This post is the first in a series of posts looking at the factors that help determine a game's value and if it will become a sought after collectible. Each article in the series will look at a different factor, how it affects the price for a game and why. The first Rarity Factor is Release Date.
Video games released at the end of the system's life are more likely to become rare
What Causes The Higher Prices & Increased Rarity
Video games are released every year a console is supported. But at some point publishers stop releasing games for a system. There aren't any new NES, PS1, or Saturn games being published and sold at retail anymore. Most gamers stopped buying new games because they moved onto the next system and developers stopped making them because no one is buying anymore.
During this transition time the number of units a game sells generally drops. Madden is a good example of this. Sales of Madden on PS2 were 3.8 million in 2006, 3.5 million in 2007, 2.2 million in 2008, and 1.1 million in 2009. Other games see the same sales pattern. If a game is released at the end of a console's life, the publisher will make fewer copies knowing that they won't be able to sell as many.
Rare Titles are 5 Times More Likely In Last Two Years
Games released in the last two years of a console's life are five times more likely to be one of the most expensive titles when compared to games released any other year. The chart below will help illustrate:
The chart above shows the games released during the last two years for N64, SNES, and NES as a percentage of the total games released and as a percentage of the ten most expensive games. The late generation games only represent about 20% of all games released but they make up more than 50% of the expensive games.
In other words the odds of a late generation game becoming rare are roughly 1 in 28. The the odds of early generation games becoming rare are only 1 in 139.
The NES, SNES, and N64 are not the exceptions. Of the four rarest games for the Saturn, three were released during the last year (Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining Force III, and Burning Rangers). The rare Xbox games are the same way. 33% of the rare Xbox games were released during the last year.
How To Use This Release Date Information
You can use this information to help you make better buying decisions for your collections. The Playstation 2 is nearing the end of its life cycle. Weeks will pass without a single release and the future release list looks bleak too with lots of sports titles and movie tie-ins. This is generally the best time to buy if you want to own a rare collectible.
This is part of our video game collecting 101 series.