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Thread: The value of video games as collectibles in a post digital world.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Montreal, QC, Canada

    Default The value of video games as collectibles in a post digital world.

    So, right now things are a bit lean for ol Teknohed.

    Things for me have been going pretty well actually since I moved to Montreal, but for Mrs Teknohed she really hasn't found meaningful employment. Her background is in a field that requires a lot of conversational skills and sadly her french is not good enough to find a job at a Spa or Salon. It is looking like if she can't find anything in the next few months that we will be seriously considering moving back to California.

    In the meantime I am selling off some stuff to make ends meet. One thing up on the selling block is the Wii. Like most of you who have a Wii, Wii U, or 3DS, I have purchased a large amount of retro games for the systems virtual console. I have a lot of those games in their old format, but i always thought the wii's emulation was good enough that it was nice to have everything in a central place that i could play the games. I also liked that i wasn't pirating these games and that hopefully some of these companies were making money of their back catalogs. I hoped that buying last ninja would lead to many other C64 games being released. That didn't really happen, but the games that did come out were all great.

    Here's a list of all the stuff I was including in the auction:

    Wii System
    System Stand
    Power Cable
    Component AV Cable
    Wii Sensor Bar
    five (5) Wii Remote controllers
    four (4) Nun-Chuck Adapters
    two (2) Nintendo Steering Wheel Controllers
    one (1) wii fit board
    two (2) classic controllers

    Disc Based Games:
    (All games complete with disc and case)
    Resident Evil Zero
    Just Dance (New)
    The House of the Dead 2 and 3 Return
    Wario Ware Smooth Moves
    Wii Fit
    Bust a Move Bash!!
    Wii Play
    Mario Kart Wii
    The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess

    Virtual Console Games:
    (installed on system)
    Act Raiser
    Bubble Bobble
    Castlevania II
    Castlevania IV
    Contra III
    Dungeon Explorer
    Golden Axe
    Gunstar Heroes
    Legend of Zelda
    Legend of Zelda a Link to the Past
    Magician Lord
    Miliatry Madness
    Phantasy Star II
    Punch Out
    Secret of Mana
    Shining Force
    Sonic the Hedgehog
    Streets of Rage
    Streets of Rage 2
    Streets of Rage 3
    Super Ghouls and Ghosts
    Super Mario Bros
    Super Mario Bros 2
    Super Mario Bros 3
    Super Mario World
    Super Metroid
    Super Star Wars
    The Last Ninja

    For the physical items I basically looked at the average game prices at auction added it up, subtracted 15% and figured taht was pretty fair. The digital items I went through and basically said, ok, if I paid 5 bucks, let's say it's worth 3. Etc. Seems kind of wierd for a digital game...but I know better than to expect to get back the price i paid retail for an item.

    I listed this for sale on my companies intranet classified section. Wierd i know, but i work at a video game publisher with about 3000 people in six different buildings around the city and have had good luck selling in the past.

    I put it up for 350 bucks.

    The response I got was almost universal derision. Everyone thought i was out of my mind, but I looked back at the list and said, I think that's pretty fair. That's almost 40 games. many of them some of the most classic NES and SNES games you could want, plus a pile of controllers, I mean just like the ultimate wii set up if you ask me.

    But a lot of people seem to think that i shouldn't consider the virtual console games in the price. Which is wierd to me. Like...why not? if i sell the wii i wont be able to play these games any more. so i am basically selling them too. i can understand a digital game not having the same value as a physical game, but i shouldn't just expect to get nothing for them.

    What do you guys think? How will "digital" games impact our collections in the next 20 years?

  2. #2


    It's such a new idea, that something that has no physical presence has a value in real world money and can be bought and sold. I will admit that I will still go well out of my way to buy a game on a disc or cartridge just to have the media, even though I know perfectly well that it's the experience of playing that matters and that having the game permanently stored on the device is more convenient.

    It'll take time for people to get used to it. I'm at the point in which I do value digital distribution tremendously for freeware games and have quite a collection spread across my hard drives. Right now I am going through the releases from Game Jam 2015, after havign spent a few days going through the entire archive at , plus various AGS graphic adventures and every IF competition collection from the start.

    As games I have they're as valuable to me as my discs and cartridges. In some ways more so because there are so many startlingly original and unusual ideas in there that are only possible in a completely non-commercial environment. It's made me become more at ease with abstract property, if you like.

    Nevertheless I still would rather have something in hand, some artwork to look at and anticipate playing, and if I am permitted to dream entirely, I want the return of printed manuals and feelies in the box. Plus, as an aside, I do think that if the game industry were to adopt Infocom-style feelies as standard it could cut down on piracy enormously by providing something that can't be packed into an archive and uploaded to the Internet.

