Game Hunter’s Journal: Buying Game Lots

20 Feb

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We’ve all been there: perusing the goods on sites like eBay or maybe even Craigslist and coming across someone selling a collection of games for a decent price. Sure, you probably don’t want all of the games there, but some of them are just too good to pass up! So what should you do? As a collector, video game lots can be a huge win or a very risky and sometimes poor jump to take. Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking of purchasing video game lots.

What are “Lots”?

Let’s get some vocabulary out there. The term “Lot” refers to a few different things. When dealing with online auction sites or places where you can buy items however, a lot is used to refer to a collection or group of items being sold. Think of an actual auction: when something is up for sale, it is usually referred to as “Lot something-or-other.” So remember that: A “Lot” doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot of stuff, but rather a collection of stuff in one bundled price.

Since eBay is the most common place to purchased lots (unless there is something better I’m not aware of) I’ll be talking primarily with eBay in mind when discussing items further.

The World of Warcraft Auction House. It's kind of pricey...

The World of Warcraft Auction House. It’s kind of pricey…

The Basics of Lots on eBay

So you’re on eBay, you’ve typed in “Xbox 360 Lot” and hit search. Now what?

– Refine your search to something specific, if anything, you may be looking for. Say you really want Dragon Age in the lot. Go ahead and search for “Xbox 360 Lot Dragon Age” and you’ll find the lots with that game in them.

– eBay is an auction site, so the auctions will end. You can sort your results to those ending soonest/latest or highest/lowest priced, so pick what you’re looking for and go.

– Shipping! This can really kill a great deal. Be sure to check the shipping price (or if they even ship to where you live) before hitting buy.

– As with most online sites, you should try to stick with “trusted” sellers. Check their eBay rating. If they have  a low rating or people are saying bad things about their service, you should think twice before buying from them.

Purchasing Lots: The Advanced Rules

The above tips are for general use with, well, really anything on eBay. The following tips involve more investigation, comparing, and patience on your part. You can do this!!

– If it looks too good to be true it probably is. The age old adage comes in handy when shopping for video games too. Oftentimes you’ll see a lot of buzzwords in the headline for the auction, like “Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, Tactics – FREE SHIPPING!!!!” and you might think that it’s a great deal. Here’s the kicker: You have to read the description extremely carefully before buying. While the lot may very well include these games, they may be loose versions only, or can be missing discs, or something even worse. Better to be safe than sorry.

This copy of FF7 is complete with all three discs, the manual, and case.

This copy of FF7 is complete with all three discs, the manual, and case.

– Take into consideration everything that is in the lot. While there are games you definitely want, perhaps there are some you don’t, or even some you already have. This is where you need to do some number crunching and decision making. Is the lot worth it if all you want from it are 2 games and the other 8 are junk? Do some research and see what the games you actually want in the lot are selling for by themselves, and factor that into the total price of the lot. Perhaps it’s not even that good a deal after all is said and done!

– Ask questions! Every good eBay seller will answer your questions (hopefully in a timely manner) and this can make or break your interest in the deal. Sometimes sellers will just throw some pictures up on what they are selling and not list in the description what is all included. Ask them! Ask what game that is in the top right of the picture that is cut off. Find out if the games are complete, or even working. By inquiring about the goods you have a much better chance of finding the lot that is right for you.

People take their Star Ratings very seriously. And you should too!

People take their Star Ratings very seriously. And you should too!

The Power-User’s Guide to Lots

There are a few other interesting notes to recall when buying lots, but these only apply to the hardcore of video game collectors. Or at least the one’s willing to go the extra step to get the best deal.

– Evaluate the price of every game in the lot, taking into consideration the condition and scarcity/popularity of each game. To do so, look up other auctions of games that have sold and are in the same condition as the one present in the lot. Once you have the grand total for each game in the lot, determine if it’s actually a good deal. Sometimes you’ll end up paying just the same price as you would buying these games separately. Other times though you might actually run into a really good deal that you can’t pass up!

– Stake out multiple lots of similar content at once. Instead of just watching one lot of Sega Saturn games, check in on a dozen or so at once. Watch the trending price increases of each, and keep your eyes on the ones that aren’t going up as high. Perhaps the bidders are only looking at a few of the ones you are and you can sweep in and grab the others unobserved!

– Buying lots can lead to you owning multiple copies of the same game. There are two things I’d do here: update your collection to include the copy of the game that is in the best condition, or sell/trade the other copies for more games. Whether on eBay, to a friend, or some other means, selling your extra copies can give you extra cash. I’ve even taken into account how much I could sell the extra games for in a lot that I already had and bought the lot that way!

– If you have the skills, there are tons of lots that are full of broken or partially complete stuff. You’ll run into a lot of system lots that aren’t working, which you can use for parts if you’re skilled and maybe even turn a profit. A bit harder to come across are lots that only include game manuals, empty cases, and the like. These can be a handy buy if you need more authentic cases, are looking for that one missing manual (good luck actually find it, by the way), or just want to act like you have the games but only have the cases. Regardless, it’s a way to round out an incomplete collection.

Maybe you'll find a lot with one of these included.

Maybe you’ll find a lot with one of these included.

I don’t purchase lots from eBay all that much, but I have used it to my advantage a few times. A little while back I got a wonderful deal on my Sega Saturn console by picking it up in a lot on eBay for just over $100. I also got a boatload of Dreamcast games years back for under $80, which was a complete steal. Nowadays I usually peruse what is available but don’t buy because I’m not really going to fork over cash for games I already have. It’s not really my thing but for some of you it might be something worth taking advantage of.

With these tips I’m sure you’ll become an eBay shark and be rolling in the games and saving money in no time at all!

Happy Hunting,

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Posted by on 02/20/2014 in Collecting


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