The P-Cult is CulturePopTV.com’s Business Editor and op-ed columnist. In his installment series, “The Business of Collecting,” he offers business insights for pop culture events, collector markets and relevant industry and sector analysis.
The P-Cult also currently works as an advisory consultant, focusing on finance and accounting process improvement and business strategy within the retail and consumer products sector. He has worked for three of the top four consulting firms in the world and maintains several professional certifications.
The P-Cult holds three degrees in accounting, corporate finance and accountancy.
Gone are the days of finding $2 NES carts. If you’ve been in the hobby long enough to remember FuncoLand, chances are you remember how cheap NES games used to be (some games sold for as low as 50 cents, and that’s retail!). Well adjust for inflation and those days are back! …Just not for the 8 bit generation.
With “next-gen” consoles being nearly two years old, it seems to time for game stores to clear out their old stock of PS3 and 360 games. As people put away their old consoles, the market for those games correspondingly decreases. Now that large titles are no longer being ported to “last-gen” systems, many mid-tier and lower level developers are no longer interested in releasing games for the PS3 or 360. This trickle effect continues all the way down to used game prices.
Just like when we made the leap to 64 bit and CD based systems, the games of yesteryear went neglected and sold for pennies on the dollar. You may be thinking that if you wait a few more years, or until the next system comes out, you’d be able to get an even better deal. Well, that may not be true.
People often make the argument that nostalgic items, like toys and games, start to become popular when the children who used to play with them, start to earn disposable income. That may be true, but it’s certainly not the only factor that drives up price and popularity. If we look back to when collecting for the NES became in vogue, we would note that other systems prices, that previously remained flat for years, started to move again. Once NES cart prices started to sky rocket, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis prices started to shoot-up within a year or so. The timeline for expected popularity, based on buyer age, was getting shorter and shorter. Why wasn’t there more of a gap? One factor is because these collectors were mostly the same people. They weren’t collecting based on merely what they grew up playing, but what the market was dictating.
At one point, Genesis games were almost worthless. After more collectors started getting into Genesis games, prices rose accordingly. This translated to more Genesis consoles being purchased, and quickly led to a price increase for Sega CD and 32X game prices. In essence, collectors being priced out of the NES market just kept expanding into different systems, regardless of their release dates.
For many PS3/360 games we’ve reached the bottom of the market.
So how does this apply to the PS3 and Xbox 360? Collectors have become well aware of the market and now understand how long it takes and how much it costs to complete a full-set. The advertising and marketing that we’ve all been bombarded with for years under the previous generation of systems is still fresh in our minds, and we all realize how many great games we’ve had over the past decade.
For many PS3/360 games we’ve reached the bottom of the market. If you can find any game for $1-2 dollars, do you really think it will go any lower? Even for sports games, once people start collecting full-sets, prices will rise.
So what are some tips for buying at the bottom of the market? Any $1-2 game should probably be an immediate buy. In a few years, the case alone will probably be worth more than that. You should also look for any coupons, bundles or discounts for pre-owned games at game stores or online. Buying the rare and expensive games now will save a lot of money down the road if you plan to complete your set. I’ve heard a lot of regret stories from collectors who passed up on expensive titles early on, only to purchase them years later at 50-100 times the price. If we look at trends in retro gaming, we tend to find that very late releases in the lifespan of a console tend to command higher prices, this is because they are typically released in small numbers and look great graphically and play well as developers have mastered the system. So don’t be afraid to take a chance on a new release for a last-gen system.
– The P-Cult