The market for PS3 games has been going nuts since my last post. If you missed it, read it here. If you don’t want to read it right now, that’s okay. It was basically just a long “I told you so” with pictures.
You see, I’ve been talking about potential PS3 Holy Grails over the past year, been urging my dear readers to collect them, and after Sony announced they would end support for the PS3 online store, my theory was proven correct and several of my PS3 picks went absolutely bonkers.
But did I speak too soon? Because soon after I posted that, Sony reversed their decision, announcing the online store would remain open, in response to the overwhelming paddling they got from fans.
I’ve got mixed feelings about the decision myself. On the one hand, it’s always cool to see a big-ass company like Sony stick their neck out, apologize to their fans, and un-do whatever unpopular decision they made.
But on the other hand, I know how incredibly expensive it must be for Sony to keep that store open. I can’t imagine it’s still profitable, and those workers and that money could be spent doing something else (like making more PS5 units). I guess I should mention that I own some stock in Sony. So maybe there’s a conflict of interest there?
FOMO Engaged, PS3 Prices Got Loco
Anyway, the market saw an insane rise in the price of physical PS3 games after the market-closing announcements. Speculation has been flying around that prices will settle back down now that the closing was reversed.
Time will tell, I suppose. And my own guess is that prices probably will settle a bit. But I sincerely doubt they’ll come back down to pre-announcement prices. Here’s why:
- Sellers aren’t going to say “Oops, I guess these aren’t so valuable after all!” and go reduce the prices on these. If prices come down, it will happen very slowly by way of buyer fatigue. But…
- Buyers have now seen firsthand how volatile prices are. The demand for PS3 games is going to grow and any reasonably priced rare PS3 game is going to get snapped up hella quick.
- Sony isn’t going to keep the PS3 store open forever. Eventually they’re going to have to shut it down. The Sony store is essentially on life support and is still going to die eventually.
- PS3 game prices are past the lowest point in their pricing curve. The market will naturally continue to shift until 7th-generation games and consoles become retro and start being sought after.
If you haven’t read my past articles, you may be interested in some back-reading about game pricing theory and natural pricing curves. I kind of nerd out over this stuff. You might also.
Not Every PS3 Game Has Gone Insane
I’m optimistic that the PS3 games that were most affected by the price-hike will come down a little in price (but never to pre-announcement levels). However, those prices are still temporary and as PS3 continues to age, those prices will continue to creep back up.
While that inevitable creep continues, there are still a handful of games that haven’t been as heavily impacted by the spike, and could potentially be good grabs for long-term scalping… er, I mean collecting.
I’ve been collecting classic games for years, starting with NES, moving to SNES then PS2. Playstation 3 is the first console I’ve collected for where eBay sellers still stock hundreds of copies of new, factory-sealed copies of out-of-print games.
Those plentiful sealed games are intriguing to my speculating mind. Logically, if these out-of-print games are still widely available, it must mean they were not as popular as the manufacturer anticipated, right?
Less-popular but still-fun games traditionally become expensive. Chrono Trigger and Earthbound are great examples. They are both well-respected games that many people enjoy, but when they came out, there just weren’t that many copies in circulation. Today they are stupid expensive.
I’m not completely sure that this logic is transferable to PS3 because there are so many differences in distribution in the modern age. But one of the key differences that has already show evidence of being a huge driver of price changes is Sony’s digital sales. The 7th gen was the first generation where video games were being widely sold in digital format.
I’ve talked about that before, predicting that physical PS3 games will be on average more highly sought after than their older counterparts as digital distribution goes away. And of course, this whole Sony back & forth has me even more convinced because I seen’t it!
So let’s have a look at some of these lower-tier but still-good PS3 games that are affordable today and could potentially skyrocket in value.
According to VGChartz.com, Nier for PS3 sold about 630,000 units worldwide. That’s enough to be considered a successful release, but not a runaway smash hit. Nier: Automata, by contrast, sold 3 million units in Japan alone. The series itself is pretty popular, but it’s like… sort of low-key popular.
People like the games, but not that many people have this one for PS3. And with it being readily available on eBay new and factory sealed, it may be a smart one to pick up. Especially considering that the sealed price has barely budged since the game’s release, relative to other games.
Today you can pick up a new, sealed copy of Nier for $55. It’s not super cheap, but it also hasn’t spiked with all those other PS3 games. It has held its value. That kind of pricing pattern indicates an ongoing demand for a title that was certainly not overdistributed.
