Hello, you PS3 tycoon! Thanks for clicking on my baity article. I seriously considered naming this article “Get Rich by Investing in PS3 Games”. But I didn’t think you (or Google) would like that.
Could you get rich by investing in PS3 games? Almost definitely not. Can you make a few bucks by flipping PS3 games over the years? Yeah, sure! It wouldn’t even be that difficult. But let’s face it: Once these games are in your collection, you’re probably keeping them forever.
But you clicked. And here you are. And whether you’re a retro game speculator or not, I’ve got some promising suggestions for your PS3 collection.
Note: If you want, you can skip all the charts and methodology stuff and scroll straight to the games. But if you’re interested in the market, you might appreciate the work I’ve done.
Before we get too deep, I should point out that I’m not an investment advisor. In fact, I’m pretty broke and you’d do better just working a regular job and investing in ETFs or a 401K or IRA or something. But buying and collecting games is way more fun.
Since the topic of video game speculation interests you, you should know that I write on this topic frequently. (See PS3 Holy Grails to Collect Now.) I’ve also been pretty successful at predicting price jumps on PS3 games that did in fact become quite expensive.
Game Sack: “Prices Aren’t Absurd Yet”
I don’t keep up with Game Sack, but my pal Jim from Drink a Beer & Play a Game sent me their recent video about the PS3.
Game Sack’s Joe Redifer spends a few moments giving a high-level analysis of the PlayStation 3 hardware and history, then spends about 30 minutes discussing his favorite PS3 games. These aren’t “hidden gems” or anything. There are a few lesser-known games in the list, but it’s mostly just a roundup of popular PS3 games.
I like to think Ghetto Gamer is a reputable resource for retro game collectors. Early in his video, Joe made a couple of comments that I thought were directly relevant to this site and worth weighing in on.
Here’s the video, fast-forwarded to the comments in question.
Okay, so it’s only fast-forwarded 15 seconds, but I know how attention spans can get on the internet, so…
First, Joe claims the PS3 is “retro enough”—which is alarming, but true. It is now 2 console generations old, so it’s plenty retro for the sake of this site and his video. If it feels too soon for PlayStation 3 to be retro, it’s probably because you’re getting old.
Joe goes on to say something else that really triggered me. He claims that PS3 “prices aren’t absurd yet.”
Wait, what? They aren’t? Because earlier this year I wrote a piece called “PS3 Prices have Officially Exploded and They’re Not Done Yet“. That’s official, okay? It was a decree handed down by the Official Office of Ghetto Gaming.
Has Joe forgotten Sony’s Playstation Store Madness back in the spring? When Sony announced plans to stop digital sales of PS3 and PS Vita games?
The announcement sparked a massive spike in PS3 game prices as collectors scrambled to get physical copies of PS3 exclusives that were at risk of disappearing forever. It didn’t take long for the backlash to hit, and Sony quickly reversed their decision.
Back in May, I predicted PS3 prices would start to slump. But sloooowly. (See Will Retro Game Prices Go Down?) It’s been a while since I checked, but I feel confident that PS3 prices are still “absurd.” And here’s Joe Redifer insisting otherwise! What gives? Is Joe ignoring the Playstation Store Spike? Is he right and prices have plummeted since I last checked?
As I do when someone challenges my Game Pricing Paradigm, I opened eBay and Pricecharting.com in tandem. I quickly pulled up two of my favorite “PS3 Holy Grail” picks to see what the prices have done since my last PS3 article.
Looks like CIB copies of Puppeteer have indeed bounced over the last few months. Let’s look at 3D Dot Game Heroes.
…and here we see the same price bounce.
Two games isn’t really a comprehensive market analysis, but there is definitely a pattern. On both graphs we see a spike, followed by a dip, followed by a bounce. This is the market attempting to correct itself. Let me break it down like this:
- The spike: Sony’s PlayStation Store announcement happens; demand skyrockets; game resellers are getting away with murder for a hot minute.
- The dip: Sony reverses course. FOMO ceases to be a factor and buyers stop desparately throwing money around. Sellers are forced to reduce prices.
- The bounce: PS3 games hit a price buyers like. Existing stock is sold and removed from circulation. Supply falls and demand stabilizes.
- The prediction: Prices will continue to fall gradually over the next few years.
