Exposing Fraud And Deception In The Retro Video Game Market (Video)

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by Flamin Joe, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    5,252
    Location:
    4300
    I was going to post this in the Retro Video to Watch thread but felt it deserved a bigger exposure and it's own thread.



    Karl Jobst has just released a documentary about the shady dealings going on in game collecting which has resulted in game prices being heavily inflated allegedly by the game grading company Wata Games and the auction house Heritage Auctions. It's all alleged at the moment but the evidence is pretty damning and paints a different picture of the recent auctions we've seen such as the Super Mario 64 game which recently sold for a whopping $1.5m.

    Personally I've never cared much for game grading as it's all very eye of the beholder. Grading can just vary way too much depending on who grades it and how well a job they do. Some of the examples of the dodgy grading done by Wata Games he shows are an eye opener.

    If all true is this is digusting behaviour, we are seeing our hobby taken over by greedy individuals looking to make a quick buck and driving prices up across the board. Eventually this bubble will burst but it won't be those creating it who will suffer but the people sucked in thinking they can jump aboard the next big profit making machine.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,913
    Location:
    4109
    consumer interest + money = influx of scammers :(
     
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    45,351
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I 100% agree with everything in your post, except for this line. I don't actually think the bubble will burst at all. Greed is a pervasive human trait, and one that's lasted as long as humans have.

    I know this is a deep and complex topic, and one we discussed with no real resolution in this thread:
    https://forums.overclockers.com.au/threads/wtf-nintendo.1249185/

    And while that was about one specific company, I think it illustrates the larger problem around "fake scarcity" in a digital world. Again, all covered somewhat in that thread - DRM, copyright, re-releases, the second/third/fourth hand markets versus original content, publishers versus developers, etc, etc.

    I'm sure by now my thoughts on this are pretty obvious. I'm pro-preservation across all art forms. Lost art is good to no-one, whether lost to time and disinterest or human greed and fake scarcity. And as the slightly modified saying goes, "he who dies with the most toys, still dies".

    All of this is compounded by modern media. I read a rather funny comment the other day saying "video game history is being re-written by idiots on YouTube with a wall of boxed games behind them". And it's kind of true - while there's some excellent gonzo journalism out there, it's the exception to the rule. There are a lot of idiots with the same dozen popular games on a shelf parroting the same bullshit they heard on the school playground as "fact". These people are only further inflating that bubble, whether they intend to or not.

    I don't really see a solution long term to this. I'm thankful for groups like Sega and GOG who go out of their way to make their content available across multiple generations (hardware and human), but they are the exception to the rule.

    I also saw a little while back (can't find the news article, will keep digging) that the Japanese government is now attempting to build a controlled group to look after profits from video games where legal ownership can't be easily found. The idea is that if some group claims ownership to a dubious IP, a percentage cut of the profits go into a slush fund, and if in the distant future a group claim that they were the owners of the IP, they go after the slush fund, not the new publisher. It's a messy idea, but perhaps one that might put an end to the constant "nobody knows who owns the game" crap that stops old games seeing modern releases.

    But, as far as lumps of plastic and silicon going for stupid money, I can't see any end to that. For me, as a scientist, the irony of people claiming "original versions" of things is hilarious. Everything is a copy, whether on a ROM chip or on an SD card or hard disk. It's all ones and zeros, and it's all a valid as any other copy. What matters is the game, and the artform. Not the lump of plastic and silicon. The only way to counter greed is to not partake in it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
    callan, BurningFeetMan, adz and 4 others like this.
  4. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2016
    Messages:
    270
    Location:
    Brisbane
    This should make for interesting viewing. Will the bubble burst? I hope so. I think this like any other collectable market where collectors buy as investments hoping to sell to other collectors for a profit who hope to do the same. Obviously somebody is going to lose out eventually when they can't find a buyer who feels that the item is worth the same or more than the seller paid for it. That may be a long time from now. :(
     
  5. pwlm1975

    pwlm1975 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    802
    Location:
    Loganholme, QLD
    I find the same with Amiga and C64 hardware, going for ridiculous prices with unreliable longevity (especially the external PSUs which had a nasty habit of overheating a lot). I do think some confuse "value" with "nostalgia" and I am quite OK using emulators so I don't have to deal with scratched disks/dirty cartridge contacts/bad controller cables etc etc. At the end of the day, a product is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The issue of price inflation isn't all on the seller unfortunately.
     
