Not every video game will sell for thousands of dollars. Not every comic book or baseball card fetches these high prices either. But, some video games will likely sell for more than $100,000 or even a million dollars some day. Most likely it will be a game like Nintendo World Championship, which already sells for $20,000.
Expensive Collector's Items Need to Be Rare
The most expensive baseball cards and comic books are rare. There are only between 50 to 60 T206 Honus Wagner cards and fewer than 100 Action Comic #1's known to exist.
Nintendo World Championship Gold and a few other video games definitely meet this criteria. There are only 26 NWC Gold cartridges in existence and 90 NWC Gray cartridges. Only five copies of Air Raid for Atari 2600 have ever been found. Another handful of video games also fit the "rare" distinction, giving them immense worth.
The Item Needs A Good Story
Some games, comics, baseball cards, and other rarities only have one or two copies in existence because they were prototypes and never actually released. But, that doesn't automatically make them valuable to collectors. The item needs a good story behind it to entice collectors.
Action Comic #1, for example, is the first comic book to feature Superman. It’s considered the first superhero comic. Honus Wagner is thought to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He also forced the American Tobacco Co to stop production of the baseball card because he didn't want to be associated with tobacco. Both great stories.
Nintendo World Championship has a great history too. The game was part of a Nintendo promoted competition where gamers from all over the country competed to get the best score in Super Mario, Rad Racer, and Tetris. The game stopped players after six minutes and twenty-one seconds. The finals were held at Universal Studios and the 26 winners received NWC Gold as one of their prizes.
Mass Market PopularityTomorrow's collectors are today's common fan. Since the 1900's, baseball card trading and collecting has been a favorite of boys. When those boys grew older and had more disposable income they were willing to spend a lot more money on their collections. Previous owners of the Wagner card included Wayne Gretzky, Wal-Mart (they purchased it for a baseball card promotion), and the CEO of an investment company. Comic books have been very popular since the 1950's so kids who became fans of comics during this golden age are now in their late 50's and 60's (an age when many people have their highest income).
Research by the NPD Group in early 2008 shows that 72 percent of Americans play video games. So there are millions of gamers out there who can help increase the price of the video games eventually.
Value Increases With TimeTime helps increase the value of the best collectibles and is the leading factor currently holding back video game prices. The Honus Wagner card was released in 1909, so it has been on the market for exactly one hundred years. During the 1930's the Honus Wagner card sold for $50. Using the $2.8 million price in 2007, the card had a compounded return of 15.3% per year over the last 77 years.
Action Comic #1 is 71 years old this year. It's compounded return since 1938, when it originally sold for 10 cents, is 23.5%.
Time is indeed the factor keeping video games from the ski-high prices baseball cards and comics are now raking in. Video games became popular in the 1980's with Atari. And it wasn’t until a decade later in 1990 that the Nintendo World Championship took place. NWC cartridges were given away and there are no records of the original prices the game sold for so it is hard to calculate a percent return for the game so far. Assuming you could have offered one of the winners of these cartridges $1,000 for it the rate of return would be 17.1%. Right in between Honus Wager and Action Comic.
Given Enough Time NWC Will Be Worth $100K or More
Nintendo World Championship (and a few other games too) have all the makings of valuable collector's items. There is a very limited supply. It has a great story behind the game. And it has popular appeal with millions of people who play games. The only thing keeping NWC Gold cartridge from selling for more money is time. In ten, twenty, or thirty years when kids who grew up playing NES games have money to spare, they will be the collectors willing and able to pay top dollar prices for these treasures.