Thursday, January 28, 2016

Easier Tracking and Shipping Notifications on the Marketplace

The PriceCharting Marketplace automates shipping and tracking notification and storage for buyers and sellers.

On your sales history page, you click 'mark as shipped'.

Top game was shipped. Bottom game still has 'mark as shipped' link

You are then taken to a page to mark the item as shipped and upload the tracking number.

Form to upload tracking number and mark as shipped

Tracking numbers are optional, but including one is +1 to your marketplace reputation.

The shipping date is always the date you click 'mark as shipped' so update this information as quickly as possible after you ship. This ensures timely communication between seller and buyer.

The tracking number and shipping date are always displayed on the listing page for any item you buy or sell.

Date shipped and tracking example on listing page

Buyers are emailed a shipping confirmation with the tracking number immediately after you update the status.

Hopefully this feature makes it easier for buyers and sellers to communicate with each other and see the status of their transactions in one central location.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Guide to Shipping Video Games

Below is a guide to shipping video games. The information applies to shipping other items too but all of my examples will be for video games.

What Packaging to Use

The packaging you use is very important when shipping because it will greatly impact the cost.

Rigid DVD Mailers
rigid dvd mailer
$0.16/each on Amazon

These meet all the qualifications for "First Class Letter" and work very well protecting disc games.

I only use these when shipping cheaper disc only games because there is no tracking. For a game that sells for $5, it is better to save $2 on shipping (difference between Letter and Flat) and lose the ability to track it from door to door.

On more valuable disc only games, I upgrade to a Bubble Mailer (see below) and pay an extra $2 for the tracking.

#1 Bubble Mailers
#1 bubble mailer with measurements
$0.19/each on Amazon

These meet all the qualifications for "First Class Flat" depending on what is shipped inside.

The mailers are too thick to qualify for "Letter" rate though even with nothing inside.

A CD game in a jewel case (PS1 or Dreamcast) qualifies for "Flat".

dreamcast game inside bubble mailer

Most other games can ship inside a bubble mailer, but they will require the "Package" service due to thickness. This option is cheaper than using a box though because a box weights more and costs more to purchase.

dvd case game inside bubble mailer

genesis boxed game inside bubble mailer

SNES cartridge inside bubble mailer

dvd case mailer
$0.42/each on Amazon

A box is my last resort for shipping. They are more expensive and heavier (increase shipping costs).

I will use boxes for shipping fragile Complete in Box games because they provide more protection. For example, NES, SNES, N64 and Sega CD boxes are very fragile. They will be damaged in a bubble mailer.

What Mail Service to Use

I always recommend shipping video games using First Class Mail International. It is cost effective, usually trackable, and arrives within 7-14 days in most instances.

There are three different First Class classifications and the costs vary a great deal depending on which you use.

First Class Letter
Dimension Requirements:
Length (Max): 11 1/2 inches
Height (Max): 6 1/8 inches
Thickness (Max): 1/4 inch
Weight (Max): 3.5 ounces

Cost: $1.20-1.70
Not trackable

Video games easily fit under the length and height maximums for letters. The problem is thickness. Only discs can qualify for the thickness requirement.

Generally speaking you will NOT ship video games as First Class Letters. The only exception is really cheap game discs which it sometimes makes sense to ship in a hard cardboard sleeve to save on postage.

First Class Flat/Large Envelope
Dimension Requirements:
Length (Max): 15 inches
Height (Max): 12 inches
Thickness (Max): 3/4 inch
Weight (Max): 4 lbs

Cost: $2.30-$19

first class flat canada

Again, thickness will be the limiting dimension for Large Envelope service. 3/4 inch is still pretty thin.

Some video games will qualify as Large Envelopes if packaged correctly. Disc games with jewel cases (PS1, Dreamcast) and portable games without cases (Gameboy, Nintendo DS, PSP, etc).

Because it is trackable and cheaper than package service, use this method for any item that qualifies as a Large Envelope.

First Class Package
Dimension Requirements:
Length (Max): 24 inches
Length + Height + Width (Max): 36 inches Weight (Max): 4 lbs

Cost: $9.50-36.50

first class package canada

If the game can't ship as a letter or large envelope, it is a package.

Games that ship as packages include disc games with DVD cases (Gamecube, PS2, Xbox, PS4, 360, etc), thick cartridges (N64, SNES, Genesis), and anything else with a box.

Most video games will have to be shipped as First Class Packages. It is trackable but more expensive.

Media Mail
Do not ship video games or video game hardware with media mail. It does not qualify. Your package will be refused or additional postage will be added on.

Customs Forms for Canada

Shipments going to Canada will need a customs form filled out.

Packages under 4 lbs use form CN22.

Packages above 4 lbs require a longer form, 2976-B, which is in quadruplicate.

Below is an example of the CN22 form filled out for a video game.

CN22 Example Filled Out

The USPS let's you fill out the CN22 online or you can fill it out at the post office.

Save Money with Large Volume Shipping Providers

If you ship lots of international packages (5 pound per day minimum) you can use shipping services like UPS Mail Innovations and DHL Globalmail and save a bunch of money on First Class Packages.

These providers will pickup the packages from you, sort them, process them until they reach the border and then hand them off to Canada Post (or other country post office) to handle the rest of the delivery.

The savings can be substantial and the more you ship the bigger the discounts.

Here's an example based upon actual costs per item for a seller shipping 30+ pounds per day:

Weight USPS First Class Mail Innovations
1 oz $9.50 $3.10
5 oz $9.50 $4.26
10 oz $15.00 $5.71

As you can see, the savings are pretty big and the packages are trackable from door-to-door.

Once you get used to shipping to Canada, it is very straight forward. It can be expensive but buyers on our marketplace cover all the shipping costs.