When I say PS3 prices will fall gradually, I mean really gradually.
And there’s another factor to consider. Every console’s game prices follow a natural, predictable curve over the years. The games get cheaper as they get “old,” then get expensive as they start to get “retro.” Let’s call this the Retro Curve.
Because I’m a big-ass nerd, I decided to cross-reference current PS3 prices and the PS3’s progress along its Retro Curve. I’m pretty sure the price decrease from the PS Store Nonsense will be negated by the PS3’s Retro Curve within a year. Two at most.
Lookie, I made a chart…
The blue line shows a regular, organic Retro Curve. It’s actually Pricecharting’s graph of average GBA game prices, which follows a typical Retro Curve.
The green line is Puppeteer’s price chart. The same one we looked at earlier, with that PS Store spike, then the bounce.
The yellow line is the graph for Mega Man X Collection on the Gamecube. I’m using it as a to show how prices can slump after an initial high. The price of Mega Man X dropped quickly after Capcom released it for multiple other consoles.
The red target shows where the Mega Man X and Puppeteer charts peaked. This is the moment before Mega Man was released on additional consoles, and the moment before Sony announced they weren’t closing the PS3 Store. .
With the Puppeteer and Mega Man X graphs superimposed, we can see how yes, the prices started slumping immediately and yes, they have continued to taper off.
But the prices will only decrease until they converge with the blue line. The Retro Curve will then start pushing prices back up again.
PS3 Games Won’t Get Much Cheaper
My point is that PS3 prices are going to drop a little, but they won’t drop fast enough to actually get cheap.
PS3 prices today are about as cheap as they’re ever likely to be.
And let’s be honest: Sony will not support PS3 digital sales forever. No chance. It won’t happen this year and probably not next year, but they’re going to drop it eventually. And when it does?
Well, hopefully when Sony ends PS3 support, you’ll be sitting on your throne of sealed PS3 games with a monocle and top hat, ready to cash out, claim your riches, and retire happy. It’s more than fair to assume that games which spiked after the PS Store debacle are primed to do it again.
So with that being said, let’s take yet another look at some PS3 games you probably want to pick up ASAP, before the market turns over and PS3 games are too expensive.
For the purpose of this article, and in keeping with the “What Game Sack Said” theme, we’ll mostly be going over Joe’s picks. Keep in mind Joe isn’t interested in getting rich as a PS3 speculator. He just enjoys the games. But we’ll look at them for their potential returns-on-investment.
PS3 Games to Get Now!
Journey Collector’s Edition
It sounds like Joe really likes this disc. Not just for Journey, which is widely considered a masterpiece, but for one of the other games on the disc, Flower. Once the PlayStation Store stops carrying the PS3 port, this Collector’s Edition will be the only way to get Flower.
I don’t know if this one will take off like Puppeteer and 3D Dot Game Heroes did. When the PlayStation Store announcement came, Journey was barely affected. But it checks all the boxes to become a high-value game, so who knows? And for its current price of around $20, it’s definitely worth picking up. Even if just to enjoy playing it.
It’s true that the standard edition has plenty of copies in circulation and barely budged during the PS Store Incident. But the Deluxe Edition boxed set, with its adorable strategy guide, currently fetches around $110 for CIB copies.
With the huge, devout following behind the Souls series, and with this thing already demanding triple-digit prices, it’s a pretty sure bet it’s only going to get more rare and valuable as time goes on. I’m not sure it’ll edge into Earthbound territory, but if you’re going to become a PS3 millionaire, you might have to bite a few bullets.
And while I wouldn’t bother to “invest” in the standard version of this game, you might want to pick it up to play. Because I’ve heard some people actually enjoy this series. I don’t. But you might?
House of the Dead Overkill
Game Sack chose wisely with this one. And who doesn’t love the House of the Dead series?
This game works with the PS Move setup, and if you can find a gun attachment to complete the feel, you should be pleased with your purchase. It’s still relatively cheap on eBay. Here, have a look.
Overkill was released on PS3 and Wii, with ports for PC and mobile. The PS3 port came out later, and the Extended Cut includes two additional levels. This game did see a price jump when Sony made their announcement, which bodes well for future price increases.
