Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

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scotland
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Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby scotland » July 9th, 2017, 5:36 pm

As we talk about 'most valuable games' I was also watching some back and forth videos on the assertion that retrogaming youtubers damage the hobby because of the impact that have on the prices and availability of retro video games themselves. The idea is that buying video games are artificially expensive in part because some youtuber has made a video prompting interest, inspiring resellers to buy up the supply, prompting sellers to up their prices, or others just to hoard the game as a treasure, further decreasing supply.

The counter is that where would retrogaming be without youtubers? They help younger gamers see and appreciate older games, where otherwise retrogaming would be as popular among younger gamers as model trains and watching 80s television shows.

To some extent, anything that popularizes something changes it. Jaws prompted people to hunt sharks, and Raiders of the Lost Ark to make people archeologists, etc. But where does it become a negative thing?

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Retro STrife
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby Retro STrife » July 9th, 2017, 10:07 pm

I think it's stretching reality a lot if people believe that resellers snatch up all the copies of a game based on a Youtuber saying it's a good game, hence dimishing supply and increasing prices. I do believe, however, that Youtubers, game critics, etc. can generate interest in a game that was previously underappreciated, thereby increasing demand and prices along with it. Maybe the resellers come after, but the demand always comes first (resellers are rarely smart enough to be that proactive).

More to the question... overall I think it's a positive thing when people on the internet spread the word about good games. Hell, where would my collection be without the VGC playing through the gems and the trash, and telling us what's worth buying? I need these people to tell me what to do, rather than waste money on trial and error. An increase in prices is just the unfortunate trade-off that comes along with gamers spreading the word about a game worth playing.

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Rookie1
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby Rookie1 » July 10th, 2017, 6:27 am

The joke in most of the gaming community is that you have to pay the youtube tax, most commonly based on anyone in the Cinnemasacre family.

Sadly, I feel the re-sellers ruin it more than anything. Some jack up their prices as soon as they see these videos. Hell, look up Jekyll and Hyde for nintendo, and most ebay auctions mention AVGN right in the description.

CharlieR
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby CharlieR » July 10th, 2017, 9:14 am

I just watched a recent video from a youtuber on this very topic.

He basically said that the people who make these videos aren't really responsible for the price going up. They just popularize it, which could make the price go up, only because of people who decide to pay for it.

I think you got it right saying re-sellers are to blame. The only reason people pay that much is because re-sellers price them so high.

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scotland
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby scotland » July 10th, 2017, 9:44 am

To be fair though, is there anything wrong with people who decide to sell their copy of a game when interest is highest?

For instance, let's say AVGN does a Sega 32x special (maybe he has, I don't know). Interest peaks, and prices go up. Many of us have a 32x system and some games we acquired over the years to play ourselves - but now we jump on the wave and sell high knowing we can buy it again next year for far far less. If my copy of Shadow Squadron is getting a $100, I'm selling for $100 even if I bought it for a song in the late 90s. This at least keeps games in circulation when demand is high, even if the price is higher due to higher demand.

bluenote
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby bluenote » July 10th, 2017, 12:29 pm

CharlieR wrote:I just watched a recent video from a youtuber on this very topic.

He basically said that the people who make these videos aren't really responsible for the price going up. They just popularize it, which could make the price go up, only because of people who decide to pay for it.

I think you got it right saying re-sellers are to blame. The only reason people pay that much is because re-sellers price them so high.


The only reason people pay that much is because they are willing to pay that much. Not the fault of the reseller. If they were pricing it too high, no one would buy it and they will start to sell at a lower price. If they are getting what they are trying to sell it for, then why wouldn't they do this?

Resellers are selling Little Samson for what, $1200 for a loose cartridge? And guess what? People are paying this. So, is it the fault of the reseller for pricing it at market value, or the collectors who keep paying these prices?

goldenband
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby goldenband » July 10th, 2017, 3:01 pm

Honestly, I put a lot of the blame for the video game pricing bubble on Ebay. It used to be that when you listed an item, it cost you a little bit of money, and the final price reflected people's bids. Then they added Buy It Now, but at least if someone listed a BIN for an exorbitant price, the seller was paying (IIRC) a listing fee that reflected that steep price: it cost them more, in other words, to overprice things.

