Jump to content

The state of collecting retro, value vs quality, AKA - why eBay is such a mess


Goemon
 Share

Recommended Posts

32 minutes ago, Grey Fox said:

Not saying this is the case for Arrow Flash but another reason prices can seem high for some games is that they may not have been released in a certain territory or if they were then it was in extremely low numbers - for example see Acclaim games the Megadrive in Japan. Therefore the price for a common PAL game is much much higher for the Japanese variant and then the PAL version price starts to rise too

 

Or possibly a certain release was censored/changed/cut down

 

Or it may be a label variation so the price will get driven up by the completionist collector

 

or sometimes two people get into a bidding war and drive a price up (sometimes those people may be confused and think it is a different game or don't know how to see that there are other copies of the same game listed or aren't patient or maybe they really really need that specific game as the perfect present for a loved one and will pay whatever it takes)

This is a really good post. Particularly about the Japanese/versus Europe stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few other things to consider:

 

There is often little correlation between the "cost" of a game and the "quality" of said game, although obviously there can be. For example Sega Rally on Saturn is an amazing game but you can get it a lot cheaper than say The Crow (which is terrible)

 

Comes down to some weird equation involving:

 

Condition (boxed complete etc)

 

Availability/scarcity (was it common, did it sell well, was it released in all territories, was it banned in certain countries? E.g. Manhunt, Rule of Rose etc)

 

Format (did the machine sell well)

 

Origin/background(did the company or games director go on to release something later that made a significant impact? This can lead to people wanting to explore earlier works in the franchise or from the same team much like they do with films or music)

 

Is it a popular character/franchise (this can have a knock on effect or if the series or character gets a reboot it can make it suddenly more interesting)

 

Quality (this can help add to the price too)

 

Newly discovered secrets (this can increase the interest in a game too)

 

Random other factors too

 

 

Also many of these games are 20 to 30 years old. The supply of them will get less and less especially if all of these Collectors are merely putting them on their shelves and not playing them. Every year there must be less copies available as no-one is making any more and at least a few every year will be binned/destroyed/thrown in the loft

 

One thing that I do want to mention. Obviously this is purely anecdotal as there are plenty of speculators/collectors who do Hoover up anything retro at any price but the serious collectors that I have met don't tend to use EBay these days. They tend to trade directly with each other and through Forums etc or get up early and trawl round Car Boot sales. They are often very focussed on their collecting too e.g. All games, variants and merchandise in a specific franchise. If they are collecting Megadrive they will very likely already have a copy of Arrow Flash so it is unlikely to be them driving the price up

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are still good priced games to be found on eBay, but it's more difficult...

 

Mainly because eBay has made it incredibly easy to be a lazy, part-time seller. You can just automatically relist stuff if it doesn't sell, it typically doesn't cost you anything to list the item and you can work out the value by using bidvoy, which will give you the average price and trends. 

 

So you've essentially got the ability to have a shop which literally has no overheads unless you sell something. And it's a shop where punters will find you, because they're specifically searching for your products! Amazing! Then you just price it at a Buy it Now that's 30% more than the tracking sales value, because if people are desperate for something, they'll pay a little bit over the odds. Plus we're talking about a limited supply product, so there's a chance that the BIN game is the only option at that moment in time, so maybe you'll snap up someone who has no idea how much it should really go for. The seller's made a really good profit, so they only need to sell a handful of games a week and unfortunately this is the way eBay has moved to, instead of in the past when it was people treating it like a car boot sale and were just flogging stuff off and any money was good.

 

I've got into Spectrum games again and I've just bought some compilations, paying £1 each for them (with an average 50p shipping per item when it was combined). Those same compilations can go anywhere between £5 to £10 each with other BIN auctions. I think the other thing is that, especially with the 8-bit stuff, is that sellers are buying big bundles and splitting them up. So buy a bundle of 50 games  for £50 and then sell each of the games for BIN £5-£10. You only need to sell about 10 of those games to start turning a profit, once eBay commissions kicks in. And it could take a year to sell those games, but it doesn't matter because it's not like you're paying for a shop or other overheads!

 

Something I now do is set up saved searches for specific games I'm interested in, with a maximum price, and just wait for it to come up at a decent bid price. Seem to work really well with Speccy games because once you've made a bid, it's typically unlikely anyone else bids for it - so you end up winning it for a few quid tops. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Alexlotl said:

I don't know why it's never previously occurred to me to set a max price on saved searches. That's genius.

