The video game market is at a time when it’s never been bigger, consistently delivering an unlimited amount of high-quality entertainment for both experienced and inexperienced gamers, ranging from AAA games that require tens of millions of dollars to produce , until the re-releases and remasters of retro games done decades ago. The market has grown to accommodate dozens of different types of games, and over the past few years retro games have made a comeback in many different forms.

Some companies, such as BANDAI NAMCO, have completely recreated some of their most famous games, such as last year’s release of PAC-MAN 99 on the Nintendo Switch. In other cases, companies like Atari have chosen to port older games, such as the original donkey kong, to current-gen consoles so players can experience older games on newer hardware. This kind of trend can also be found elsewhere in the industry, as Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is designed with backwards compatibility, being able to run games dating back to the original Xbox, allowing gamers the freedom to play and experience hundreds of older games. which have never been updated.


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In addition to companies re-releasing older games, there are also many stores focused on reselling retro games, with many retro gaming classics making a comeback through resale. These stores provide a convenient physical way to browse and discover older titles. They also allow for instant gratification, as buying retro games from websites can sometimes take time due to auctions and shipping. These stores typically sell games from most older game systems, ranging from the NES to the PlayStation 2. The downside to many stores is that in order to compete with online auction websites, where much of the retro game market is centered, prices may be inflated to match online prices. In addition to retro retail stores, auctions take advantage of the retro video game market. In an article published by Business Interna copy of Super Mario 64 sold for $1.5 million at auction. Not even a month later, another copy of the game was sold for $2 million.

Retro games are being seen as an investment by speculators

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So the question remains: why are retro games so expensive? Part of the answer is that people have started to think of them as investments. The two aforementioned copies of Super Mario 64 were not sold in the traditional way, but rather sold in the form of shares, which made it easier for people to come in and invest. Similar to Antstream Arcade Subscription, which makes retro arcade games more accessible by providing them as a service for a monthly subscription, this method of selling classic games offers a simple, modern solution for people to get into. the market, giving those who have invested the opportunity to walk away with massive gains, making it a lucrative investment. At a traditional auction, copies of the game have been selling for the $100,000 range for the past few years, and now, due to the change in how it’s sold, it may be worth much more.

After visiting one of these retro game stores, Evan Nixon expressed their concerns on Twitter after spotting a used copy of The Simpsons: Hit & Run for the Nintendo GameCube. This game was released in 2003 and is only available on early 2000s hardware, and was priced at $119.95. These prices are higher than some of the online listings because on Amazon the game could be purchased for $89.99. For comparison, some modern AAA video games, like the recent Demon’s Souls remake for the PlayStation 5, only recently made the jump to $69.99, so paying way over that for a 19 year old game is a big ask for those just looking to play it rather than see it as an investment. Nixon also mentions in the tweet that they spotted a copy of Crazy 2002 which was priced around $30, which seems unreasonable given that the Madden franchise has a new installment every year, which makes it seem like there should generally be lower demand for older editions of the franchise.

Retro gaming and console hardware is continually aging

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Another reason retro games are getting more expensive is that there’s a greater demand for them as older units start to age and break down, making surviving items more valuable. This makes devices like the Analogue Pocket, a modern retro handheld more appealing to the masses because they no longer need to acquire and maintain older console hardware, but can play physical games on a newer device. In some cases, game labels are torn and discolored, making them harder to sell due to poor quality, and many retro games are missing boxes. While these types of offers are usually much cheaper, it also serves to increase the price of rarer full copies of games, especially those without major damage. It can be quite difficult to find used complete copies of Game Boy Advance titles, for example, which are almost always missing their original packaging, making those with their original outer boxes much more expensive to acquire.

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With the expansion of the gaming industry, as well as the rise of methods such as split investing and auctions, retro subscription services, companies carrying older games, retro handheld devices and emulators , retro games have increased in terms of visibility. Sometimes this has led to a steep drop in the price of an original boxed copy of a game, particularly if the primary reason for owning it was to play it (rather than treating it as an investment), but it has also increased awareness of gaming history with newer generations, and as older gamers become wealthier, they also have a greater ability to pay for some of the titles they remember from their youth.

retro games continue to influence and inspire modern series, especially in the indie scene, with many indie games developed in retro styles, giving them an older feel but with current control schemes and gameplay mechanics. As game preservation becomes a broader and more nuanced topic, and organizations like the Video Game History Foundation strive to preserve digital game history for future generations, the value of retro gaming will no doubt doubt that continue to increase. One can only hope that more ports and re-releases will become the norm, as it might not be much longer before the average person can afford to try out older games they might be interested in. .

Next: Why Retro Game Prices Are Skyrocketing During COVID-19

Source: Business Intern, Evan Nixon/Twitter

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