With how established video games are on a social level, it has come with it that many video games have become collectors' items. For many years we have been seeing news that there are games that have reached large sums of money at collector's auctions.
Could you have in your attic or closets a game that could be worth its good hundreds or thousands of euros for someone interested? Here we explain everything you need to know when entering this world of game collecting.
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Not all that glitters is gold
Very few games are going to be really valuable on the collector's market. Furthermore, it is very possible that some of the high prices of games that have sold for tens of thousands of dollars are to use the same speculation strategies that the art market uses. This can only be applied to extremely rare games, in optimal conservation conditions and very limited special printings that can access high-level collector circles.
On a practical level, rare will be the game that is worth more than double what it originally cost when it went on the market. There needs to be a real demand for the game and the supply can't meet that demand. But let it be clear that collecting video games is not a safe investment to earn money. It is very likely that a game will go up in value somewhat, but that difference will not exceed the time spent looking for a new buyer and inflation.
A game box increases collector value if it is one of those that is not preserved
Did the game you have come in a cardboard box and do you keep it? Congratulations, because it is in great demand by the most extreme collectors. The cardboard boxes and manual of a NES, SNES or Nintendo 64 game, among others, used to be thrown away quickly since not saving it did not put the cartridges at risk. Very possibly it increases the value of the game, but it must be taken into account that, in many cases, it is a curiosity.
It does not work that way with PlayStation or MegaDrive boxes, which, being CD or plastic boxes, were much more attractive or even necessary to store. If you want classic games to play, you can choose to go for the games without the box and manual as they will be cheaper to get for your collection. Although this is only applicable to games that can be played without being stored in their boxes, thus games on optical support are ruled out. EITHER if you simply want to play classic video games, it is a much more viable option to go for emulation, or buy an original console and a flash cartridge to put games on.
Japanese or imported does not mean "valuable"
The fact that you have imported a game from Japan or it has not been released in your territory does not add more value to it. What's more, it can limit the people who will want it, since many people looking for an old game may want it to play it. For example, a Mother 2 cartridge is affordably priced, but an Earthbound cartridge is not. They are the game but Earthbound is translated into English and had a limited circulation and few sales, while in Japan it was relatively successful. This is also due to the fact that the Japanese circulation is usually longer than the Western one in some games. Given the rarity and difficulty of obtaining it, the price rises.
Legal accessibility matters
If a game has a digital re-release, its value will go down because whoever wants to play it will play that new version. Keep in mind that many potential buyers are people who want to enjoy the game in optimal and reliable condition, and that is through the original hardware and support. There are emulators, but some like those for the Sega Saturn or Nintendo 64 have minimal support. He adds that emulating PS2 and Gamecube from now on usually requires having PCs that are powerful enough to run PCSX2 or Dolphin.
A digital re-release of the original game can cause the value of the game to drop rapidly. When Marvel Vs Capcom 2 came out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the resale price of the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 version dropped a lot. If the game you have is considered cult and is owned by a studio that is not going to reissue it digitally, it will rarely be reissued and therefore have a low price.
Low roll games don't have to be expensive
You may be aware of cases of games released through Limited Run Games printing a clear, limited run of a few thousand. Does that make them valuable? Not necessarily, because they are usually games that have already shown that they sell and therefore the demand is low, or their physical circulation is only a marketing strategy to make the game seem worth more. Your public is not necessarily a collector, but people who prefer games in physical format to digital.
There is the case of Poop Slinger, a PS4 game that was only sold on April's Fools Day on an apparently suspicious website that mimicked the Limited Run Games logo. Only 1.000 copies were produced and less than 100 were sold. So there are 900 copies unaccounted for and their prices are high, but only because a few collectors want them to complete their collection of PS4 games or say they have a rare game, not by playing it.
Sale price, does not mean the price at which it has been sold
If we go to reseller sites or dedicated stores, we may get a high price for an especially rare game. But keep in mind that this price has been set to give that feeling that it is valuable. There will be someone who will buy it at that price, but there will be very few people who will.
That a game like Rule of Rose can be sold for a couple of hundred euros does not mean that all copies will be sold for that price. It would be a game that has received a high demand and since the extent of the copies that are available is not completely known, there is speculation with the price, but as more copies come to light, its value will go down. Precisely Rule of Rose was a game that ended up in the liquidation boxes of many stores and hypermarkets, with which, very surely, many more people will have the game, but there is little circulation.
A collector's edition game doesn't have to be more valuable
If you think buying a collector's edition of a game that's coming out soon is a good long-term investment, think again. The value of your content rarely exceeds what you pay for, and begins to lose value from the moment it leaves the store. The items that truly become collectibles are the ones that, in their day, people typically threw away out of value or convenience.
Sealed games are worth more because few people keep them sealed. Boxed consoles are worth more because people tend to throw the box away. As an example, we have the old staple comics that are usually worth a lot because people read them and then threw them away. There was a boom in collector's comics and publishers jumped on the bandwagon with special editions. Unintentionally, they ended up generating a bubble.
Old items well preserved they are worth more because few people have taken care of them to keep them in good condition. The collector's editions in 20 years will be worth practically nothing because, since they have been sold as such, nobody throws them away and their supply is not diminished.
That a game is sold expensive, does not mean that it is rare
Many games that are sold for high prices is not because they are rare, it is because there has been a growing demand for them and it is not known exactly how many are still preserved. You may have a somewhat rare and valuable game with high sales figures on eBay. But when you put it up for sale, you may have such competition that you'll have to lower the price if you really want to sell it.
Nostalgia increases the value of collector's games but ends up lowering it
In the early 2010s, the fever for NES, Master System, SNES, and Mega Drive games began, because those who grew up playing it were starting to get nostalgic for them. That is why the value of their games rose and those 8 and 16-bit games began to be reissued more frequently. A sudden demand can make a retro game go up in price, but everything has a limit.
The previous decade saw those who grew up on the Atari 2600, Colecovision or Intellivision followed that same nostalgic sentiment and began collecting and discovering games from that era. Over the years the market stabilized with what the fluctuation of prices of Atari 2600 games stopped and they began to fall. Fewer and fewer people wanted them, along with the re-releases and compilations of games made by Atari and Activision.