 

Ha, yeah there's nothing more disappointing than getting an email from eBay about an item you're interested in... only to see it for sale for a ridiculous amount (and even more so when it's the same game that's not selling and just being constantly automatically resisted!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was my point though. Is there a big difference between a Collector (has lots of games and doesn't play them) and a gamer who has lots of games (but not enough time to play them all).

 

Most Collectors I know have played all of the games in their collection at least a little bit but then that is because most of the Collectors I know would define themselves as gamers first and foremost and much of their collection is just games they bought to play and then kept.

 

Is there a middle ground. Can we break down to:

 

Collector Hoarder (just collects to accumulate the biggest number of games possible)

 

Collector (collects to display, the rarer the better)

 

Collector Gamer (buys games to play them but then keeps them, enjoys having a library of games to dip into)

 

Gamer (has a transient collection of games, buys games, plays them, trades/sells and moves on to the next thing)

 

Although presumably there are far more strata to the whole thing.

 

Personally I don't think it is the Collectors (whichever type they are) that are the dominant force driving the prices up.

 

I think it is more likely the Scalper / Flipper community. They hoover stuff up without ever considering playing the game but purely to sell for a profit. 

 

For example see the NES Mini and the SNES Mini. If it was just Collectors then they wouldn't be available on EBay for three times retail price. They would be stuck on a shelf (I.e not for sale)

 

Sane with Car Boot sales. They hoover everything up to resell. This then causes the sellers to think the jacked up price on EBay is the going rate.

 

What perpetuates that is that every now and again (as discussed above) someone pays that price and then it becomes the de facto price for that title.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 08/09/2017 at 16:34, Vimster said:

Oh I have been using Facebook groups more and more, especially for computer games. Trouble is you have to be super-quick to get in there, either hitting a post as soon as you get the notification and making a decision right there, or sitting on the page refreshing for new listings. Most of the time I see someone selling, say, C64 disk games (really rare to see those on sale) and note it has 40+ comments, know it probably all went ages ago. You can build up a good rapport with regular sellers, the best make it easy to "build a pile", or will 'mention' you on a post to let you know something is on. It's not perfect and there are no real protections for buyers but we all know it's buyer beware on this sort of stuff.

Could you suggest a good group or two for this? Thinking of picking up some old home computer stuff again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Nush said:

Years ago, about 12 to be precise I sold a lot Megadrive games on EBay including Arrow Flash and it usually went for a considerable amount consistently. I worked out why, it's a 2D 16 Bit Japanese SHUMP. That was it. You've got these younger buyers who don't read reviews and just buy based on that criteria. Take a look, they'll all be decent earners, Curse, Heavy Unit, Darius II regardless of the quality.

 

i'm starting a defense of arrow flash - quite underrated.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Nush said:

Years ago, about 12 to be precise I sold a lot Megadrive games on EBay including Arrow Flash and it usually went for a considerable amount consistently. I worked out why, it's a 2D 16 Bit Japanese SHUMP. That was it. You've got these younger buyers who don't read reviews and just buy based on that criteria. Take a look, they'll all be decent earners, Curse, Heavy Unit, Darius II regardless of the quality.

 

I was just thinking about the PC Engine version of Heavy Unit. Oh and I bought Dragon Spirits last night, when really what I wanted was Saint Dragon...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, kernow said:

I never got the "2000+ games" thing. I've never owned more than 100 at a time and currently have about 40 over all my systems. 2000 just seems a bit goober like you know you should have another hobby really x 

 

I probably have about 1,000 and barely spend maybe 1 hour a day playing.  I just don't have time.  The hoarder in me means I still have the first games I ever got (my SNES collection, and my N64 collection).  The working adult in me means I added to those collection.  The full time worker / father / person with other hobbies in me means I don't even have a SNES or an N64 set up.

In short, I have around 1,000 because I have another hobby.

 

I use the word collection, but what is a collection?  I own a bunch of games, mainly Nintendo, that I bought because I wanted to play them, I kept because I loved playing them, or because I never got around to it and they are supposed to be decent.

