PriceCharting.com

Friday, March 28, 2008

Goodbye Outliers

After fruitful discussions with a consulting economist, we've made a minor adjustment to the way we calculate prices. The goal was to reduce the influence that outlying price points could have on our determination of market prices. For instance, let's say that someone lists a copy of
Playboy: The Mansion for $1,223.73 or Battletanx Global Assault for $999.99 (which has since been removed). Both of those prices are far above the market price for those games. In certain circumstances, under our old algorithm, those outliers could have caused us to list the Current Price as higher than it should have been. With the new algorithm, such outliers no longer cause a problem.

This seems like a good time to mention a couple caveats about market pricing in the video game industry. Because of low sales volumes for many used games, the market is much less efficient than a typical commodities market. That means that the charts and prices can be highly volatile. For popular games, this isn't much of a problem. Rare games, however, are particularly vulnerable.

Video Game Pricing Hack with Firefox

The "Price My Game" search feature on VideoGamePriceCharts.com is a great way to find the price for any video game I want. But It's kind of a pain going to the home page, then clicking the search box, and finally entering the game I want to look up (I know its not that many steps but when you do 8-9 searches per day, it gets to be annoying). I have a little hack for all our Firefox users to do these searches in one step (directions for doing the same thing in Opera and in Internet Explorer).

You will be creating your own custom search using Firefox. Here are the steps to follow:


1. Right Click on the "Price My Game" search box. It's in the upper left corner of every page and looks like this.



2. A prompt will come up. Choose the "Add a keyword for this Search" option.



3. Name the bookmark and keyword. I used Name = "VideoGamePriceCharts.com Search" and Keyword = "vgpc". Do whatever will help you remember this, but keep the keyword short. You will be typing that a lot.



4. You have officially created your own custom search. Congratulations! To use it, hit "Ctrl-L" or just click on the address bar at the top of Firefox. Now type "vgpc" followed by a space and what you want to search for. I did "vgpc final fantasy" which brings up every final fantasy game in our pricing database.


Now you can search for any video game prices you want with one simple step. Thanks to our great programming/technical staff for the heads up on this ability in FireFox.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Chrono Trigger; A Better Investment Than Apple

August 23, 1995, the day after Chrono Trigger on Super Nintendo is released you walk into a store and buy it for $69.99. When you get home a new X-Files begins and you put the RPG to the side, forgotten. That same day your dad buys one share of Apple stock for a split-adjusted $11.38, and one share of Microsoft for $6.12.

Fast forward to February 3, 2008. Your old man's share in Apple is worth $133.75 and Microsoft, $30.45. That same day you find your sealed copy of Chrono Trigger in an old storage box and decide to look online to see how much its worth. Turns out your copy of Chrono Trigger sells for $1,217. The game gave you a 25.7% annual rate of return, much better than your dad's 22.0% return with Apple and 13.6% return with Microsoft!

Chart of Annual Rate of Return for Chrono Trigger and Other Investments
Annualized Rate of Return for Chrono Trigger

Considerations when buying video games as an investment:

  • The game has to stay sealed for it to keep its value. The Chrono Trigger cartridge only sells for $50-60 by itself.
  • If you keep the game sealed you can't play it. Stock certificates aren't much fun to play with though so the alternative isn't much better.
  • Video game prices are very wide ranging, not all of them are Chrono Trigger's. Many sell for only a few bucks. A sealed Metal Gear for NES recently sold for $86. A 2.8% annual return, which is barely more than inflation.
  • You have to store the games in a safe place so you still have them after 12 years. You don't want your game collection to share the fate of so many baseball card collections - thrown out by mom when you go to college (why mom? why?)


UPDATE
There seems to be some confusion about the prices and adjusting them for stock splits. The prices used in the analysis do take into account stock splits for Apple and Microsoft. Apple was trading at $45.50 on 8/23/95, but they had 2 stock splits between then and now so the price used in the analysis is $11.38 ($45.50 divided by 4).

Microsoft is the same. It was trading at $97.88 on 8/23/95 but the stock split 4 times. So the price used in the analysis is $6.12 ($97.88 divided by 16).

I hope this clears up any confusion. Sorry I didn't make this clearer in the initial write-up.

Historic stock prices from Marketwatch.com. Inflation numbers provided by InflationData.com. Rates of return calculated using this annual rate of return calculator.

See Complete NES Price List
See Complete Super NES Price List

Friday, March 21, 2008

It Sorts, It Filters, It Dices

We've updated the console pages on Video Game Price Charts to show the most recent prices right in the table. For instance, to easily answer the question, "What is the most expensive Saturn game" visit the Sega Saturn console page and after the game list loads, click the "Price" column header a couple times.

