Are Steelbooks Worth the Extra Money?

If you’re into movies and video games, chances are you’ve heard about Steelbooks. With plenty of people purchasing Steelbooks, many others can’t decide if they’re even worth the extra cost. Regardless of which side of the argument you fall into, this article is here to increase your knowledge regarding the recent trend. 

A lot of people collect Steelbooks, the luxury formats of popular movie and video game titles. You’ve likely come across Steelbooks for your favorite ones as well. The chances are that the beauty also charmed you, and you wanted to buy them. But are you ready to spend the extra money? 

Most people wonder whether Steelbooks are any different than the regular options of movies and video games. We’re going to answer that and other concerns that you may most likely have.

Physical Movies in the Age of Digital Streaming

Online streaming of movies is gaining increasing popularity with time. Especially after cinemas and theaters shut down due to the pandemic, we see a large shift towards digital streaming. Don’t get us wrong, going to the movies is extremely fun, and the experience is definitely unmatched.

After all, they provide you with an experience on top of entertainment. Talking about which, what about physical movies? With the rapid rise in the popularity of streaming platforms, a lot of people are also worried about the decline of physical movies. 

In reality, streaming has not killed physical movies. But, it may have forced Blu-ray discs into a metal case. Yes, we’re talking about Steelbooks. 

Sure, streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video have a huge impact on the sales of traditional movies. People prefer online streaming more than heading to the stores and purchasing movies, and understandably so. 

After all, the value proposition presented by these digital platforms is too good. You can pay for a month-long subscription to your favorite streaming service for the same price as a single Blu-ray. It is only logical to choose a library full of thousands of movies over one.

However, the movie industry has made some changes to Blu-ray movies. As a result of this change, 4k Blu-ray movies now come with additional features and more content. If you’ve bought a Blu-ray movie disc recently, you likely received a digital copy with the standard Blu-ray. 

But alongside the standard Blu-ray packaging in chintzy plastic, you can also find another variant: the Steelbook. Steelbooks features a limited version of a movie packed in a metal case. The metal-bound case also features custom artwork. 

What are Steelbooks, Exactly?

If you think Steelbooks are the name of the packaging, you are wrong. In fact, Steelbooks is an authentic brand that makes these versions in collaboration with the movie studio. Sure, multiple other companies also manufacture metal DVD cases. But, none of them match the ubiquity of Steelbooks.

Steelbooks are deluxe editions of movies and video games in a metal case. And this may be the biggest reason behind the huge success of Steelbooks. Movie studios create limited versions of the movie packed as Steelbooks. They issue them like this so that buyers can keep their favorite movie games or films in a luxury format on their desk or shelf. 

Jet Li’s Hero was the first DVD Steelbook, which started the entire craze. You can find a Steelbook edition for the most successful and popular movies and games. For example, titles like  “The Last of Us” and “Cyberpunk 2077” are readily available in a luxurious metal case of Steelbooks. Similarly, old classics like “Conan the Barbarian” also have Steelbook versions.

Collector’s Hunt for Pricy Steelbooks

When you pick one up, the metal-bound case of your favorite movie or video game is often high enough to justify the high price tag. So, why do people continue to buy Steelbook?

Most people who would go to the cinema shifted to digital streaming in the past few years. Meanwhile, media collectors who enjoy browsing through store aisles have also become more interested in physical versions than before. And this dormant generation has started working towards customizing their bookshelves with their customized treasure of physical movies

The retail price for a standard Steelbook falls between $30 and $40. On the other hand, the standard plastic-packaged Blu-rays retail for $20 to $30 at release. While Blu-rays are cheaper, the market value of Steelbooks tends to increase with time. This usually happens when all the copies sell out, and there is no chance to restock.

For example, you can buy the 4k Blu-ray variant “The Lord of the Rings” for $95. But the Steelbook version for the same title will run for $120. Once all Steelbooks sell out, yours will skyrocket in price. 

In the case of the Steelbook variant of “The Lord of the Rings,” online stores like eBay saw a 50% increase in prices. And, it does not matter even if your version is slightly damaged. 

A steelbook’s artwork is also exceptional, driving thousands of buyers. It features gold to symbolize the world of Tolkein fading into green images of The Shire. Not to mention, silhouettes of Gandalf and Frodo are also on the halo around. The sheen of the metal with the splash of color makes Steelbooks irresistible.

Apart from movies, video game fans are also getting the same treatment. From games like the Call of Duty series to lots of others, people are also collecting video game Steelbooks. When it comes to the Steelbook variants of games, collectors usually include them in expensive edition variants. A gamer usually creates a collection of all the versions of their favorite video game. 

However, some others also purchase Steelbooks for how luxurious they can be. As video game collection was at its height during the initial lockdowns, people were also buying empty Steelbook cases on platforms like eBay. 

In some cases, the prices for a steel book were much higher than the game itself. For example, somebody purchased an empty Steelbook case for Bayonetta 2 for Nintendo Switch at $84. But, the game retails for around $60. 

Our knowledge suggests that people buy Steelbooks for three main reasons. First and foremost, Steelbooks come in metal packaging, meaning they are more durable than plastic. 

Metal cases of your favorite movies and video games will also feature edge-to-edge artwork. Usually, this is much better than the art on regular releases. Not to mention, the metal cases also offer the freedom to emboss them, making them the perfect addition to your bedroom décor. 

Last but not least, Steelbooks for a movie or video game are limited editions. It can also prove to be a wise investment with an increase in its intrinsic value over time. 

The Dilemma

The idea behind creating Steelbooks is excellent. With digital streaming gaining popularity and technologies like Voice-on-Demand becoming more prevalent, Steelbooks can be a huge plus. Not only does it preserve physical edits of movies and video games, but it also has bonus content or special features.

You can justify sticking to physical media with its uncompressed sound and picture. But, digital media also offers the possibility of UHD HDR. 

Nevertheless, digital streaming can never mimic the utility that discs offer. The experience of being able to pick, display, and lend is one wonderful thing that these pretty Steelbooks offer. While this is also true for 4k Blu-ray discs, they aren’t as cool if you’re looking for something to add next to your books and figurines.

Steelbooks are expensive; there is no denying that. So, you should always think before you buy one. However, the purchase largely depends on your personal preference and perspective. In our case, we believe that Steelbooks are worth the original price.


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