 

On 9/9/2017 at 22:46, Grey Fox said:

This was my point though. Is there a big difference between a Collector (has lots of games and doesn't play them) and a gamer who has lots of games (but not enough time to play them all).

 

No, I don't think there is, but does it really matter, we all buy things for different reasons.

 

On 9/9/2017 at 22:46, Grey Fox said:

For example see the NES Mini and the SNES Mini. If it was just Collectors then they wouldn't be available on EBay for three times retail price. They would be stuck on a shelf (I.e not for sale)

 

The thing that makes them 3x retail price isn't collectors, it's gamers.  It's people with money that actually want to play them, and are willing to spend that sort of cash to do so.  Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it - perhaps it's just your example (the NES and SNES Minis - since in the grander scheme of things, there are actually quite a lot of them!) because, I think you hit it right on the head here for rarer items:

 

On 9/9/2017 at 22:46, Grey Fox said:

Sane with Car Boot sales. They hoover everything up to resell. This then causes the sellers to think the jacked up price on EBay is the going rate.

 

What perpetuates that is that every now and again (as discussed above) someone pays that price and then it becomes the de facto price for that title.

 

The problem with gaming is that valuable games can be popular and worth enough that with little to no knowledge you can simply hoover them up and sell them on.

SNES games are a great example.  You only need 1 Mario Kart or Allstars, Metroid, Zelda etc. to make that £40 console + 10 games worth it for reselling.

Simply rules like 'ignore sports and kids games' are easily applied and almost always right.

 

On the last page, there was talk about why people collected PAL games - these are what we grew up with.  I adore my SNES collection.  I didn't care at the time that the games were 10% slower, or had little black borders on them, the games were still fun, and I sunk hours into them.  They are part of my childhood, my memories, some of the best fun moments of my life.

The hassle of finding and collecting NTSC SNES games, and replacing all the ones I already have?  No thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing that I always forget, even though it seems obvious, is that some of this stuff is getting really old and demand for it is higher now than 10-15 years ago as more older gamers feel the pinch of nostalgia and younger gamers have a near infinite resource of information about older games they might want to own physical copies of.

 

I remember seeing almost everything you could want from the 16-bit era (PAL, granted) on Wigan market in the late 90s for peanuts when I was at sixth form and thinking it might be cool to pick up a SNES and some games, but then like a massive idiot just emulating everything instead. It haunts me to this day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, ulala said:

 

How about if they were 17% slower?

 

i love pal games, but the difference in speed for unoptimised games is massive.

I agree. I get nostalgia, I really do but but I don't buy VHS movies over their blu-ray equivalents because 'that's what I grew up with' and that's where my childhood memories of those films were. I want to play the game as the original developers intended, not a shitty, often poorly inferior version because I didn't know any better as a kid.

 

Admittedly this is geared mainly towards console stuff as opposed to home computers, but in genuinely baffles me that people pay so much money for inferior products, particularly when buying from other parts of the world is easier than ever now. I guess it's fine if you've never seen a version running properly (ignorance is bliss and all that) but it seems a strange thing to do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, strider said:

I guess that's why so many move over to everdrives?

 

And play them at pal 50

 

I loved my old games, still do. but it's very difficult to go back to games like pal sonic 1. At the time I didn't know better, but once you play them as they were designed, you cannot go back.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Camel said:

As @Freeman says though, if you've still got your old PAL games, you've then got the hassle of replacing them all.  Not everyone is collecting retro; some people just haven't got rid of their old games.

 

Yep - this.  

 

My dad taught me to look after my things when I was growing up.  MY SNES carts were kept in a storage box, with the boxes packed away at the top of my wardrobe.  I barely sold any of them - in fact, I only ever sold 1 SNES game prior to the N64 being released, and to this day, still have all of the others.  It was Kirby's Dream Course.  I bought it ex-rental for £4.99 at a video rental store that was closing down.  I bought Williams Arcade Greatest Hits with it too, spending my bus money, so I knew I had to walk home - which google maps tells me is 4.3 miles :)

It was Jan or Feb 1997 as I remember thinking it'd probably be the last SNES game I'd buy (I was wrong - quite a lot wrong!!)

I walked across town on my way home, which passed an indy swap shop.

I saw Bomberman 2 and 3 on the shelf.  I loved the first one, and couldn't afford the 3rd.  I think 2 was a £7.50 swap game.  I took my newly acquired Kirby game over to the desk and the guy told me I could get £5 cash or 7.50 credit for it.  I swapped it for Bomberman 2.