We've added the same sorting and filtering ability to the search results page. What's the cheapest dance game for PS2 (yeah, you guessed it): search for "dance" games, select "Playstation 2" from the filter box below the "Console" column header and then click the "Price" column header to sort by price. It's that easy (the searching I mean, not the resulting celebrity).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How To Make Money Collecting PS2 Games

The Playstation 2 will have been on the market for 8 years this October. Two of those years the PS2 has shared the market with the Playstation 3 and though the Playstation 2 is selling fairly well now, it is approaching its final years. Developer support is already drying up. In 2007, 153 games were released and so far about 90 games are announced or rumored to be released in 2008. So now is the time to buy Playstation 2 games and potentially make some money.

Let me explain what I mean. The later in a console's life cycle a game is released, the more likely it is to become rare and very expensive. Of the 60 most expensive NES, SNES, and N64 games, 32 of them were released in the last two years of the console, 53%. This is even more amazing when you consider there are not many games published in the last two years of a console. The NES, SNES, and N64 had a total of 1,947 games. 20% of them, 388 games, came out in the last two years. So the last two years of a console represent 20% of the total games, but 53% of the most expensive games.

Games Released in Last Two Years: Expensive Games vs All Games

SystemTotal GamesLast 2 Years% of Games
NES81013917.2%
SNES75017323.1%
N643877619.6%


You see the trend and now you want to know how much some of those expensive games are actually worth. Many of them sell for about $30-40 used which is less than the original price. But when kept sealed some of the games are worth a ton. Chrono Trigger recently sold for $1,217, Zelda II for NES (not a rare game) sold for $799, and Super Mario RPG sold for $315. Even easy to find NES games are expensive if they are sealed. This ad shows a company is willing to pay $250 for Zelda and $200 for Excitebike.

So which Playstation 2 Games should you buy if you want to increase the chance they will be collector's items? RPG and Fighting games keep their value longer than other genres' so buying RPG and Fighting games gives you the best odds of buying the next Chrono Trigger. Here are my recommendations for some games that I think might be good choices:

Mana Khemia Alchemists of Al-Revis Cover ArtMana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis

This is a niche RPG published by NIS America. They are also the developers of Disgaea Hour of Darkness, one of the more expensive PS2 games already released.

Arcana Heart Cover ArtArcana Heart

A 2D Fighter developed by Atlus. 2D Fighting games are not as popular as they used to be back in the Street Fighter heyday so don't look for this one to sell many copies. Plus, Atlus is notorious for small printings of their games.

Baroque Cover ArtBaroque

Baroque is another Atlus game, this time an RPG though. As a publisher, Atlus games keep their value better than any other publisher. Buying their games is just another way of increasing the odds a game becomes valuable.

Persona 3 FES Cover ArtShin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

The last Atlus game on the list. I hope I'm not putting too many of my eggs in one basket but Atlus is the publisher of the Ogre Battle series which places a game in the most expensive list for N64, SNES, and PS1. And the other games in the Persona series are expensive too.

Chaos Wars Cover ArtChaos Wars

Chaos Wars is a fantasy, turn based strategy game. That is about as niche as you can get. The game is developed by Idea Factory who has released games only in Japan up to this point. They are virtually an unknown in the US.

King of Fighters Collection Cover ArtKing of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga

A collection of the SNK King of Fighters games. It is a 2D fighting series with a decent following, but will probably not sell that well. Compilation games can be worth quite a bit too. The Spyro and GTA Trilogy collections prove this.

Samurai Shodown Anthology ScreenshotSamurai Shodown Anthology

Another collection of 2D fighting games, this time from the Samurai Shodown series. Not as popular as the King of Fighters series, but some of the games so far have kept their value well.


Keep in mind many of the PS2 games coming out in the next two years have not even been announced so this list is in no way conclusive. And I could be completely wrong about them too. The above games might be worthless in a couple of years but based upon this information; I'm going to pre-order a few of these, set them aside, and wait.



Below is the table of the most expensive games on each console and the year they were released. The bolded titles are the ones released in the last two years.

Expensive Nintendo NES GamesRelease Year
Bubble Bobble Part 21993
Little Samson1992
Dragon Warrior IV1992
Snow Brothers1991
Fire 'N Ice1993
Dusty Diamond All-Star Softball1990
California Raisins1991
Bandit Kings of Ancient China1989
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters1993
Duck Tales 21993
Bonk's Adventure1993
Contra Force1992
RC Pro-AM II1992
Mario Time Machine1993
L'Empereur1991
Ultima Warriors of Destiny1993
Bomberman II1991
Faria1989
Dragon Warrior III1988
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom1988

Expensive Super Nintendo GamesRelease Year
Earthbound1994
Ogre Battle The March of the Black Queen1994
Ninja Gaiden Trilogy1995
Castlevania Dracula X1995
Harvest Moon1996
EVO the Search for Eden1993
Chrono Trigger1995
Mega Man X1993
Aero Fighters1993
Super Mario RPG1996
Lufia and the Fortress of Doom1993
Lufia and The Rise of Sinistrals1996
Secret of Mana1993
Metal Marines1993
Final Fantasy III1994
Final Fight 31995
Metal Warriors1995
Mega Man 71995
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons1994
Boogerman A Pick and Flick Adventure1995

