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Game Hunter’s Journal: Pricing

08 Apr

Wario MoneyEvery video game collector has their own reasons for collecting games. For me personally it’s the thrill of owning a great title, preserving video games as an art form, and a more personal goal of simply owning every game released on the Sega Dreamcast. No matter what your reason or reasons may be for getting into game collecting, at some point you’re going to deal with money. Dollars and cents in the game collecting hobby mean more than just how much you spent on a game: it’s also the overall value, personal value, and current selling price. Here are some tips for pricing your collection and determining the best time to buy a game.


Being thrifty and saving money whenever possible is always a good goal. It has obvious benefits and can make you feel a bit more justified in your purchase knowing you go ta good deal on a game. As a collector, the biggest ally you have in dealing with money and prices with video games in eBay.

eBay LogoThe online auction site has been an invaluable tool assisting me in accurately pricing games over the past few years. By using the site’s filters, you can quickly see how much a game is selling for online. I’ll show you how:

Head over to eBay and search for anything you want. Here, I've searched for our good friend Final Fantasy VII on PS1.

Head over to eBay and search for anything you want. Here, I’ve searched for our good friend Final Fantasy VII on PS1.

Click on the "Sold Listings" filter highlighted here.

Click on the “Sold Listings” filter highlighted here.

The listings now are all for items that have sold. eBay automatically changes the results to list the most recently sold items first.

The listings now are all for items that have sold. eBay automatically changes the results to list the most recently sold items first.

You might already see why this is incredibly useful. Using this method, you can easily get an accurate, up to the minute result on how much people are actually buying the game for. Hundreds of times I have used eBay in this exact method to see whether or not a game is competitively priced.

As an example, let’s say you find a copy of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy complete in box sitting on a shelf for $10. A quick look using this method on eBay…

Note some of these prices don't include shipping. You can check the listing for shipping prices as well.

Note some of these prices don’t include shipping. You can check the listing for shipping prices as well.

… and we can see that $10 is a pretty average price (don’t forget to include shipping in those auction prices!). This is an effective method because it quickly shows you the most recent selling prices for games, and it also shows you what the game actually sold for. Have you ever watched “Pawn Stars” or an equivalent show where people bring in stuff to auction off and they say something like, “Well, I saw this for $3,000 online.”? They’re likely not looking at what it’s actually selling for when they get that price. Using the method I’ve described above, you can get a true number in terms of price!

So, you can use eBay to check if a price is good, but what about those games sitting in your game room that you’ve had for years, perhaps before eBay was even a reality (AKA the Dark Ages)? Using a similar scheme you can accurately price your collection. Just search for a game in your collection, find the sold listings, get the average selling price, and boom. You’ve got your very own Beckett of video game prices.

This meme seems appropriate for the content.

This meme seems appropriate for the content.

eBay is great for older games, but newer generation games are a bit trickier because they’re still carried by big name retailers and can sometimes go on sale. While you can still use eBay to get prices on Xbox 360 games, for example, keep in mind that sites like Amazon and even Wal-Mart will sell video games super cheap at times. This can make accurately pricing new titles, like say XCOM: Enemy Unknown, rather difficult. My suggestion for newer games is to use your best judgment. You can almost always assume new games are $60 or less depending on the title, and eventually there will be a sale on the game at GameStop or Amazon, or any retailer for that matter. So, keep that in mind.

Getting back to eBay, there’s another cool feature you can use to hunt down your games. If you are an eBay member, you can sign in and create saved searches for the titles you’re most after. It’s best to use an example here, too:

Perform a regular search for whatever it is you're looking for. Then, click on the "Advanced" button next to "Search"

Perform a regular search for whatever it is you’re looking for. Then, click on the “Advanced” button next to “Search”

This will take you to a more in-depth search filter. Add in all the option you want, such as a price range, quality of item, and shipping cost. Then, be sure to check the highlighted box to save it to your searches (You have to be logged in to save searches, so create an account if you don't already have one).

This will take you to a more in-depth search filter. Add in all the option you want, such as a price range, quality of item, and shipping cost. Then, be sure to check the highlighted box to save it to your searches.

After saving your search, you can go back into the My eBay tab and view your saved searches at any time.

After saving your search, you can go back into the My eBay tab and view your saved searches at any time.

The best part of saving searches on eBay is that you have an option to email you whenever a listing appears meeting your criteria! This is a great way to stay on top of whatever it is you’re looking for, and an easy option for thrifty gamers to score excellent deals.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is all old news to you seasoned collectors, right? Well, you might be saying, “Well, duh,” to yourself about these tips, but this is seriously a great way to to price your collection, find out about good deals, and, if you’re wanting to, sell your games online!

Lastly, I want to bring up eBay Mobile. If you have a smartphone you can download the eBay app or at least use Wi-Fi and/or 3G/4G data to bring up the mobile version in a web browser. Using eBay while out and about searching for games is the prefect way to check prices on the go. Use the same filters mentioned above see if that copy of Mega Man 64 for $25 complete is actually a good deal (Hint: IT IS!).

I’m sure there are other options out there for pricing your games, but seeing as there isn’t a unified pricing guide (the closest thing I can recommend would be Digital Press, which is getting old), eBay is certainly a justifiable option for the savvy collector looking for the best deals. I encourage you all to be knowledgeable about the prices of the games you own, the ones you’re looking for, and the ones you have no idea existed until you found it in a store. Hopefully these tips have helped you out in the past, and I’m sure they’ll aid you in the future!

Happy Hunting,
Jsick

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4 Comments

Posted by on 04/08/2013 in Collecting

 

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4 responses to “Game Hunter’s Journal: Pricing

  1. JJ M. (@jjmahoney3)

    04/09/2013 at 12:05 pm

    Another great post! Man, I forgot all about this part of Ebay! I often check eStarland when I’m out at thrift stores to see if it’s a good deal, but the Ebay app would be much easier to search for games and the average prices. I need to do that to price my collection too, like I used to do for my old comic collection (which has dwindled over the years to fund other hobbies).

     
    • jsicktheslick

      04/09/2013 at 4:31 pm

      I’ve thought about pricing out my collection, but I don’t see the benefit in doing it, at least for me. I’m not really in to selling any of my games. I can definitely see the benefits though of someone who is looking to sell, and I can see using eBay or something similar to sell you games at the most opportune time.

       
      • JJ M. (@jjmahoney3)

        04/10/2013 at 1:23 pm

        I’m not looking to sell (obviously!), but I want to do it so I have some record of it for either insurance purposes or if I died and my family needed to sell it for any reason. 🙂

         
      • jsicktheslick

        04/10/2013 at 7:16 pm

        Understandable. But I don’t want to see you have to write anything down for when you die :p

         

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