Friday, July 13, 2007

Playstation 2 vs Gamecube vs Xbox - Used Game Prices

Fanboys love to debate the merits of their favorite systems. Everything from graphics, online play, total sales, third-party game selection, and overall game selection are argued about. I’m adding another coal to the fire: Which games keep their value better? PS2, Gamecube, or Xbox?

Below is a table of the average release price and today’s price for each system.

System# of GamesAvg. Release PriceAvg. Used Price% of Original Price
Gamecube455$41.71$10.72 25.7%
Xbox565$41.29$5.83 14.1%

The average release price is pretty much the exact same for each system, but the average used game price today is much different. Gamecube games have kept 26 percent of their value, slightly ahead of the Playstation 2 at 22 percent. The Xbox is substantially lower at 14 percent.

I don’t know for sure why these differences exist, but I imagine the Xbox prices are lower partially because bootlegging games on the system is easier (and more popular) on the Xbox than the PS2 or Cube. If a person can copy their friend’s games to their modded system they have no need to pay for the used games.

Below is a graph of the average prices for each system’s games on a daily basis through 2007.

Playstation 2 prices have stayed much higher in the past seven months than the other two systems. PS2 games lost about 17 percent of their value from Jan 1 to July 13, while Gamecube and Xbox games both lost about 30 percent.

This is because the Playstation 2 is still alive and ticking and hasn’t been completely kicked to the curb by Sony, like Nintendo and Microsoft did with their systems. The buyers of those nearly 200,000 PS2's that sold last month have to buy something to play on it. And some of them inevitably buy used games, keeping the prices quite a bit higher.

For now, the Gamecube fanboys can rejoice. The Cube reigns supreme as the system with the games that keep their value the best. But I think the trends in the graph will continue and PS2 prices will eventually pass the Cube's and PS2 fanboys will have the last laugh. Sorry Xbots, your system doesn’t win this round.

(Side Note: I only used games released before 2007 for this analysis so the PS2 doesn't get any unfair advantage by having more newer games in the data)

Video game price data provided by

Saturday, July 7, 2007

What You Would Like to See

I have been doing this blog for three months now and have lots of ideas for pricing analysis and what I think would be interesting. But some of the best ideas I have received have been from my readers and their emails, comments, or other discussions. I decided I would make an official post asking for input about what my readers want to see and read about. Post a comment with your ideas for something you want to see analyzed and I will add it to my list and sift through the data and maybe make a post about it.

Here are some ideas readers have given me so far:

  • Price comparisons on different systems. Do prices drop faster on a particular system?
  • Price comparisons by Publisher. Do certain publishers make games that keep their value longer?
  • Compare the Game Index to Google Trends data. Do prices increase when searches increase?
  • Are there any games that increase in value? Is there a trend on which ones they are? And can you predict it?

If you ever come up with a good idea, simply come back to this post and send a comment. I will come back on a regular basis to check on the ideas. And update this list with new readers ideas to spark some more creative juices. Thanks for reading and for your suggestions.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Video Game Prices Drop 60% in First Eight Months

I tracked the prices of video games released in October and November of 2006, 2004, 2002, and 2000 to see how their prices behave after a game has been on the market eight months, two years, four years, and six years. The average game released in 2006 dropped 60% between it's release and July 1st. The games released in 2004, 2002, and 2000 had dropped an average of 20% in this same time period.

The graph below shows the relative price changes from February 1st to July 1st on a daily basis for each release year.
Old video game prices vs Video Game Index
Video games are obviously a depreciating asset. Every single year they drop in price over time. Like cars, computers, and most other equipment, the prices drop the fastest the first year. Games released in 2006 depreciated an average of 32% from their release date until February 1st, going from $42.08 to $28.66 in three months (not shown on graph). And then drop another 38% in the following five months from February until July 1st, going from $28.66 down to $17.70. The average video game released in 2004, 2002, and 2000 only dropped 20% during this same time frame going from an average of $9.61 to $7.70.

By the second, fourth, and sixth year after a video game's release, the prices follow almost the exact same pattern in their price depreciation. This also is very close to the Overall Video Game Index as you can see in the graph below.
2006, 2004, 2002, 2000 Video game prices
This information won't stop me from buying the Halo 3's, Mario Galaxy's, and Metal Gear 4's of the world, because they are worth every penny and I don't want to wait six months. But for all those marginal games that I might like but can't quite decide if I want to buy them, I'll wait a few months and save myself some money. If I wait six months, I can buy two games for the price of one.

Downloadable Video Game Price Guide available



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