Wednesday, July 16, 2014

World's Largest Video Game Collection, Sold? Does This Affect Us?

7/17/14 Update: Looks like the collection may not have sold after all. The top of his website also states this collection is still for sale. Unfortunately for collectors the damage is done as the publicity of the event cannot be taken back.

World's Largest Video Game Collection, Sold? Does This Affect Us?

I know I am late to comment on this but the supposed "World's Largest Video Game Collection" just sold for over $750,000. This entry isn't to describe minutia or details of the sale, if you want that the links above will give you access to all the particulars of the auction, bidding, contents etc.  I could dedicate a whole post to the contents of this auction and how misleading it is. Hell, I'd like to go on record and refute half the sets he calls complete, because clearly they aren't. I could do a follow up post to the one above about the nature of online auctions and how to even a barely trained eye this one looks like a sad grab at attention that preys on our hobby and is most probably fake. I am going to attempt to avoid the pitfalls of such discussions. To indulge in rants like those listed previously looks a lot like petty Internet jealousy, and even though I could tell you it isn't, that is exactly what it would look like. What I want to discuss is what this sale means for collectors, and I do think it affect us.

It's not often but every once in awhile the sale or a particular game, or this case games, grabs media attention outside of our little niche. You might remember the Gold Nintendo World Championship Cart that sold for 100k back in February, or the Stadium Events found at a Good Will that was immediately valued at 15k and least we forget the French collector that nabbed 1.2 Million for his games. These are transcendent events that seep into the general populous and alerts them, that HEY! video games are valuable. The trickle down of these events can be as innocuous as the random comments from your non-collector friends. It can also be seen in the positive upswing of new collectors on forums you visit. It may even lead to some less awkward family interaction, because they are going to call or email now that they feel they finally have something to talk to you about.

Those are some of the nice things that will happen, however, it will also lead to some not so nice things.  One thing that is sure to happen is an influx of resellers (annoying but not always bad). The problem with many new resellers is that they may not be collectors, which means you have to wade through their ignorance, explain what rare actually means and that no SMB/Duck Hunt is not in fact very valuable.Who can forget the 13k Nintendo from Storage Wars? YUUUUP it's NES-001, just like most of them. Another downside is that it more resellers and collectors means less product, less product means higher prices. Your local game store or favorite website might just not have the deals they use to, or less of them anyway. People on eBay will automatically list their games for more, people start over valuing their trades, and the incremental price hikes continue. 

We mustn't forget the scammers. As more money gets dumped into the hobby, so do more scammers. These people come in a few flavors but the worst of them are the ones who will join a community and just wait.They will hang out get to know the scene and after they build a little trust they take advantage of as many people as they can in one fell swoop. On eBay  and on the forums you get more people trying to pass off fakes as the real deal and then you also get more grey items like repros, custom boxes, and magnets. Grey items aren't all bad, and these people aren't always scammers but they are people who want to make money off of the hobby without selling the genuine article.

The whole buying experience of retro games changes when a transcendent event occurs. Do you troll Craigslist, your local paper, or Kijiji? Get ready for a bunch more ads stating " I buy Games for all systems, umm for my kids, so they ugh can, ummm, play the games that I grew up with?". For your kids, right, totally believe you. As if those posts weren't insulting enough you then have all the people who suddenly believe they are sitting on a pot of gold. These people putting up ads with a busted NES, 2 controller, and 3 games for $200. Oh shit, what a deal! Thank you for listing that.

I know I sound  all doom and gloom, but the reality is that video game collecting is a growing. With growth we have to be prepared for some things to get worse and take count measures to make it better. When big events like this happen people take notice and that notice comes with a cost.

Thank you for reading,

Stay Safe, Play Safe

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