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


Cory said...

The one thing about digital distribution that I'm looking forward to is no more yearly sports games taking up 3/4 of the used games section.

Travis Hendricks said...

The main reason I don't really play sports games is simply because they don't make $50 worth of change every year. Most genres would get reemed by reviewers if they made the same amount of changes with each iteration. EA really has a nice thing going for it when one of the major points to the new NCAA is the characters' hands touch the ground to gain their balance and they sell another 4 million copies.

mndrix said...

Sports games definitely have a nice racket going. Import the latest roster into the game, increment the year number on the box and charge $50. It's amazing how valuable the new roster is.

It would be interesting to see what percentage of RPG games actually appreciate in value. If the average is 7% depreciation, I suspect that the price distribution would put some of them above the initial retail price.

JJ Hendricks said...

mndrix, good thought about the distribution of prices for RPG games and how some of them probably increased in price. I am going to do my next post about that very thing. Distribution of prices.

Anonymous said...

jjgames, another comparison idea I would like to see is country of origin. Specifically, I'd be interested in seeing a distribution chart comparing JRPGs to American RPGs.

Anonymous said...

Some of the sports games make significant improvements to the engine. If your main reason for not playing them is the whole incremental value issue, I highly recommend you consider buying 1 game of your favorite sport, rather than buying one every year. Having the most up to date rosters, graphics and game tweaks isn't worth it for everyone, but in all honesty if you like sports games not buying at all is not the only alternative to buying every year.

Anonymous said...

RPGs drop off the slowest because graphics count the least for RPGs. Sports drop off most because they rely on both graphics and roster updates. The racing and FPS dropoff is the graphics issue.

Storyline and Gameplay dependant games drop off slower than ones that rely almost entirely on bleeding edge technology.

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