sellers often fulfilled and shipped by Amazon.
The community outcry against this has been the loudest one among those opposing Amazon's aggressive pushing of their Prime service. Loyal customers who personally don't see the subscription to be worth the money for them particularly feel cheated, especially if they use Amazon with such frequency that they generate more revenue than the average Prime member.
Amazon has also introduced some changes to the membership program recently, such as adding a monthly subscription option for $10.99 (which adds up to $132 a year as opposed to $99) and a Prime Video-only option for $8.99.
Despite its age, GTA V is still selling extremely well. Between the three versions, the next-gen console ports are the best sellers. Based on the PS4's popularity advantage over the Xbox One, chances are that version sells the most. Amazon have potentially cut themselves out of hundreds of thousands of sales due to this move, as despite their aggressive campaign, the number of Prime members is still pretty low.
Are you an Amazon Prime member? How do you feel about this new move?