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Being in the Retro Game Market is just depressing
12-Feb-22 4:54pm
#1
Frozyre
GameTZ Subscriber Quadruple Gold Good Trader Global Trader - willing to trade internationally Has Written 3 Reviews

When I built my VG Collection here back in 2012, man it was such a thriving time. I still have those images, to never forget what was accomplished before inevitably having to sell it all in one swoop. The prices I've got those games for, the lucky breaks, the good trades here .etc were all worth it in the end. In a way, I could still do that today if I choose to but the business climate for retro games have changed and they've changed for the worst. First thing I've noticed, I no longer have a healthy network of places to frequent to acquire games from. There are places in general I could visit, but the prices are heavily based on EBay. Resellers have taken over thrift stores that I frequented, who also practice the same.

There's one used video game store I've been doing business with for a bit now and I'm starting to reconsider after my exchange by giving him my Nintendo Wii. He sells Nintendo Wiis for $60 a pop, I got mine for $25 at a thrift store. He was willing to give me 25 in store credit for it. Being partially blinded by the whole 'support small business' motto, I accepted the poor terms. He was lying through his teeth because I'm a semi-regular there, he does manage to sell Wiis. He didn't even add anymore credit for the two copies of the Price is Right for Wii that I had with the system, could've had at least 3 for each since they're 5 loose. I was also building credit to eventually buy a PS4 Pro he had there that was $349 even though I have a PS4 slim. I was considering trading my PS4 and PS2 (fat) combined and then fill in the difference with paying directly. I was at 95 store credit at the time, but now 60 cause he had a couple PS4 games I wanted. He offered 120 for the PS4 Slim and 20 for the PS2 fat. The offer for the PS4, maybe sounds fair. But the PS2 offer is what is making me change gears on all of this.

He can't tell me again that he has difficulty selling PS2s because he sells those for 50 a pop, regardless of model and they fly off the shelf. I go in, see one, I come back in a day later or an hour later - gone. So, I think I'm going to not give him anymore systems and drop the PS4 Pro idea. I'll find someone who'll sell a Pro down the road for at least a manageable price point, eventually.

And while I was browsing about on EBay to find me some PS3 games I'd want to have like Dante's Inferno, I see a copy going for $5,000. I thought "oh...one of you" because the image of that listing had a graded shell on it and all these fancy holo graphics and the grade of the condition that's entirely made up. I went out of my way to message this seller and straight up tell him off to first get his attention. Then it boiled down to a debate with a greedy reseller because I've been in the used video games market for 10 years of my life, I've done business here and I've been partially influenced by some of the users who has done business here. In otherwords, I know enough to know a phony reseller and their practices out in the open than most don't. So we debated about this, a pretty heated one at that and all that he can ever go on about is gloating about the hustling market and how I'm supposedly jealous that I won't be able to sell a graded game to make $5,000 blah, blah, blah.

Well, you know, I have a sealed copy of Nioh 2 for PS4. I could do the same exact thing that scammer does but I'm not going to because the whole WATA and graded system for games thing is managed by a bunch of greedy hustlers running auctions made for and ran by rich people. They've long been damaging the marketplace with their practices by inflating the values of games beyond what they would realistically be valued for. It is infuriating to see and no, I'm not jealous about it because I'm not a greedy fudging reseller who uses an elementary school grading system to artificially inflate the values of games. So, I just again told the reseller off and ignored him. He responded like 2 times in the past hour since I last sent mine and I'm ignoring it because I'm disgusted how he justifies this bullcrap.