I also think PS Move-compatible games and associated hardware are going to continue to increase in value. Games that utilize motion control effectively are relatively few, and considerably rarer than mainline PS3 games. Sony’s official assault weapon-style Move controller is the Sharp Shooter. I found one for $30+Shipping today, but they’re usually more expensive. Here they are on eBay.
I may be totally wrong on this, of course, but I see a common thread among PS3’s motion-controlled games and I think they are worth watching.
This one did not make the Game Sack video. But watch this price…
Folklore is a hard-to-find first-party PS3 exclusive. It had really decent reviews—mostly praising the art design and setting—and yet, it never took off. The developers pitched the idea for a sequel, but Sony said nah. Sales for the original couldn’t justify the cost of another.
That’s too bad for fans, but it’s good news for PS3 speculators.
This one reacted hard to the PS Store announcement. And it’s settled back to a point where it’s still a bit overpriced IMO, but also probably worth picking up. Especially if the price slips any further south. When PS3 support ends (for real this time), this one is likely to go straight to the moon.
Get Folklore on eBay while you still can!
This one is Game Sack-approved. And it’s one I’ve picked up previously after researching PS3 numbers.
Heavenly Sword is a PS3 exclusive and boy-oh-boy was it ambitious. The prodigious and immensely talented Andy Serkis features prominently in the cutscenes. The box promises “advanced combo systems” that allow you to transition between attack stances, defensive counters, “Super Styles” and “AfterTouch” controls!!!
What does all that mean? I have no idea. But look!
Look, it doesn’t matter for speculators! It’s in my backlog to actually play at some point, but that’s not why I got it! It’s a PS3 exclusive with a scantily-clad female protagonist. The price did a little jump after the PS Store debacle and—even more interestingly—sealed copies are already selling for up to $200. I fully expect this one to take off.
And it should probably be yours, too. Here it is on eBay.
Time Crisis: Razing Storm
I’ve talked about this one before. It’s been among my top suggestions for PS3 games to get while prices are good. And Game Sack says it’s a fun play. But it kind of goes against Joe’s assertion that “prices aren’t absurd yet.” Maybe he started recording the video before the PS Store shenanigans? Or he’s just got deeper pockets than me. Harumph.
Anyway, I predicted this one would soar and I was proven correct, with the price doubling during the spring. It seems to be on a shallow decline at the moment and could still be a viable pickup within the next couple of years.
Like House of the Dead, this one uses the PS Move setup. But this one is also a PS3 exclusive, so it’s a double whammy. Go get it. Here it is on eBay.
This one really made me scratch my head. It was the first title that came to my mind when Game Sack Joe says PS3 prices aren’t absurd. Of all the PS3 games the went nuts over the PS Store fiasco, this one may be the nutsiest.
It’s a great looking game. I remember when it dropped and Sony was pushing the marketing of this one very hard. Seemed like I saw it every time I logged into my PS3. I thought the visuals were really impressive, but a bit more kiddish than what I typically look for. If I’m going to play something cutesy, I do it on a Nintendo console. Playstation is where I go for more “adult” games with blood and boobs and all that.
Apparently I’m not the only one who felt this way, because sales on Puppeteer were not great. Reviews were mixed, and overall people felt Puppeteer was decent, but nothing spectacular.
Fast forward to spring of 2021 and this game took a massive leap, with prices almost tripling from their previous high and actually quadrupling beyond the pre-covid price! One year ago you could have picked up a brand new sealed copy for around $25. Dang, bro. You should have bought a case of these!
You can still get Puppeteer CIB for around $75. As of this writing, there’s at least one brand new copy on eBay for $89. Might want to jump on it.
3D Dot Game Heroes
This was another darling of mine. Like Puppeteer, I’ve already used the graph for this game to illustrate what “absurd” prices look like and am still mystified at why Joe from Game Sack thinks PS3 prices aren’t absurd. Maybe the backwash from WataGate and all the other market madness has made the price for this one seem reasonable.
But 3D Dot Game Heroes is still quite pricey. Like Puppeteer and some others, the price is quite relaxed from how it was in April and May, but it’s still much higher than its previous low.
But whatever the price was, it no longer matters. It now costs a minimum of $70 or $80 for a CIB copy. And sadly, this may be just about as cheap as it gets for this title. You can grab one on eBay before prices get crazy.