I think Nier is probably a good pick for someone wanting to build a library of speculative PS3 picks. Go grab one on eBay while you still can. (They seem to be going fast.)
Silent Hill HD Collection
If you’ve been reading my older posts, you’ll know I’ve been pushing the hell out of this game. I may be wrong on this one, but then again, I may not. What makes me hopeful is that this HD remake was generally unpopular. Fans of Silent Hill weren’t fans of the Silent Hill Collection.
The HD “upgrade” was shoddy in the first place, but many fans feel that the grit and lo-fi feel of the series is part of what gives the Silent Hill games their creepy ambiance. The HD remasters took a lot of that out. Still, Silent Hill 2 and 3 remain extremely popular games. So popular in fact, that their PS2 releases are now prohibitively expensive. (See my earlier post, The Price of PS2 Games is Exploding.)
When a game is popular, but sells poorly, that’s a recipe for an eventual rise in value. As Silent Hill 2 and 3 become harder and harder to get for the PS2, the PS3’s HD collection is going to start looking more and more attractive. And with any aging franchise, newer players won’t have the same taboos about these remakes that us OG gamers do.
New players won’t care that the remakes “aren’t as good as the originals” because they wouldn’t have played the originals, yet the curiosity about those popular yet expensive-ass games will still be there. And this collection will be an affordable alternative to the original versions.
Also, as with Nier, you can still find tons of new, factory-sealed copies of Silent Hill HD Collection on eBay. These are quite a bit cheaper and more plentiful than Nier, so it’s entirely possible the price will rise more slowly. But eventually, I really think it will start to climb.
Ratchet & Clank Collection
While not as extreme as Puppeteer, the Ratchet & Clank trilogy definitely saw a big ‘ol spike after Sony’s announcement. Since all the ruckus, the asking price on this thing has actually settled down already. A little. My opinion? It’s time to get it.
Or at least, start tracking the price closely. The games that spiked after Sony’s announcement are the exact same games that are going to get expensive over time. Ratchet & Clank is a popular series, and rightly so. The games are great and stand the test of time. And unlike the Silent Hill HD Collection, this trilogy is very well liked and highly rated.
So yeah, the price on this one may continue to settle. But then again, it may not. What I’ve done myself is set a search alert on eBay so I’m notified regularly on what new listings on this game are asking for.
Just take this link over to eBay. You’ll land on a pre-filtered search for the Ratchet and Clank Collection. Near the top of the page you’ll see a blue link with a heart that says “Save this search.” It’ll automatically send you a daily email notification rounding up all the new listings for this game.
If you see a good listing pop up, you can act fast and make it yours. Or you can just lurk on that search and see how the price behaves over the coming days. If it keeps going down, great. But if it looks like it might continue to rise, it might be a good time to act.
Not the first time I’ve written about Lollipop Chainsaw. It’s one I anticipated would go up and boy did it ever! I picked up a sealed copy last year for $25.59. A quick eBay search reveals you can get a sealed copy for about $150 plus shipping.
Obviously (at least I hope it’s obvious), I’m not encouraging you to buy it at this price. But I want to make a couple of points with this.
First: When I bought this one, it was from a vendor that had a lot of them in stock. Just the way Nier and the Silent Hill Collection are well-stocked and easy to get right now. Today, Lollipop sealed copies are pretty much gone and you can only get this from individual sellers at a huge markup. This is exactly what I predict will happen when all those Silent Hill and Nier copies get sold. Prices will rise.
Also: The price on Lollipop Chainsaw is volatile, but definitely trending upward. It’s another one to watch the price on. And if you see a dip, you should buy. This game is well liked and really unique. It is very likely to continue to rise in value.
That’s it for now
As I like to say in these posts, I’m not a time traveler. I’m not an expert. I’m just a good guesser with a few tools and a little free time. Pick up these games if you want; I think they’ll do well. But if you waste your kid’s college fund on them and the bottom falls out of the market, don’t come crying to me, okay?
But I’m sharing these picks with you because I truly believe these titles are going somewhere. I’ve been making these articles for a bit and while not every one of my picks has hit the jackpot, a lot of them have. And the ones that didn’t explode have at least not gone down in value. And really, none of these should.
So go grab some games while you can and see what happens to the PS3 market. Meanwhile, I’ll drop a few more articles for you to enjoy.