Being in the retro game market can have it's perks but it's mostly dominated by scammers and scalpers who's been gaming a good hobby, the same way cryptominers have damaged the GPU marketplace. Absolutely disgraceful.
12-Feb-22 5:36pm
#2
Boss
GameTZ Subscriber 700 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (8) Secret Santa

I am grateful that I have all the games I'll ever need.
12-Feb-22 5:54pm
#3
Scott
GameTZ Subscriber 250 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Global Trader - willing to trade internationally Has Written 2 Reviews

Boss wrote:
I am grateful that I have all the games I'll ever need.
I am grateful that I was able to get MOST of the games I care to own before the market got so crazy. For the rest, I'll just emulate.
12-Feb-22 6:29pm
#4
benstylus
GameTZ Subscriber GameTZ Full Moderator 550 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (1 minute ago)

For games that are stupid on ebay like a 5000 dollar copy of Dante's inferno, you'll never be able to talk sense into that seller.

And be careful using the phrase "going for $5000". That price is just the seller's wet dream. If you want to see what something is going for, look at sold listings. If the only available prices are way higher than the sold prices, it's because those are the ones that no one is buying.

If a particular game is too expensive, I'm glad there are thousands of other games I can play that are leas ridiculously priced.

12-Feb-22 6:33pm
#5
bonham2
600 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Global Trader - willing to trade internationally Has Written 2 Reviews

I think the collectors that bought 5-10 years ago mostly held onto the stuff they really wanted, which had taken a lot of copies out of circulation. Some of the CIB NES stuff is through the roof. I sold off most of my collection years ago because it was just collecting dust. I have no desire to ever get them again.
12-Feb-22 6:34pm
#6
benstylus
GameTZ Subscriber GameTZ Full Moderator 550 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (1 minute ago)

If you don't need CIB, there are still lots of affordable games.

But not having a case for disc based games is painful

12-Feb-22 7:01pm
#7
Cevil
Gold Good Trader

Market is obviously over-inflated. Try to focus on playing what you already own, makes it easier to ignore the crazy prices. We're all guilty of having too many un-played games.
12-Feb-22 7:22pm
#8
benstylus
GameTZ Subscriber GameTZ Full Moderator 550 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (1 minute ago)

Cevil wrote:
Market is obviously over-inflated. Try to focus on playing what you already own, makes it easier to ignore the crazy prices. We're all guilty of having too many un-played games.
That's what the beat a game thread is for smile

13-Feb-22 12:29am
#9
Frozyre
GameTZ Subscriber Quadruple Gold Good Trader Global Trader - willing to trade internationally Has Written 3 Reviews

benstylus wrote:
For games that are stupid on ebay like a 5000 dollar copy of Dante's inferno, you'll never be able to talk sense into that seller.
I knew I was talking to someone who's blinded by greed. I wasn't engaging in conversation with him to change his mind because he was hook and sinker, I just wanted an opportunity to not only have grabbed his attention. But long enough to really tell him how I felt from someone who's been in the used VG market for 10+ years and how I see people like him rigging the marketplace now for their greedy purposes.

And be careful using the phrase "going for $5000". That price is just the seller's wet dream. If you want to see what something is going for, look at sold listings. If the only available prices are way higher than the sold prices, it's because those are the ones that no one is buying.
If a particular game is too expensive, I'm glad there are thousands of other games I can play that are leas ridiculously priced.
No one game is too expensive unless it's a limited run copy or a one of a kind game out there. It's just absurd how bastardized this has all become now.
13-Feb-22 1:17am
#10
flamingtoastjpn
Bronze Good Trader

The retro gaming market has been bad and greed oriented - at bare minimum - since I started collecting in 2016; this isn't exactly a new thing. I've had people on this site try and take advantage of me when I was new to collecting for older consoles (I nearly screwed myself on a trade because I didn't realize Mega Man X2 and X3 were different games).

I feel like most of the recent price changes are due to game collecting becoming more mainstream so there's more demand, plus now newer systems like Gamecube are retro and those prices went up accordingly.

The one thing that really bothers me now compared to 5-6 years ago is just how quickly and thoroughly game libraries are being dissected. In the past you could find cool and fun games for relatively affordable prices as long as you looked around and avoided the usual suspects. Now though, people are obsessed with finding "hidden gems." Now all those lesser known but pretty good titles (Soul Blazer for SNES, etc.) are more expensive than a brand new game.

