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How to determine the value of retro video games?

Published by Samuel L. | Saturday, February 04, 2023, 06:00 PM

This is a question that constantly comes up in the discussions of video game sellers or collectors in social network groups. Understanding how to evaluate real and current market values is critical when selling old school games from your childhood or adding a vintage piece to your collection. Here are some important notions to know for any retro game enthusiast!

Few factors to consider when evaluating retro games

Before going to check if you don't have a game that worth its weight in gold, buried for years in your closet, it would be important to know the key factors to consider during your evaluation.

The law of supply and demand in the gaming industry

In economics and business, the concept of supply and demand to determine a market price is not new. This simple concept is perfectly applicable to the field of retro and collectible video games. Whether for games, accessories or consoles, the higher the demand (number of buyers) and/or the lower the supply (number of sellers), the more the market value of an item increases. Of course, the theory on the subject is more complex, but what you have to keep in mind is that the price changes over time according to the number of buyers and sellers in a free and competitive market.

What are the best tools to estimate the value of your video games?

Since I started collecting, most people use to assess the value of their collection of used games and consoles. This tool is very effective for quick evaluation and to give a good idea of the value of your video games from all generations. Their "robot" traces the last successful sales on Ebay and their own "marketplace" to calculate the average price obtained in the latest months.

Unfortunately, we cannot blindly rely on the market values indicated by as their tool has its limits. Indeed, the algorithm of their evaluation tool does not take into account several factors listed above, such as condition, authenticity, locality of sale and others... This problem means that the majority of rare games will be generally priced lower! Why ? Here's a simple example to understand: let's say I'm looking for the value of a game that only had two sales in the last month and one of the two items is not in good condition or even worse, is a reproduction; the algorithm will take the data from the two sales to make an average; obviously, this average will not necessarily reflect the good market value of an authentic game in perfect condition!

In my humble opinion, the one and only way to properly assess the value of a game or console is to do an advanced search on to compare your item with others of similar condition; making sure to check "Sold Items" and "North America" in the options. This way, you can easily average the sales of the last few months for an item in similar condition sold in the same geographic region. Be carefull with the values of shipping costs; they are sometimes nil or exaggerated; you must take this into account and avoid to include these fees (an average of $20 in Canada) when calculating the value of your video games…

What's the point of knowing the value of vintage games?

Whether it's to make some pocket money by selling your childhood treasures or to acquire a new piece for your collection of retro games, you don't want to be fooled like a newbie on the resale value of an item.

Once you know how to estimate the market value of your video games, you can more easily decide on a good price for selling your used items or buying some nice collectibles. Keep in mind all of the factors listed above, since they are likely to strongly influence the market value and will be good bargaining assets. Finally, make adjustments to the values you have in mind depending on your patience in acquiring a game or finding the right buyer.

Remember that if you want to sell, trade or buy used video games, I am always here to help you and offer you a service that meets your expectations!

Last word

The sentimental value of a treasured piece is unfortunately not a factor to be taken into account to determine its value on the market; on the other hand, it's obvious that it comes into account for certain sellers who are emotionally attached to their collection.

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Très bon article! Je n'avais jamais considéré le fait que Price Charting pouvait avoir des marges d'erreurs autant significatives. Bonne continuation :)

FX Roy, 2023-02-05

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