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Do You Think A Price Crash Is Coming?


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There's been a lot of talk around here (especially lately) about how older systems and games have been getting more and more expensive over the last half a dozen or so years, sometimes absurdly so. It makes me curious where the retro market is going to go in the future, and whether the recent upward trend in price will be sustainable over the coming years or if a crash is imminent. What do you guys and gals think?

 

Do you think prices will continue to rise indefinitely? Will they plateau at some point and create a stable market value for retro systems and games for the foreseeable future? Or do you anticipate a crash coming that will cause systems and games to plummet back down to their former values? I'm really curious to know what you think the future holds for the financial aspect of our hobby.

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Strictly speaking of pre-crash video game consoles here's what I think is going to happen...

 

50 years from now the majority of Generation X is going to be dead. Collectors of pre-crash video game consoles from that generation is going to pass their collection onto their heirs. Their heirs aren't going to want the stuff so they're going to dump them onto the market e.g. GameGavel ;-) Craigslist, garage sales and they're going to find out that it's hard finding a buyer. Therefore prices are going to be dirt cheap.

 

Good luck trying to find someone to repair pre-crash consoles in 50 years. I'm sure a lot of people will say screw playing on original hardware I'll just play it in emulation. In that respect, owning the hardware won't be desirable.

 

And speaking from experience of attending TooManyGames in recent years pre-crash console games are hard to find in the marketplace. For the most part it's Nintendo and Sega. And if you do find pre-crash games it's Pac-Man for the 2600 or Donkey Kong for the ColecoVision. OK I'm exaggerating but I'm telling you it's not much for a collector that has a decent size collection already.

 

My son is 14 years old. All the video games he buys are downloads for the Xbox. When he reaches my current age there's nothing to collect that will be nostalgic.

 

If you want to make money on your collection sell sooner than later.

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Prices will fall soon in my opinion. I know 3 big collectors, 2 near near me and they all sold out most everything within the last year. The 2 near me sold "Mostly to me". With the massive production of emulation people no longer need to pay the high prices. I have highly contemplated selling off everything but really just decided to dump most of my high end stuff. I started about 6 months ago dumping most of my $100+ games.

 

I see many doing the same. Add in reproductions and fakes and only a few diehard hardcore collectors are going to keep paying absurdly high prices. The casual gamer no longer needs to be into this "pool" of playing original high priced games. Even if you prefer original hardware you still have stuff like everdrive, powerpak, and reproductions.

 

It is inevitable. Sure people are trying to keep their game values high but they are going to drop especially nes and snes. Other platforms that are not hit as hard will not show as much impact but I firmly believe the bubble will pop soon.

 

For the most part I have already seen a price drop in Sealed nes. 5 years ago Mario nes sealed was $1000 all day, now you are lucky to get $500. It is coming, maybe not all at once but prices will fall.

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It depends on where you are I suppose.

Here, price have reached absurd high levels here in a minimal amount of time... But I saw that lately, prices stagnate, because ass-rat sellers pushed the market too far too fast, resulting in a general stalling. When you're displaying a Zelda 1 or Castlevania II game for 100/120€, you can't really get further up... And at least for NES and SNES, prices have stopped. Playstation and N64 prices still rise up, but I noticed a slowdown there too. Not that they were going as high in the first place, bbut it doesn't get much higher.

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Good question. The people who grew up with the 2600 or NES are in their 40s (or less), and there's plenty of time for them to remember their childhood before they die off. Are plenty of new people coming in to the hobby? That would make a difference in keeping prices silly.

 

Insane stuff like those Cosmos prototypes may never collapse. You hear about stamp collecting dying off, but I would assume there's still stamps that are quite expensive. Have prices fallen on the whole in that hobby? Not sure; just thinking. Some high-grade vintage baseball cards are certainly going crazy right now. Then again, it could be apples and oranges and video game prices could behave differently.

Edited by Zookeeper
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They won't rise forever. In fact I predict falling prices on the horizon. If you have an extensive collection of common playable games, not necessarily 1-off special collector's edition limited release items, get ready to sell. I don't think there will be a sudden crash or anything. But instead we'll see declining interest as new generations of gamers become active and the older ones fade away.

 

Videogames are everywhere!

 

Emulation is now the preferred method of playing the classics. No one wants to mess around with balky 70's and 80's hardware anymore when they can have a superior experience on fresh reliable hardware. Who cares if it's "only" 98% accurate. Whether it be traditional emulation on the PC, virtual game packs downloaded to your console, R-Pi rigs, hand-held units, MAME cabinets, emulation set-top-boxes, or smartphones and tablets; Emulation is here to stay! And with it, falling prices.