  3. #3
    Vipp Guest


    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Bennett View Post
    It's such a new idea, that something that has no physical presence has a value in real world money and can be bought and sold. It'll take time for people to get used to it.
    I don't think it's a new idea or that people will get used to it, it's something Valve has been pushing on people since around 2003, sales began poorly but they grew exponentially because of how much effort they put into their sales techniques, using solid, scientific based research like human behavioral studies to help fine tune a very effective marketing structure. NOT genuine face to face high street sales, where it's harder to shift a download at a high price, go to your high street game store and see how many Nintendo Zelda download cards priced at £39.99 have sold... they collect dust and so they should! Id that because Zelda is bad?? nope.. it's because High streets don't need to lure you into buying a license for a game that has no inherent value, when you can buy a physical copy, often for the same price as said download, that also retains value when you want to sell it on or leave it for the kids.

    Did you ever wonder how not only people buy games from steam but they buy not 1 or 2 but 100's more than they can play?? well thought out research that hits users where it hurts, psychology, you never saw it coming. The reason i say all of that is because We aren't getting used to the idea of nothing having a value because nothing doesn't have any value other than that which you give to it, your games on steam or your Nintendo or whatever box is in the future that come from a downloadable place will always have no value, come back here in a few years and re read this, it will be true and more relevant than it is today.

    If someone tried to sell me a console and wanted a cash price for the digital media on it i would think they were either assuming i was stupid or had money to burn, Downloads have little/no value, it's means nothing that you can play those games with ease, it means nothing that they are in one place and you don't have to get up to find them, it means nothing to anyone buying your gear even if it means something to you. If i buy your console and 5 out of 10 of those games are relevant to me, i have already lost the ability to sell 50% those other games with the energy you did, because they are meaningless to me, it lost value as soon as i paid for it, but the value was only ever as good as my belief that you were selling something i needed.

    The way around all of this is to have someone else buy your games, i use humble bundle to get games cheaper and at a more reasonable price (or did until they started pushing the more expensive store front than the bundles) to stock my steam library i have over 300 games and i paid full price for a whopping 4 of them...

    So i can be seen as an arrogant pr*ck with a tight wallet and sand in the crack of my ass or for a reasonable person who has been calling out about the danger of investing in digital game library for years... i don't mind which side the reader falls on but i will remain the same.
    If it was downloaded, don't expect to get what you paid for it because it only has as much value as you wanted it to have when you put your hard earned cash down for it. If you try to sell your downloads for a cash price and get offered a LOT less for them OR told you're being silly don't expect time to change that fact.

    **A final thought if that's okay, this forum is a nice place to be and i am arguing FOR gamers not against them, let's open up a sensible debate and if you don't agree with me let's talk this situation to a positive conclusion, i have no problem with Gordon or Tekno and only want whats best for gamers like me and Teckno (see his post above) who work hard and get very little in return when i buy a game all of my mates are playing and find when times are hard they have little or no re-sale value.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Lancashire, UK
    Blog Entries


    I think adding a big value for the virtual games is a mistake.

    The Wii itself is worth nothing these days. I can pick them up for about £25. The peripherals are quite easy to pick up too, but the wheels often came as pack-ins so they're not worth a lot.

    The physical games are worth a bit more than trade in value, and maybe throw £10 on top because of the virtual games and that's it.

    They are only playable for the life of the console and the servers that support account migration because when the console dies and you buy a replacement you won't be able to play those games again.
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  5. #5
    bradofosho Guest


    Virtual console is a great way for many of the younger gamers to experience some of the games of yesteryear, and it was good for a while for some of us more senior gamers to experience many of the classic games we loved when we were younger. But, when it is all said and done, the real value for many gamers young and old is having the cart, disc, and system that we originally played these classic games on. I went crazy with virtual console when I first bought the Wii. I thought it was the greatest thing Nintendo did with the console. I probably had $130 worth of games downloaded. Then 3 years ago my Wii bit the dust, and all of those games were lost. And after a call to Nintendo, I was told that there was no way of recovering the games.

    Its hard to put value on items that only exist in the digital world. Items that require a server to be up should you ever lose them. That with the flick of a switch can no longer be accessed by you or the others that have purchased it. Items that require your Wii to be in working order to continue to work. That will no longer be there if something should happen. So the carts and discs are the items that not only hold value, but will hold that bit of nostalgia that you get popping them into whatever console they appear on.

    On the other hand, now a days its hard to put any value on physical copies of games for the newest generation of consoles. The only company that deliver games that work day one with just the disc is Nintendo. I own a PS4 and I have not purchased a physical game that has not had a day one patch yet. One of those games was Assassins Creed Unity. That game was unplayable months after it was released. So for the new and fancy games appearing on these new game systems that don't bear the Nintendo namesake, if it is cheaper to go digital that is the option I choose. I know that I wont have the disc but if the game isn't playable with just the disc I see no value in having it. But for digital classic titles such as those on virtual console that can be played on classic hardware and that work out of the box, I don't see value in that and think it would be unfair to charge for it.

    That is my thoughts on the matter.
    Last edited by bradofosho; 21-03-15 at 07:43.


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