What effect does the Wii's Virtual Console service have on the resale price of the original games? Does the price drop because people can buy the game on the Virtual Console (VC) instead? Or do more people hear about the game because of the new release which increases the demand for the original too?
We found there is no statistical change in resale prices after Virtual Console games are released.
The games dropped in price an average of 9.6% (see table below) but there was so much variation in the 60 different games we analyzed that statistically speaking it wasn't significant. Here is a chart showing the percentage change for each game.
You can see in the chart above that there is no obvious pattern to the changes in price. Some games increased in price, others decreased in price.
Below is a chart that shows the distribution of the price changes. The largest number of games decreased between 0% and -20%.
Price Changes For Virtual Console Releases Compared To All Games
We also compared the change in price that we saw for games released on the virtual console to all games during the same time period. The chart below shows the average resale price change for every game (the VC release chart is shown again for easy comparison).
We ran a statistical test to see if the difference between the average change for these two sets of numbers was significant. The test showed no statistically significant difference between the average price change for games with VC releases and all other games. Meaning Virtual Console releases don't change resale price.
Why Don't Virtual Console Games Change Resale Prices
For the Virtual Console to significantly change the resale price of the original games, it needs to change the supply or demand for the original game. It needs to cause more people to buy, more to sell, fewer to buy, or fewer to sell. Here are several reasons why the Virtual Console MIGHT NOT change resale prices.
1. The overlap among Wii and retro console owners isn't very big
I'm sure there are some Wii owners who own an NES, SNES, or Genesis (probably many readers of VGPC), but I don't think the average Wii owner does. Because of this Virtual Console games coming out won't stop these owners from buying the original game or encourage them to sell a copy they already own.
2. The Virtual Console isn't that popular
Nintendo has never released solid numbers showing how many downloads the Virtual Console has for a particular title. Super Mario Bros for NES sold about 40 million copies world wide. If the game was only downloaded 50,000 times, it won't have much effect on the resale price because it is such a small number by comparison.
3. Gamers want to have physical copies of their games
The people who buy the old game cartridges might not want to own a "virtual" copy of a game. If they are only interested in the original cartridge for nostalgia, collecting, or some other reason; the VC release won't effect their decision at all.
Charts Showing Prices Before And After Virtual Console Release
Below are a few charts showing the prices for the original games before and after the same game was released on the Virtual Console. The prices shown are a seven day moving average to reduce daily price swings and make the trends easier to see.
Super Mario Bros 3 for NES
Shining Force II for Genesis
Super Mario RPG for Super Nintendo
Mario Golf for Nintendo 64
Earthworm Jim for Genesis
Donkey Kong Country 3 for Super Nintendo
1080 Snowboarding for Nintendo 64
Ninja Gaiden 3 for NES
Table of Changes In Resale Price After Virtual Console Release
|Super Mario Bros. 3||NES||7.13||10.23||43%|
|Sonic 3D Blast||Genesis||2.52||1.04||-59%|
|Blades of Steel||NES||0.80||1.35||69%|
|Donkey Kong Country 3||SNES||18.25||19.95||9%|
|Rolling Thunder 2||Genesis||7.72||7.47||-3%|
|Super Street Fighter II||SNES||13.95||11.15||-20%|
|Ninja Gaiden III||NES||14.00||19.54||40%|
|Phantasy Star II||Genesis||7.98||5.84||-27%|
|Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards||N64||13.37||10.91||-18%|
|River City Ransom||NES||20.35||15.12||-26%|
|Phantasy Star III||Genesis||6.73||9.37||39%|
|Pokémon Puzzle League||N64||5.28||4.77||-10%|
|Donkey Kong 3||NES||5.27||5.58||6%|
|Clu Clu Land||NES||1.57||1.99||27%|
|Super Mario RPG||SNES||38.32||33.32||-13%|
|Mega Man 2||NES||5.98||7.5||25%|
|Super Dodge Ball||NES||10.48||9.98||-5%|
|Super Turrican 2||SNES||40.62||14.62||-64%|
|Shining Force II||Genesis||28.31||29.32||4%|
|Secret of Mana||SNES||50.64||28.8||-43%|
|Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition||Genesis||1.33||1.33||0%|
|Mega Man 3||NES||6.49||8.46||30%|
|Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure||Genesis||5.07||5.63||11%|
|Phantasy Star IV||Genesis||13.97||13.15||-6%|
|Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II||NES||4.05||6.00||48%|
|Kirby's Dream Land 3||SNES||31.43||34.69||10%|
|Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse||NES||14.48||5.68||-61%|
Data Notes: This study includes all Virtual Console games released after October 2007 for NES, SNES, N64, and Genesis. Games released prior to October 2007 are left out because we don't have prices before that date. We also excluded a few other titles released after that date because we didn't start tracking their resale prices before they were launched on the VC.
The "Start Prices" are the 7 Day average price 30 days before the game launched on Virtual Console. The "End Prices" are the 7 Day average price 60 days after launch.