Speaking as someone who really enjoys retro games but *didn't* get to build up a big collection back when they were cheap... Yeah these prices suck lol. Fully agree on spending more time on playing what we already have!
13-Feb-22 1:58am
#11
Frozyre
GameTZ Subscriber Quadruple Gold Good Trader Global Trader - willing to trade internationally Has Written 3 Reviews

The prices are being hiked up because now we have these dumb grading systems in place, like WATA, being ran by hedge fundraisers. Back then, yeah, all we had to worry about was just small time hustlers who invade flea markets and thrift stores, taking up all of the good games to turn a profit. But even places like VGPC has now a "Graded Price" section that caters to this broken graded system that's worsening this. Mainstream too, thanks to shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars.

I don't endorse the practice for the sake of the site's policy but, I can't fault anyone now who strictly goes emulation either.
13-Feb-22 6:10am
#12
Missile
Double Gold Good Trader

I can tell you that the retro game market has always been terrible, you just didn't notice it because there were plenty of people who were willing to sell a rare/popular game for cheap back then. Now that everyone is well aware of the value these games have,coupled with other factors such as youtube influencers(le hidden gem man for example hyping every single fudging game up as if they were holy grails), it kinda becomes more obvious.
13-Feb-22 6:36am
#13
benstylus
GameTZ Subscriber GameTZ Full Moderator 550 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (1 minute ago)

https://www.ebay.com...
Best dang value in gaming right now

And Missile, I completely disagree. It's not that people didn't know what they were worth, it's that games weren't "worth" as much as they are now, because there were fewer people collecting, and fewer people just in it to speculate.

The scammers/fraudsters at WATA are focused mostly on the sealed game market (which let's be honest has always been more niche). There is a trickle-down effect though, as the stupid money people see the prices that graded games allegedly sell for.

It's really only been the last few years that prices have exploded. Complete NES and SNES games were always pricy, but now they have just gotten out of hand.

Gamecube prices are definitely among the most noticeable jumps, with games like Billy Hatcher that you could barely sell for $15 a few years ago now regularly hitting the $80 threshold or higher. Phantasy Star Online is in a similar boat. Chibi Robo, which you almost couldn't give away is now a $200+ game.

We've seen some of the games in our collection jum, sometimes even tenfold in value.


The Hakoboy Hakozume box I bought as a gift for sailorneorune a few years ago for the adorable Qbby amiibo regularly fetches $400+ on ebay now. The amiibo by itself goes for nearly $250 (just the figure, no packaging).
Shining Force CD used to go for around $100 for the longest time, then just in the last few years has crept up to the $400 or even $500 range for a complete copy.
Pulseman, we bought for about $60 years back, now it's a stomach-churning $600.

I don't even want to talk about Saturn games. We let most of ours go when we moved about ten years ago and I've almost just completely written off the Saturn and cashed out at this point due to the prices of the top tier games. I'm glad to have played through the top games like Panzer Dragoon Saga (highest used copy ebay sold listing $1,495.00), Burning Rangers ($899.00), Magic Knight Rayearth ($1,050), and Shining Force III ($600.00), but I'm never going to own them again in this market. I'm happy to have been utterly disappointed by the Saturn port of House of the Dead without having spent $769.69 on it.

But!

I do have a great collection of (mostly) affordable games that are lots of fun, and I've had a blast so far with the "beat a game for every system" topic so far.

I'm also happy that digital storefronts are taking retro gaming more seriously (although mostly on the arcade front), and I'm happy to own an Evercade, especially with the upcoming Renovation collection. There are also platforms like antstream that have lots of retro games available to play online.

I guess the short version is there are still a ton of great games out there at affordable prices, and even more so if you are fluent in Japanese. Your $1,100 CIB copy of Chrono Trigger for the SNES can be had for $69.99 on the Super Famicom. Not knowing Japanese means you pay a 1,713% premium.