 

From then, I picked stuff up at boot sales and gumtree, and GAME / Electronics Botique preowned sections.

I rarely bought online.  I now have 100+ decent games, and maybe 7 consoles, all PAL.  I've never owned an NTSC SNES / SFC.  If the SNES classic meant I wanted to play more and wanted to buy more, I'd probably look for an SFC (or mod a PAL console, though I guess that won't be as straight forward) and buy an Everdrive (or hope the SNES Classic becomes ROM-able..), but it'd be like starting again.  All my muscle memory is in 50Hz - it's what I knew and loved.

I'm pretty sure that the SNES classic will be the first time I've played anything SNES at 60hz.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got loads of PAL stuff from a combination of:

 

It being micro stuff.  PAL is the way to go for C64 for eg.

Keeping my old games.  Like Freeman, I've got a lot (not all) of my old stuff from when I was young.  I've built up this stuff over decades.

Picking stuff at boot sales, charity shops or whatnot.  

PAL releases actually being fine.  See, DC stuff.  MD stuff that wasn't optimised and will play fine at 60hz on a switched MD etc.

 

Personally, I prefer to play games at their best when it's viable.  So I have an SFC for eg and a switched MD (and switched Nomad) and a modded Saturn and so on.  My SFC has a copy device that acts as a pass-through cart, so I can mostly just stick PAL games in it.  This isn't always ideal as some games then have music at the wrong speed etc.  So I also own a bunch of US and Jp games.  And I can still load up games on a floppy.  One day I'll get a SD2SNES, but I love my archaic copying device (I have one for the MD too).  My PS2 HDD is filled with PAL games that have a 60hz option or NTSC where not (yes I own 99% of those games on disc).  

 

That said, it's just not feasible to replace every game, so occasionally I'll put on a PAL game and put up with it.  Any NES gaming I do is in 50hz.  I might replace my NES one day with a modded FC and Everdrive, but that's a lot of expense and hassle.  I've got tons of PSX games, mostly PAL, some NTSC.  I'd prefer they all ran at 60hz, but I don't play them often enough to start down that route.  Maybe one day.

 

Atari 2600 is a bit of a ballache when it comes to PAL/NTSC.  To go NTSC, I'd probably need a modded NTSC unit as most PAL TVs won't like NTSC/60 RF signals.  You can stick NTSC games in a PAL 2600 but the colours will all be wrong.  The next option is fixed PAL 60 games on a Harmony cartridge, which is what I do where possible.

 

Moral of the story: I have too many games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Been buy a bit of retro stuff recently, mostly Spectrum and Commodore stuff, and it’s really eye opening the inconsistencies on eBay. Something will pop into my head like “I’ll get the Magnificent 7 on the Spectrum” and doing a quick search on eBay would reveal a few BINs for £9.99 plus postage. Sticking a saved search on with email notifications and I got a copy for about £3, including postage. So if you’re not desperate for something, you can usually pick up a bargain - as long as it’s not something stupidly rare you’re trying to get.

 

But I guess it’s a case of supply and demand and I wonder if we are reaching peak price point for 80s retro games. The reason I’m thinking that is I wonder if supply will actually get better in a few years - the reason being is that Inwas speaking to a friend of my wife who said “oh, I had a Spectrum, in fact it’s still in my mums house in Yorkshire”, now I couldn’t convince her to part with it but she considered it as worthless (but couldn’t be bothered bringing it home) and had only kept it because she just hadn’t got rid of it.

 

I wonder how many Spectrums, Commodores and the like are stuck in parents lofts and when the parents finally peg it, those computers will just be sold off because people don’t have the personal space to keep them? Maybe the same will happen to the SNES, Megadrive and Amiga? Maybe not the SNES, because you know... Nintendo.

 

Likewise, when I visit charity shops I’m really amazed at just how much PS3 and 360 games you can pick up for a couple of quid. I’m sure that supply will eventually dry up, but I wonder if they’ll go up in price with the amount of games either being part of an annual series (like the umpteen copies of FIFA you see) or have been remastered on the PS4 and Xbox one. In saying that, I’m really tempted by that copy of “Alan Hansen’s sport challenge” I saw the other day...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.