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I would guess we are going to see a decline here shortly. the choices now a days for emulation and movement from people wanting to downsize lifestyles would make it seem to me that there could be a regular influx of games to the market. Now count in Gamestop and other retailers trying to market on the Retro deal we could end up seeing Atari carts at WalMart just when no one wants them anymore. There are lots of other factors though that could make drastic changes such as world economy and floods of repro carts that could definitely help change prices lower as well but we can only see. I give it another year or two.

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So working at a game store where we sell old games 'n stuff, this is what I see.

 

  • Pre-Crash stuff won't move, no matter how hard we push it. I'm one of the only people who really goes after it around here, as I love my Atari and all that stuff, but we don't get many people who are interested in it. By "won't move", we had a Light 6-switch with 40 loose carts in varying condition, two sticks, two sets of paddles, the PSU, and a RCA to Coax adapter for $120, then $100, then $80, and finally $60 before it we put it in towards the back because it wouldn't sell at all. The most interest we get in these things are people who had them as kids, or occasionally someone will see "Atari" and go "oh yeah I saw that on youtube once, the graphics suck and it has ET so it sucks right?" and then walk off. So yeah, we marked down prices a good bunch on this stuff and it won't sell to many people, and so have a few other local shops. Also, Colecovision/Intellivision we almost never get and Odyssey2 we only had once and it took about three months to sell.
  • If it's got Nintendo or Sega on it, it will sell. People will dump lots of money for a NES, SNES, Genesis, etc. and not really care, so these are always on shelves, and they almost always sell. The only carts that I don't really see move much are the commons that everyone owns, ones that nobody's heard of, or the titles that most people call crap. Also, there's a massive age range of people buying these, anywhere from 10 to 40 (Maybe greater) so yeah, more sells to more people.

 

So do I think a price crash will happen? On "pre-crash" stuff, yeah sure I could see it happening - all the people who used to have 'em are getting older and out of it, and I know from having friends over and showing them the Atari that few games are really "entertaining" to them and E.T. is the only game they know because "Oh AVGN" or whatever, but when they see the NES or SNES they can list of 10 or 20 games and love it, so I don't think any of that will be going down for a good bit.

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.... but when they see the NES or SNES they can list of 10 or 20 games and love it, so I don't think any of that will be going down for a good bit.

 

Can you quantify "a good bit?" Like, 5 years?

 

I still think it's weird that people continue to buy plastic cartridges when literally everything is a 10 second download away and can run great on a $40 tablet.

 

It's cool that you can make a living off selling old games 'n stuff!

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I would guess we are going to see a decline here shortly. the choices now a days for emulation and movement from people wanting to downsize lifestyles would make it seem to me that there could be a regular influx of games to the market. Now count in Gamestop and other retailers trying to market on the Retro deal we could end up seeing Atari carts at WalMart just when no one wants them anymore. There are lots of other factors though that could make drastic changes such as world economy and floods of repro carts that could definitely help change prices lower as well but we can only see. I give it another year or two.

 

 

Yes. I was thinking 2-3 years. And I believe that second to emulation, is the demographics of the new players. They don't want the old hardware. But there is always going to be a minority (and shrinking) group wanting nothing but original hardware.

 

And I don't know if it's all about downsizing out of necessity or simply wanting a more aesthetically pleasing environment with less clutter. I know I'm getting more and more ansty myself to cut my Apple II material down to size and keep only what I had from back in the day. Not because of money or space, but more for being able to look at it and say, yeh, this is pretty cool.

 

It also has to be understood that back in the 70's and 80's there was a lot less distractions, and messing with consoles and 8-bit computers was a new frontier. Today not as much. "Messing around" means playing on your smartphone or digging into the workings of a PC or doing social media. Not seeing how much you can lower your score in Miniature Golf or what strategies work in Demon Attack.

 

In fact we're seeing much more active discussion about right-sizing and trying to figure out where to go than almost any other videogame topic.

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I still think it's weird that people continue to buy plastic cartridges when literally everything is a 10 second download away and can run great on a $40 tablet.

 

 

I prefer to play games on consoles with a CRT. But I have no attachment to individual cartridges. I've gone multicart for every system where it's available and couldn't be happier. Without devices like the Harmony cart I wouldn't be able to play some great WIPs like Scramble and Pac-Man 8K on the 2600.

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Can you quantify "a good bit?" Like, 5 years?

 

I still think it's weird that people continue to buy plastic cartridges when literally everything is a 10 second download away and can run great on a $40 tablet.