I would say that as a gamer, the options to legally play a lot of great retro games are still relatively affordable. But collectors want what collectors want.

13-Feb-22 9:44am
#14
Gypsy
GameTZ Gold Subscriber 250 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Global Trader - willing to trade internationally This user is on the site NOW (2 minutes ago) Secret Santa

@benstylus As a long time PS1/2 collector, those have seen absolute insane bumps as well. Valkyrie Profile has always been up there, but it peaked all the way above $400 on PC with nice copies selling for more than that on eBay during that time. One of my favorite games but I sold it along with some others I enjoyed but realistically would never replay during that big spike. Then well yeah as you mentioned there is Sega CD lol. Love Popful Mail but uh well...

I converted to Japanese on the Dreamcast ages ago.

I like trying to help out other collectors but it's really hard now when it's harder to get deals. :(
13-Feb-22 10:58am
#15
benstylus
GameTZ Subscriber GameTZ Full Moderator 550 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (1 minute ago)

Gypsy wrote:
@benstylus As a long time PS1/2 collector, those have seen absolute insane bumps as well. Valkyrie Profile has always been up there, but it peaked all the way above $400 on PC with nice copies selling for more than that on eBay during that time.
Valkyrie Profile is great example of what I'm talking about in terms of gaming versus collecting. The PS1 version got a PSP remake (Lenneth) which has since been ported to IOS/Android.

So unless you just want to own a CIB copy of the original PS1 version, you can still legally play it (an arguably better version even) for under 20 dollars.

Yes there are some games there aren't legal ways to play otherwise, but there are tons of amazing games out there that you can still play inexpensively as long as you're not a slave to original hardware.

13-Feb-22 3:52pm
#16
dunno001
250 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Global Trader - willing to trade internationally

Yeah, as a collector, a lot of things are on pause for me. I was going for a US Sega CD and Saturn collection, but current prices are putting me on pause. Keio's price jump means I'm probably going to have to write that one off. I got most of the Saturn heavy hitters, but now the middlings I need are going for what the heavy hitters were. Game Gear hasn't spiked yet, so maybe I should finish that?
13-Feb-22 10:42pm
#17
flamingtoastjpn
Bronze Good Trader

benstylus wrote:
Gypsy wrote:> @benstylus As a long time PS1/2 collector, those have seen absolute insane bumps> as well. Valkyrie Profile has always been up there, but it peaked all the way above> $400 on PC with nice copies selling for more than that on eBay during that time. Valkyrie Profile is great example of what I'm talking about in terms of gaming versus collecting. The PS1 version got a PSP remake (Lenneth) which has since been ported to IOS/Android. So unless you just want to own a CIB copy of the original PS1 version, you can still legally play it (an arguably better version even) for under 20 dollars. Yes there are some games there aren't legal ways to play otherwise, but there are tons of amazing games out there that you can still play inexpensively as long as you're not a slave to original hardware.
A lot of games can be a poor experience on different hardware. Like for me, I don't personally mind playing RPG's on a handheld, but some people won't want to play a lengthy involved game that way. Especially on iOS.

The example I'll give is Recca. Sure you can play it legally, so long as you want to play it on a 3DS. Nintendo may as well send a representative to my house with a set of pliers, because having someone rip the tendons out of my hand sounds about as pleasant as playing Recca on a 3DS D-pad.

Emulation tends to solve those kinds of problems
13-Feb-22 11:40pm
#18
DaLastDon25
Gold Good Trader

To play Devil's Advocate, it's become almost impossible to make a living with a physical store. I live in Los Angeles and there's five or six stores that aren't GameStop in a city of ten million people. The last arcade I know is selling off machines at a furious pace just so they can keep the doors open.

