I’m sure we all remember a few weeks ago when Sony announced they would be closing the PS3 and PS Vita stores, and Playstation fans lost their minds, and the defecation hit the oscillation and game prices went to the moon like Dogecoin can only dream? Remember?
Well, a lot of folks went and read my piece about how Playstation 3 Prices Officially Exploded (Seriously, it went a little viral, Imogen Mellor even wrote about it at Gaming Bible.) and if you haven’t been following my PS3 pricing saga, you’re really missing out. I’ve written basically a whole series at this point.
Pretty much every article I’ve written about game prices explains my basic theory behind console-pricing curves, so I won’t spend too much time on it here. But if you haven’t read my other posts (missing out, bruh!), or if you just love the cadence of my ramblings, I’ll give a quick recap in the next section and include links to further reading at the bottom of the page.
If you’re already familiar with console pricing curves, or if you’re in a big hurry or whatever, you could skip this next section. But otherwise…
How are Video Game Prices Determined?
As I’ve said many times before: The price for every console and its games go through a pricing curve. Basically, they are expensive when they’re new and novel, become cheap when they’re old and forgotten, the get expensive once they qualify as nostalgic collectables. Game prices are a product of supply, demand, and nostalgia.
This is true of most collectables, probably. When the shiny new thing hits the market, it’s expensive. But when Shiny Thing 2 comes out, the original Shiny Thing loses popularity hella quick. And by the time the next generation of Shiny Thing (talkin’ about Shiny Thing 3) hits store shelves, then Shiny Thing 1 is now garage sale and thrift store fodder.
But don’t despair! Because that awesome garage sale Shiny Thing 1 (or maybe we call it ST1?) is still beautiful. And now it’s cheap, too! So buy up all that cheap old collectable junk because guess what? In another console generation, people will start to remember ST1 for the great memories they made while using it. And they’ll come looking for it again, right?
Except that you, dear reader, having read all these great Ghetto Gamer posts, will already have amassed a vast library of Shiny Thing 1 games and the suckers on eBay will be clamoring to buy the old “junk” that you had the foresight to collect for pennies on the dollar at your dead neighbor’s estate sale.
Sounds dope, right? But don’t get too excited. If you think you’ll get rich doing this, you’re almost definitely wrong. That’s not really the goal. Although that’s not to say you can’t collect now, and trade later for stuff you really want. Personally, I’ve got a pile of “future trades” that are sealed copies of games I don’t want to play, or doubles of games I already own.
Here in the next year or two, those will have increased in value (some dramatically), and I can just flip a few and have the funds to upgrade my PC, grab the latest Arcade 1Up, or just trade up to the latest expensive Shiny Thing 5 (if they are able to make enough to keep up with demand).
All this may sound like I’m making it all up, but you can just keep your assumptions to yourself, okay? I’ve got Pricecharting.com backing me up here. (Cue the smiley-face Pricecharting graph I keep re-using.) If you haven’t seen this chart before, it’s an aggregated overlay of different Average Game Price for a handful of different consoles. That manic grin represents the actual Console Pricing Curve. Your goal is to try to buy at the bottom, which is where PS3 games were a month ago.
Are PS3 Game Prices Coming Back Down?
It looks like yes, PS3 game prices are definitely coming back down to Earth. And way faster than what I had predicted. Here are a few examples transcribed from Pricecharting and confirmed on eBay. These are for complete-in-box copies. I’ve provided an affiliate link back to eBay in case you want to grab them. You know… before they get crazy again. Any purchase you make from there helps out this site, so don’t be shy.
|Game||Top price in April||Price this week||Percent Change|
|3D Dot Game Heroes||142.50||77.00||-45%|
|Ratchet and Clank Collection||89.99||60||-33.3%|
|Shadows of the Damned||149.99||65||-56.67%|
|Yakuza Dead Souls||129.99||95||-27%|
Please take these numbers for what they are: an estimation. Pricecharting.com isn’t perfect and the “price this week” is a rough average of what games are going for the week ending on 5/2/2021. I arrived at this number by jotting down recent prices from eBay and coming up with a rough average. These prices literally change by the hour, so you’ll have to do your own research too. But for a solid starting point to find good deals, these numbers should work fine.
From what we’re seeing, prices have already come down a lot over the past week. It’s possible they’ll keep dropping, but it probably won’t take long for them to settle to a new normal. Sellers are already realizing that the fear-buying madness has ended. Looking back at some of the Sold Item prices, you kinda feel bad for some of the folks that massively overpaid for some of these games.
But, assuming they hold their assets for long enough, whatever price they paid last week will eventually become the “current” price again as PS3 values continue increase over the long term.
Are PS3 Game Prices Going to Rise Again?
Yes, they definitely will. All video games start to rise in value over time as nostalgia starts influencing prices more and more. Moving forward however, PS3 prices are much more likely to follow a stead curve. At least until Sony closes the PS3 Store again.
What’s that? Close the store again? Well, of course! Sony will almost certainly have to close down the PS3 store eventually. And next time it’ll be permanent. And when it happens, PS3 products will be even further along their pricing curve than they were during this fiasco, and the resulting price hike will almost certainly be even more brutal.
Another thing to consider is this: Sony’s PS3 store debacle was a glimpse into the future of games prices. I don’t believe those more super-rare PS3 games will come back down to where they were before, but they’ll come down to some new normal all the same. After that they’ll inevitably resume their regular price increase.
My personal opinion/prediction is that those same games that exploded a few weeks ago (Puppeteer, Folklore, 3D Dot Game Heroes) will keep ramping up in price. They are the ones you’ll most urgently want to get into your collection before another pricing scare drives them up even higher. Just saying.
Thanks for reading, happy hunting, and please remember: I’m not a psychic, I can’t see the future. I’m just making my own guesses and providing you with some of the public data I’m using. I’m basically an idiot and you should never do what I suggest. Got it? Great! Be sure to like, share, and subscribe to the blog for more pricing updates and great stuff.