 

It's cool that you can make a living off selling old games 'n stuff!

 

I figure the pre-crash stuff has lasted this long, ~40 years, so I'd say the post-crash stuff could last the same amount if not longer because it's got more of a following with the younger generation people. We still sell a good bit of carts, heck NES/SNES does as well as say the new stuff, so if stuff keeps going how I see it is at the shop, I'd say 10 years or so.

 

But, with emulation, flashcarts, better clone hardware, reproductions, etc. then maybe prices could drop faster than that? What I figure is that either people will keep paying the crazy prices and it'll last that long, or that the alternatives become more common and stuff will drop faster. (which is what I think will happen around now) But that's just what I think, who knows what'll happen?

Edited by BurritoBeans
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The last few days, I've (finally, after putting it off for months and months) been taking boxes of some of my overflow to local used video game stores and selling.

 

I'm really surprised at how many stores there are near me that buy used games and accessories. It reminds me of a while back, maybe 20 years ago, when there were all these comic book stores opening up everywhere selling "limited editions" and underground comics. Those are mostly gone now, and I'll bet most video game stores will be soon, as well.

 

I'm getting cash prices anywhere from 20% to 35% of high-end ebay/pricecharts prices. I know when I sell stuff at a game show, I normally get 50% to 60% when I want it to gone for sure. I might get close to 100% for a few items, but mostly things don't sell fast at that level. Anybody with a store can command higher prices, as can someone who is willing to do the detailed and exhausting work of selling online, but I'm happy with my effort/results ratio. Especially since I've always purchased smart and my investment is minimal.

 

I don't know what the future prices will be, but I want to enjoy the stuff I like and get a little cash for the rest and "who cares anyway".

 

I'll bet there will be more and more people like me as we all age.

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Trust me when I tell you with in a year you are going to see prices declining on most nes/snes/genesis games and maybe others. People are being educated now and learning about playing on different media. You now have 100 people going to every yard sale and thrift store in a 20 mile radius just looking for games to resell. These games are being pulled out of everyone's house and tossed online and into game stores. Many "collectors" are getting out and there is becoming a huge influx of games available.

 

Then you have the reproductions which take away from people needing the real deal. The supply is constantly increasing and the demand is going to start decreasing. The problem is you "had" a bunch of 30 year olds who wanted to relive their childhood the past couple years. Now they are going to get out of it again along w/all the collectors who realize their collection is worth too much to keep now.

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So working at a game store where we sell old games 'n stuff, this is what I see.

 

  • Pre-Crash stuff won't move, no matter how hard we push it. I'm one of the only people who really goes after it around here, as I love my Atari and all that stuff, but we don't get many people who are interested in it. <snip>
  • The most interest we get in these things are people who had them as kids, or occasionally someone will see "Atari" and go "oh yeah I saw that on youtube once, the graphics suck and it has ET so it sucks right?" and then walk off. So yeah, we marked down prices a good bunch on this stuff and it won't sell to many people, and so have a few other local shops. Also, Colecovision/Intellivision we almost never get and Odyssey2 we only had once and it took about three months to sell. <snip>

 

It might be as simple as "Old because "old"". And old isn't cool to an up an coming gamer of this new generation. Old means dad's crusty stuff and dad's "slow - dull - boring" games from the historical years.

 

Don't get me wrong, there'll always be some interest in the pre-NES material. But it will be a different interest, less interesnt, with a different audience. Just not an audience of gamers, but of historians and people looking for contrast and perspectives and reminiscing.

 

Like I said before, today's gamer's aren't intersted in Basic Math time trials or marathon Laser Blast sessions. Not when they have a smartphone in pocket.

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Trust me when I tell you with in a year you are going to see prices declining on most nes/snes/genesis games and maybe others. People are being educated now and learning about playing on different media. You now have 100 people going to every yard sale and thrift store in a 20 mile radius just looking for games to resell. These games are being pulled out of everyone's house and tossed online and into game stores. Many "collectors" are getting out and there is becoming a huge influx of games available.

 

I suspect you're right. So what happens to this stuff when it's not worth selling, whether online or in a dedicated store?

 

I'm sitting on my 1980s collection of ~80 VCS cartridges, because I know it isn't worth much money even though I'm not particularly attached to it and literally haven't touched it in over 10 years. I might just do what I did with my comics collection, just saying F it and selling as a bulk set to someone in more need than me to part out and resell online. Or I'll just hang on to it and continue to ignore it.