If you have any questions about shipping games to Canada, please let me know in the comments below.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Germ Squashers NES Game Raises Money for Children's Hospital

To help raise money for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 8bit Evolution is releasing a new NES game called Germ Squashers.

The game is coming out for Genesis, iOS, and Android too.

They are making 100 limited editions (cartridge, full color manual, and card packins) and 100 special editions (cartridge, cardboard box, color manual, and special packins like a branded hand sanitizer). The limited edition sells for $59.99 and the special edition is $69.99. The cartridge by itself is $49.99. You can't buy it yet, but you can signup for their email list to know when it is ready for sale.

I love that an 8bit game is getting a physical cartridge to go along with the digital versions. Thanks 8bit Evolution for making this collector's item.

Checkout a gameplay video below:

eBay Sniper Now Shows Our Marketplace Deals Too

We track every video game listing on eBay and if a listing is ending soon or newly listed below the market value, we let you know about it with our eBay Game Sniper.

A good deal is a good deal no matter where it's being sold so now deals on our Marketplace are included too.

You can still fully customize the Sniper to only include systems your interested in, minimum amount to save before notification, method of notification, and even the marketplaces to include.

Try out the sniper and buy some great deals today.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Guide to All Game Cartridge Screwdriver Bits, Batteries, and Circuit Boards

Author: Zachary Latour

As collectors continue to buy games for their collections, they will eventually have all of the common stuff that they want. Then it's time to find the rarer, and thus more expensive, stuff. If you are going to buy more expensive games, you need to be sure that what you’re getting isn’t fake.

The circuit board and inside of the cartridge is the most definitive way to tell if the game is legitimate or fake.

The Tools Every Game Collector Needs

The first thing I want to talk about is getting yourself the correct tools for game collecting. In order to open most of the games that you are going to find, you’re going to need some different screwdrivers: 3.8mm security bit, 4.5mm security bit, tri-wing head, small Philips head, and a small flat head screwdriver. These will allow you to open almost any old video game cartridge, console, or controller that you’ll run into. All of the tools I use to are shown in the picture below.

All of these screwdrivers can be bought online for under $9 (3.8mm and 4.5mm set, Triwing, Precision Screwdriver Set).

There are videos online on how to make your own security bit screwdrivers at home, but I don’t recommend doing so. Instead, if you’re serious about collecting, just pay the couple dollars and get a set of screwdrivers that will last you forever, if you use them correctly.

Tools, Batteries, & Circuit Boards for Every Cartridge Video Game

The pictures below display many different types of opened video game cartridges. They show:

  • Type of cartridge
  • Which screwdriver opens the cart
  • Locations of the screws
  • Printed circuit board (PCB)
  • Save battery the cartridge uses

Please note that some games have batteries and some do not. Also, note that some games have different chip numbers that are still legitimate PCBs. I live in North America so this reference picture reflects North American (NTSC) games.

NES Cartridge (Type A)

NES Cartridge (Type B)

NES Cartridge (5 Screw)

Super Nintendo Cartridge

Nintendo 64 Cartridge

Gameboy Cartridge

Gameboy Color Cartridge

Gameboy Advance Cartridge

Virtual Boy Cartridge

Sega Genesis Cartridge

Sega 32X Cartridge

Sega Game Gear Cartridge

Sega Master System Cartridge

Vectrex Cartridge

Every collector should get comfortable opening game cartridges. Opening games will allow you to not only verify legitimacy, but it will also allow you to clean up your games. You can change dead batteries, completely clean game boards, remove loose pieces bouncing around inside of the cartridge, and swap out backs of games to make games look better. Doing any of the above practices can only make your game collection more reliable, better looking, and more enjoyable.

What to Look for on The Circuit Board

Look for any soldered wires on the PCB. Official boards do not use wires to bridge different parts of the chips on them. This is an immediate indication of a hack job and a pirated game. The game might look official from the outside, but as soon as you disassemble it you will immediately notice that it’s a fake.

Look for stamps on the PCBs. Brand names like ‘Nintendo’ or ‘Sega’ printed directly onto the board will always help with confirming authenticity. This is not 100% though, as some bootlegs now have the company stamp on the boards.

If you buy a rare or expensive game online be cautious. There are scams selling fake games that many collectors have fallen for. If someone sends you pictures of the board before you meet up with them always double check it in person. Take the cart apart and look at it for yourself before handing over any money. There is nothing stopping the seller from sending you pictures of a legit board and then switching it out with a common game, a pirated PCB, a blank PCB, or even a broken PCB for the actual transaction. There are good deals to be had online, but keep in mind that sometimes it might be too good to be true.

Reproduction Labels on Cartridges

Some games will have reproduction labels. A collector might have replaced a damaged label with a new one. This is not fraudulent. Usually it is done to improve the appearance of a game. Reproduction labels can be a sign of a bootlegged game too. Be more cautious of games with bootlegged labels.

Most reputable reproduction label manufacturers will have ‘REPRODUCTION’ written somewhere on the label. I know that sounds like an IT guy asking you if your computer is plugged in when it won’t turn on, but most people bootlegging games don’t even notice any details on the label. Below are pictures of some reproduction labels.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Buy & Sell Video Games in Canada with PriceCharting Marketplace

Canada Video Game Map

Canadians love video games. And now Canadians can buy and sell video games on the PriceCharting Marketplace.

Details on buying and selling games as a Canadian

There are no fees to buy or sell games. That's the same for all users!

Shipping is free between two Canadians (sellers include shipping costs in the listing price).

Shipping costs $3-5 between Canada and USA depending on the size of the item (See full cost details)

The price you see on the marketplace includes all shipping costs.

Customs and duties are the responsibility of the buyer.

Start buying & selling games today.



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