You just can't expect to get even close to 50% of market value when you're trading into a shop. It's unrealistic and unproductive. If you want a decent return, you have to put in the work. List your games here, on EBay, Facebook marketplace, or rent a booth at a swap meet and see how hard it is to turn a profit when everyone and their mother tries to lowball you.
14-Feb-22 1:07am
#19
flamingtoastjpn
Bronze Good Trader

DaLastDon25 wrote:
To play Devil's Advocate, it's become almost impossible to make a living with a physical store. I live in Los Angeles and there's five or six stores that aren't GameStop in a city of ten million people. The last arcade I know is selling off machines at a furious pace just so they can keep the doors open. You just can't expect to get even close to 50% of market value when you're trading into a shop. It's unrealistic and unproductive. If you want a decent return, you have to put in the work. List your games here, on EBay, Facebook marketplace, or rent a booth at a swap meet and see how hard it is to turn a profit when everyone and their mother tries to lowball you.
I'm going to push back on this. In my personal experience, many local game stores try charging market price + 20% or something obscene compared to eBay prices so that they can cover overhead. They also kill their own inventory by offering low trade in prices, so nobody wants to trade in high value games. That's a tough sell in the internet era when every buyer can look up a game's going rate, and every seller has a DSLR-ish quality camera in their pocket.

The common counterpoint I always hear is "if you buy online you can't actually see what item you're buying," but in my 300 or so online transactions, there have only been 3 times where the item's condition were worse than I expected. 2 of the 3 were my own fault for not looking at photos close enough. Even with disc scratches which can be hard to see, eBay sellers typically make an effort to take good pics if you just message them.

As far as lowball offers go, sellers who hold out for maximum prices are going to cry and call anything under the VGPC price a "lowball offer" but that's not always reflective of the market. A lot of sellers are just trying to move inventory and are happy to be flexible on price to make a sale. In my experience, saving 10% - 30% under pricecharting is pretty typical, and that's on eBay where sellers are getting another 11% or so skimmed off the top!
14-Feb-22 5:19am
#20
benstylus
GameTZ Subscriber GameTZ Full Moderator 550 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (1 minute ago)

flamingtoastjpn wrote:
As far as lowball offers go, sellers who hold out for maximum prices are going to cry and call anything under the VGPC price a "lowball offer" but that's not always reflective of the market.
Have you tried selling anything on Facebook or are you just speaking from a buyer perspective? Because selling there can get you a LOT of lowball offers (or straight up scam offers, but we'll ignore those for the purpose of this argument). So low I would be embarrassed to know the person making the offer. Like if you were going to a dealership and trying to buy a new $30,000 sticker price car and you say to the dealer, "I'll offer you $4,000 cash for that car right now." The dealer shakes his head. "CASH," you repeat with emphasis.

We're not talking about 10 or 20 percent, but people trying to get 50 to 80 percent or more off your asking price. They are offering less than gamestop trade in value in a lot of cases. You know they aren't there to play the games, they just want to flip them and they hope you're desperate enough to need the cash.

Even after you reach a reasonable deal with someone and go to meet up to make the exchange, be prepared for the "ah, I forgot to go to the bank, all I got on me is $X, can you cut me a deal?"

Heck you even get a little of that sort of thing here sometimes...

You post a list of in the marketplace forums, other trader interested in a few games you have listed that add up to $50 + shipping. "Hey, would you be able to do $30 shipped?" When you tell them that's a pretty big drop from your asking price, "Oh, I must have added wrong, I meant to offer $x". Might be funny if it only happened once.

Or similarly, receiving an offer like "I know it's low, but would you take $30 shipped?" They are insinuating an apology, but lowballing anyway.

14-Feb-22 9:09am
#21
Cevil
Gold Good Trader

Even if I wanted to be a lowballer I don't think I could do it. It just feels like I'm stooping to the same level as a thief. I think it's different when someone throws out the "make me an offer" line. In that case I think throwing out a lower offer is okay. But when someone is asking $200 and you say $40, yeah, go to hell. Places like marketplace and offerup/craigslist are dominated by resellers. I would say upwards of 90% of your responses are going to be lowballers.

Being in the Retro Game Market is just depressing