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Trust me when I tell you with in a year you are going to see prices declining on most nes/snes/genesis games and maybe others. People are being educated now and learning about playing on different media. You now have 100 people going to every yard sale and thrift store in a 20 mile radius just looking for games to resell. These games are being pulled out of everyone's house and tossed online and into game stores. Many "collectors" are getting out and there is becoming a huge influx of games available.

 

Then you have the reproductions which take away from people needing the real deal. The supply is constantly increasing and the demand is going to start decreasing. The problem is you "had" a bunch of 30 year olds who wanted to relive their childhood the past couple years. Now they are going to get out of it again along w/all the collectors who realize their collection is worth too much to keep now.

 

 

Word has gotten out, reselling games is a hot topic. When that happens, just like in the stock market, the big money has been made and it's all fritting and fretting thereafter.

 

We just had our annual tech bash party this weekend. I gave away a carton of Flashbacks as party favors. And they seemed to go over good. I heard jokes and jibes about people wanting to get real original hardware from BITD. And they were indeed joking, nobody wanted the "old-man stuff". The flashbacks were cool and fun and satisfied the nostalgia - for those that had VCS games in their youth.

 

I also gave away another load of old PC hardware. Some real good, some real crap. I'm only permitted to fill half of one garage with shit per the spousal unit - unless I spring for another one. There was great interest in pre-Vista hardware. No one was asking about game consoles. Maybe it was the type of crowd? Contradictorily they were thrilled with the Flashbacks. I guess we're an odd bunch.

 

 

Some notable giveaways.

A bunch of Dell Dimension office machines, from Pentium III 450's through Core2 boxes

A number of 1280x1024 monitors

A bucket of assorted Slot-1 processors

Couple of cartons of ISA and AGP boards. SoundBlasters, non-win-modems, GeForce AGP

Asus P4 motherboards, P4T-533, P4-800e

A bunch of my spare Abit BX6-R2's I couldn't move at even $25.

Box of Rambus sticks, and regular RAM

Assorted Micronics 200 and 400 mobos

Shoebox of Pentium and AMD K series 60MHz through 350MHz processors

Some hard disks, 200MB - 1.6GB though everyone wanted DOM - I didn't have any

Millions of pounds of desktop cases and power supplies

Billions of pounds of wires and cables and various brackets

 

Everyone was talking about wanting to build up older DOS computers. There was also some interest in the remaining arcade hardware, specifically the controllers. Probably for building their own projects.

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A few years ago, I gave away a similar pile of obsolete crap to the local university electrical engineering department. Lots of old computer parts, plus early Roku wifi music streamers, NSLU2 headless UNIX computers (pre-Raspberry Pi, these were neat), lots of primitive Palm devices ... you could build a very slow, stupid, and ugly robot with all that stuff.

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Hi guys,

 

The best time for me purchasing video games was during the U.S. recession around 2009-2011 (namely Neo-Geo AES goodies. The games and systems that I purchase were so inexpensive at the time, I took advantage of it before the markets slowly recuperated and prices went outrageously high once more! Sadly, I haven't had any luck with good deals for the past few years with video games in general, and will continue to wait when prices start dipping once again in the future.

 

My personal view is that prices will eventually decrease when the video game market bubble burst or if we hit another recession in the country.......which I hope I doesn't happen again. Plenty of my friends lost their jobs, houses and their 401k's took a real beating :(

 

Anthony...

Edited by fdurso224
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I am definitely predicting a price drop. I don't think it will be because of emulation or because of a loss in interest. There realy is a whole new generation becoming interested in these games. I always say video games have not gotten any better over the years they only look better. I had a friend who's son had a psp. It was hacked and he asked me to put god of war on it. The next day he wanted a different game... This went on for a while so I put on an emulator with a bunch of nes games and he was set for weeks... He loved it. For many emulation is more of a gateway drug that makes you want something more pure. Here is the thing emulation has been around for a very very long time. long before the prices rose. I believe prices are rising simply because the idea that all these games are valuable has hit the mainstream. That combined with resellers buying up and hoarding all the popular titles has simply made the idea of value become a reality. Most of these games are not rare at all, most are not really even all that uncommon. The truly rare ones will maintain value and likely rise. The vast majority I believe will fall from where there current perceived value is down to it's actual value. Which is a long way down.

 

Actually emulation did get me into collecting. I had been emulating in the mid to late 90's with nesticle on a pentium 100. Then on my dreamcast. My dreamcast was lost for a while and I thought I just had to replace it. It was then I realized I was using it mostly for emulation so why not just replace it with the real thing? I did and the sickness only grew from there. Oh and don't worry I did get my dreamcast back.

Edited by Dripfree
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