Friday April 19th, 2024 9:49PM

Retro video game prices surge during pandemic

By Austin Eller News Director

Like lumber and vehicle prices, retro video games have seen a sudden surge in value throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

Josh Hornor, owner, and operator of Wizards Video Games in Gainesville said he has never experienced anything like the increase in retro video game values over the past year.

"It's been happening over the years, but I'd say in the last year, it's dramatic how much it's gone up," Hornor said. "I've never seen it like this, it's unprecedented."

The upward trend in value is not just a local situation, it is currently happening across the country. PriceCharting.com, a website that tracks prices and trends for nearly every video game ever released, recently completed a study that shows the increasing value over the past year.

According to the PriceCharting study, retro video game values increased by 33% from March 2020 to March 2021. This study includes all major video game consoles and their respective games before the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, which both were released in 2013. 

Games for certain video game consoles saw higher value increases than others, with games for 2001's Nintendo GameCube coming in at the top of the list with an average increase of 70%.

Hornor said he has a few theories as to why old-school video games are currently experiencing this market boost.

"You've got collectors or people that maybe aren't working, who all of a sudden have this stuff that they knew was worth money, and then they're selling," Hornor said. "They're trying to get as much as they can for it so that kind of drives prices up especially in the online marketplace."

Hornor said he also thinks the value increase could relate to more people participating in the practice of "flipping." Flipping is when an individual will find and purchase a video game at something like a yard sale or flea market, and then sell it at a higher price than what they purchased it for. 

Another factor could be a possible recent resurgence in interest in video games after many people looked to new activities they could do from the comfort of their home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hornor said.

"I've seen more instances of people who are picking it back up again, or like, 'hey, I really haven't played much in 10 years but I've been at home this whole time,'" Hornor said. 

Hornor said while retro video game prices have continued to increase, he does not believe the trend will continue.

"I do think like with most collectors markets, I think it is a bubble," Hornor said. "I think at some point when the general consciousness of the whole thing calms down, you'll see some prices go down."

Hornor said one specific example of the increase in prices pertains to sports video games. Retro sports video games traditionally hold a low value due to their annualized nature. For example, the football video game series Madden releases a new video game every year that has updated rosters to reflect the NFL. At Wizards, Hornor said prior to the pandemic, most sports games were worth about $1, while they have now increased to about $5 each.

If you happen to have any retro video games sitting boxed up in your attic or garage, Hornor had one specific tip, especially during the current market.

"Do not throw them away, ever," Hornor said. "Even boxes are worth money. Any scrap of an old game you find, do not immediately throw it away."

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: gainesville, COVID-19, Video Games, Gaming, Retro, Value, Price, Wizards
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