But now that sellers have so many ways to list BINs for essentially free, they can slap on any ridiculous price they want, in hopes that some chump will pay it. Brick-and-mortar stores have to pay rent, but Ebay stores, not so much. Since most people don't understand that the only real barometer of an item's price is sold listings -- not completed, and certainly not active BINs -- they see these absurd prices, assume that's what the item is "going for", and price accordingly, either as buyers or sellers.

Of course, selling over the Internet is always going to inflate prices anyway, because no one can afford to sell an item for what they paid for it: they always have to make back their shipping costs and PayPal/Ebay fees. At a yard sale or flea market, a seller can think to themselves "Well, I paid $5 for that and it hasn't sold yet, so if I get $5 for it at least I won't be losing any money per se". Not online, though -- you always have to charge at least $2-3 more than the price you originally paid.

And since prices always seem to be going up, many people are treating their game collections as an investment. Our sense of pricing is founded largely in social dynamics, not empirical reality: someone says game X is rare or a hidden gem, so each member of the group believes it's worth more because they're taking their cues from other members. That's fine, until the market collapses...which is also fine, it happened to comic books 25+ years ago...

...but if we think that'll mean another flood of cheap games like we saw 15-20 years ago, we might want to think again: I've seen more than one reseller say if that happens, they'd rather throw their inventory in the trash than see someone get a deal at their expense. And most of them will, in any event, hang on to their goods in perpetuity rather than take a loss.

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MoarRipter
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby MoarRipter » July 10th, 2017, 3:29 pm

I don't mind paying elevated prices for a game that has been out of print for a long time and is legitimately rare, although personally I'd never pay some of the prices these games go for. $1200 is ridiculous, if I had that game I'd sell it to the first sucker willing to part with that much cash.

The part that really chaps my hide is when consumers have to pay elevated prices for a brand new product that they should be able to walk in and buy for MSRP but they can't because the manufacturer is artificially limiting inventory to keep their name in the news and to build hype that doesn't need to be built in the first place. In other words - Nintendo's anti-consumer business practices.

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scotland
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby scotland » July 10th, 2017, 4:23 pm

goldenband wrote: And since prices always seem to be going up, many people are treating their game collections as an investment. Our sense of pricing is founded largely in social dynamics, not empirical reality: someone says game X is rare or a hidden gem, so each member of the group believes it's worth more because they're taking their cues from other members. That's fine, until the market collapses...which is also fine, it happened to comic books 25+ years ago...


MoarRipter wrote: The part that really chaps my hide is when consumers have to pay elevated prices for a brand new product that they should be able to walk in and buy for MSRP but they can't because the manufacturer is artificially limiting inventory to keep their name in the news and to build hype that doesn't need to be built in the first place. In other words - Nintendo's anti-consumer business practices.


and here we get the two extremes. The comic book problem in the 1990s was a glut of product by publishers and retailers eager to swap product for money until the lack of quality was so apparent everything blew up, while the Nintendo problem is lack of sufficient product (where making more would not impact quality at all) where fans with open wallets can't buy it from a reputable retailer and have to go to day trader resellers for it. I would think Nintendo's policies would drive people into wholesale emulation.

eneuman96
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Re: Youtubers and The Price of Video Games

Postby eneuman96 » July 10th, 2017, 4:36 pm

scotland wrote:For instance, let's say AVGN does a Sega 32x special (maybe he has, I don't know). Interest peaks, and prices go up. Many of us have a 32x system and some games we acquired over the years to play ourselves - but now we jump on the wave and sell high knowing we can buy it again next year for far far less. If my copy of Shadow Squadron is getting a $100, I'm selling for $100 even if I bought it for a song in the late 90s. This at least keeps games in circulation when demand is high, even if the price is higher due to higher demand.


He did many years ago. I don't know if he had any effect on it, but currently a complete 32X (with all the cables included) goes for at least 60 Washingtons on Amazon. Hilariously (well, hilariously if you're not a collector), he himself claimed that he picked his particular 32X up at a yard sale for $2.50.

I guess the moral of the story is to check out every yard sale you come across.


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