Expensive Nintendo 64 GamesRelease Year
Worms Armageddon2000
Clay Fighter 63 1/3 Sculptor's Cut1998
Ogre Battle1999
Harvest Moon1999
Mario Party 32000
Bomberman 64 The Second Attack2000
Conker's Bad Fur Day2001
Super Smash Bros.1999
Starcraft2000
Super Bowling2000
Castlevania Legacy of Darkness1999
Mario Kart 641996
Mario Party 21999
Mario Party1998
Space Station Silicon Valley1998
Ms. PacMan Maze Madness2000
Dr. Mario2001
Paper Mario2000
Tom and Jerry2000
Beast Wars2000


All release dates information provided by digitpress and mobygames

Nintendo 64 Prices | Xbox 360 Game Prices | PS3 Game Prices

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Lower Prices for Video Game Price List

We have added more price points for our downloadable video game price guide service so it is cheaper for retailers and collectors to access all our pricing data. We now offer a 1 month subscription for $55 and 3 months for $150. We still offer the 6 month and 12 month plans too. See our price chart to compare the prices and choose the best plan for you.

These shorter subscription periods allow you to try the service with less risk, if you don't like it after a month you don't have to continue. But we're confident you will save time and make more money using the file.

We are also offering free consultations on the best ways your organization can use the pricing file. We can offer customized advice and get you ready to start using the file on day one.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Prices from All eBay Auctions

Our daily price updates now reflect the price of every successful eBay video game auction (for auctions that included a UPC). That's around 10,000 sales per day for more than 6,400 games. This new price source means more accurate prices and lower volatility. So go ahead and visit the page for your favorite game and see how the market is treating it.

Most Expensive Final Fantasy Games

The Final Fantasy series is one of the longest running video game series of all time. The first game was released on the NES in 1990 and Final Fantasy XIII is announced for Playstation 3. Between these two titles there have been 42 games released as part of the franchise. Many of the games have been released on consoles, some on portables, and even a few branch off traditional games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. All of the Final Fantasy games are loved by gamers and video game collector's but some are much more expensive and much harder to find than others.

Below is a list of the most expensive console Final Fantasy games of all time. The price used for our ranking is the average price from eBay, Amazon, and Half.com on February 29th, 2008 according to VideoGamePriceCharts.com. The charts next to the games show the pricing history for each game over the past year. You can click the game title itself or the chart to see today's price.

Most Expensive Final Fantasy Console Games


Final Fantasy VII Price1. Final Fantasy VII
Playstation 1 - $59.92

Final Fantasy III Price2. Final Fantasy III
SNES - $32.33

Final Fantasy Tactics Price3. Final Fantasy Tactics
Playstation 1 - $26.91

Final Fantasy II Price4. Final Fantasy II
SNES - $21.03

Final Fantasy 12 Collector's Edition Price5. Final Fantasy XII Collector's Edition
Playstation 2 - $15.13

Final Fantasy 7 Dirge Cerberus Price6. Final Fantasy VII Dirge of Cerberus
Playstation 2 - $13.36

Final Fantasy 8 Price7. Final Fantasy VIII
Playstation 1 - $12.99

Final Fantasy Anthology Price8. Final Fantasy Anthology
Playstation 1 - $11.84

Final Fantasy 12 Price9. Final Fantasy XII
Playstation 2 - $11.34

Final Fantasy Chronicles Price10. Final Fantasy Chronicles
Playstation 1 - $11.30

Final Fantasy 9 Price11. Final Fantasy IX
Playstation 1 - $11.20

Final Fantasy 10 Price12. Final Fantasy X
Playstation 2 - $10.98

Final Fantasy Origins Price13. Final Fantasy Origins
Playstation 1 - $10.16


Final Fantasy Mystic Quest Price14. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
SNES - $8.67

Final Fantasy 1 Price15. Final Fantasy
NES - $8.18

Final Fantasy X-2 Price16. Final Fantasy X-2
Playstation 2 - $7.46


Most Expensive Portable Final Fantasy Games


Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core - PSP - $39.90
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Ring of Fates - Nintendo DS - $39.79
Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings - Nintendo DS - $28.90
Final Fantasy Tactics War of the Lions - PSP - $26.82
Final Fantasy VI - GBA - $23.05
Final Fantasy II - PSP - $21.96
Final Fantasy - PSP - $19.94
Final Fantasy - Nintendo DS - $14.88
Final Fantasy V - GBA - $14.81
Final Fantasy Adventure - Gameboy - $13.69
Final Fantasy Tactics - GBA - $12.90
Final Fantasy Fables Chocobo Tales - Nintendo DS - $12.64
Final Fantasy 1 and 2 - GBA- $12.39
Final Fantasy IV - GBA - $11.82
Final Fantasy Legend - Gameboy - $8.99
Final Fantasy Legend 3 - Gameboy - $8.99
Final Fantasy Legend 2 - Gameboy - $6.43

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