Amazon: Release-Day Delivery for Hot Video Games

In a Monday press release, announced that buyers who want to get their hands on some upcoming hot games can upgrade their shipping to be assured they'll get them on release day:
Gamers have been asking for it and Amazon has answered the call. Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that it will offer release-date delivery for "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09," "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed," "Fable 2" and "Gears of War 2." For $5.98, Amazon customers can upgrade their shipping option for guaranteed delivery of these titles on the first day of availability to all addresses within the continental United States. Additionally, Amazon Prime customers will receive release-date delivery for free.

"We are excited to delight Amazon customers by offering guaranteed release-date delivery of these new video game titles so that the games can arrive at their doors the first day they're available," said Greg Hart, vice president of video games and software at "This means that thousands of gamers across the country can start playing the games they love on the day they're released without having to stand in long lines or stay up all night to do it."

"Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09" will be released on Aug. 26, 2008. "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" will be released on Sept. 16, 2008. "Fable 2" will be released on Oct. 21, 2008. "Gears of War 2" will be released on Nov. 7, 2008.

At first we read this and thought: hey, pretty cool. Then we realized: we've been getting games on release day for quite a while --- of course, we have Amazon Prime, so that's probably why.
On the other hand, we checked: it's not $5.98 on top of the normal shipping charge; it's $5.98 period, even for next day.

For example, we selected the Tiger Woods game, and that releases tomorrow. So that would be a next day shipment, right? Still only $5.98. Choose Next-Day instead? $15.48. So, in fact, this could be a real bargain, in some instances.

Try it yourself, or, if you trust us, you can see our checkout image above. Some writers assumed the charge would be on top of a (they said) up to $20 for next-day shipping; a little homework showed that wasn't the case, at least for this item. The FAQ page on release-day delivery gives Amazon an out though, saying "Shipping charges for Release-Date Delivery vary by item."

While the press release only mentions these four games, it's obvious from the FAQ this will expand to all their games, eventually, at least.