Friday, August 17, 2007

Collecting 101: Genre Is Big Factor in Video Game Resale Prices

The Genre of a video game is a major factor determining if a game's resale price will plummet, hold steady, or even increase. Sports games are notorious for losing their value very quickly after they come out and being almost worthless 4-5 years later. Which genre's have the best resale values and which have the worst?

Video Games Prices by Genre for 2007
This chart shows the average price per genre and how it changed during 2007. All genre's decreased in price, but RPG's and Fighting games had the smallest decline.

Sports, Racing, and First Person Shooters decreased the most, with an almost 35% decrease in nine months.

Even though the average game decreases, individual games within each genre do increase or hold steady. Below are charts show the distribution of price changes for each genre.

Distribution of price changes for Action games
Distribution of price changes for Sports games
Distribution of price changes for Racing games
Distribution of price changes for RPG games
Distribution of price changes for Fighting games

For Action, Sports, and Racing games the largest percentage of games decrease in price 50% or more. Almost a third of sports games decrease in price 50% or more.

Then there is a steady drop in the distribution until only 1.8% of games from all genres show a price increase of more than 50%.

RPG and Fighting games are different. Their peak distributions are closer to the middle of the range. 31% of RPG's actually increased in price, while 52% dropped. Only 16% of games in other genre's increased.

RPG's are two times more likely to increase in price

RPG's Compared to All Other Genres

Comparision of RPG and All Game Price Change Distributions

Below is the table with actual distribution percentages for all genres.

Table of Price Data for All Genres

All genre's have some games with price increases of 50 percent or more. And the percentage is roughly the same for all genres, between 1-3%. If you were to randomly buy a video game, it wouldn't matter what genre it was; you would have pretty much the same chance of hitting a home run and the price shooting up more than 50 percent.

The biggest difference is on the up side at the 10-20% ranges. 18% percent of RPG's increase between 10-20%, while all other genres have a 10% chances of increasing the same percentage.

How to Use Genre Information When Collecting Games

How can you use this data? If you decide to collect some video games you should probably focus on RPG's because they have the best chance of increasing in price, but be sure to choose selectively. Most RPG's still drop in price, you just have a better chance of not getting burnt.

Methodology: The charts show the number of games for each genre and how much they dropped in price from January 1st 2007 to August 16th 2007. Video game price data from

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Used Video Game Price Changes By Genre

Madden 08 and NCAA 08 are coming out in less than a month for about $50 a piece, but the prices will be dropping fast. Persona 3 on PS2 or Luminous Arc for DS on the other hand might not drop much in price at all. Sports games dropped an average of 35 percent in 2007 while RPG's only dropped seven percent. Below is a graph of the price changes for 2007 by genre.

Video Games Prices by Genre for 2007

A graph of only RPG's, Sports, and Action/Adventure games

Video Games Prices for RPG's, Action, and Sports games for 2007

As discussed in an earlier article, prices drop 25 percent on average by this time of year. So it is no surprise that every genre shows a fairly steady decline in price throughout 2007. Different genre's perform quite differently though. RPG's and Fighting games hold their prices the best throughout the year with only seven and sixteen percent drops respectively. Action and Adventure games are almost exactly the same as the average video game with a price drop of 25 percent during 2007. (This make sense action and adventure is the largest genre and weighs the overall average to behave similarly) Sports, First Person Shooters, and Racing games dropped in price the most during 2007 with decreases of 35, 32, and 33 percent respectively.

It is fairly obvious why sports games drop in price the most of any genre. New games are released annually and most people who play the games want the updated rosters and new features. The prices drop on older sports games faster than other genres because the new versions come out so often.

It is not quite as obvious why FPS and racing games would drop in price more than the other genre's and almost as much as sports. Maybe FPS and racer fans are similar to sports fans and they want the newest game available. They don't want Project Gotham 3 when they can buy Forza 2 or Gears of War when they can buy Halo 3 soon. The sheer number of units sold for these games weighs on the prices too. FPS and Racing games are two of the most popular genres so the new games sell lots of units; making used copies easier to find when the person moves onto the next game.

RPG's hold their value the best because many RPG's never sold very many new copies to begin with. Atlus is great example of this using limited production runs on many of their releases. Games like Persona, Ogre Battle, Disgaea, and other RPG's didn't sell very many copies initially and are hard to find now because of this. Other RPG developers are similar because RPG's are not as popular as other genres in the US. Another possible factor is RPG's generally take longer to play giving more 'value' for the money so people are willing to pay more for older games.

Fighting games are similar to RPG's production and sales wise which explains their higher prices. Fighters are more of a niche genre compared to Sports, Action, and Racing so not as many are produced. Fighter's might also keep their value longer because not as many titles are released so their isn't as much competition driving down prices.

Don't expect to get much money back when you go sell your Madden 2005 on ebay or at your local game store. But the RPG you found hidden away behind stacks of movie tie-ins and FPS could very well be worth the same as what you paid for it initially. And maybe more if you bought the next Earthbound, Suikoden II, or Digital Devil Saga.

Technical: The prices shown are seven day moving averages of the average price of games in a particular genre. The prices have also been indexed to all start at 1 in order to show relative price changes over time. Games used in this study were released between 2000 and 2006 for all major systems available during this time period. Genres without enough data points, at least 100 games, are not shown because one game could have too much sway on prices in smaller genres.

Video game price data provided by



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