  6. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    45,351
    Location:
    Brisbane
    It's everywhere. From the mainstream to the obscure. Whether you collect FM Towns Marty or DOS games, the insane asking price for "original" games (again, even originals are copies, when you think about it), is nuts.

    Hardware too of course, and there can be some forgiveness for that given that it's non-trivial to replicate it perfectly (unlike a game, which is just ones and zeros). But even then, the ludicrous pricing at the hands of people who clearly are only out to profiteer from artificial scarcity is vomit inducing.

    Thank the good lord for FPGAs and pirates. They will save us all.
     
  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    45,351
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Found it:
    https://kotaku.com/retro-game-releases-could-get-much-needed-help-in-japan-1847297027

    I doubt it will have any effect on these ridiculous prices though. I can buy excellent quality clone games from China for peanuts, and that hasn't done squat to change the current second hand market pricing.
     
  8. ndt

    ndt Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,772
    Location:
    Perth
    Man, who wasted 1.5 million dollars on Super Mario 64? that has to be a money laundering scam.
     
  9. pwlm1975

    pwlm1975 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    802
    Location:
    Loganholme, QLD
    Who proved it was genuine anyway? Was it certified? What made it unique? It sounds like fake inflation like when real estate agents say "this site is really selling out fast" when it isn't and it's a shithole (I'm looking at you, Ripley in Ipswich) just to enhance competition amongst stoopids and drive prices higher.
     
    JSmithDTV likes this.
  10. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    9,143
    Location:
    Algol, Perseus
    Anything old, collectable and rare is subject to this same set of events... unfortunately it is inevitable.
    Agree... many humans are shit.



    JSmith
     
    pwlm1975 likes this.
  11. pwlm1975

    pwlm1975 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    802
    Location:
    Loganholme, QLD
    So was Thanos before Endgame :leet:

    Money laundering sounds like it might be a realistic possibility. Easy way to pass money into a legitimate business and then it's up to the business (or their bank) to do its own AML checks.
     
    JSmithDTV likes this.
  12. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,347
    Location:
    brisbane
    grading companies and auction houses have been doing this shit for years. not just with games.

    filed under things "not worth that much"

    stamps
    bottles of plonk
    coins
    etc, etc.
     
  13. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    9,143
    Location:
    Algol, Perseus
  14. pwlm1975

    pwlm1975 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    802
    Location:
    Loganholme, QLD
    ... or download it from any one of multiple Google searches for zip.
     
  15. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,347
    Location:
    brisbane
    the fact that a download exists isn't really the point of the video.
     
  16. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2001
    Messages:
    6,590
    Location:
    2650
    Wow, just watched right through the video. Excellent work.
     
    Flamin Joe and pwlm1975 like this.
  17. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Sydney
    For many people money is the only thing that matters. I was interested in personal finance and started watching some videos online and was very surprised by the fact that huge names in self-help and personal finance like Gary Vaynerchuk advocate video game reselling and investing in things like Pokemon Cards with a potential to "grow". An example of an Australian YouTuber who talks about this from time to time is Ravi Sharma, but more about Pokemon cards than video games and he is not that huge.

    Edit: what I mean is that not only wata etc influence the market, but also a ton of people who don’t care about games at all, it’s just another asset with a potential for them, because they heard it’s a market with stable growth. For them it’s like dogecoin or something like this and they happily sell/buy to/from each other with no intention to play or even collect.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    45,351
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I mean, cryptocurrency is literally the epitome of "useless thing deemed valuable purely by market demand". And despite its sheer philosophical stupidity, look at where that landed.

    Greed isn't going to vanish any time soon. You can always bank on that.
     
    rugger and power like this.
  19. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2019
    Messages:
    1,454
    Location:
    Sydney
    Just finished watching. No hyperbole - that is pretty explosive stuff. Excellent investigation.

    I think the takeaway for us little guys, is just let the greed play out. It sucks that people like this have latched onto our particular hobby, but it doesn't affect our ability to access and play the games.

    If you are a physical collector, well it's a terrible time to have not collected everything you wanted already. But the bubble will likely burst, so just sit on the sidelines for a couple of years.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
    Flamin Joe likes this.
  20. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,913
    Location:
    4109
    Just finished watching this. damn, what a bunch of crooks.
    hope this exposure causes these pricks to lose a ton of cash

    edit - its even worse than you could imagine
     
    Flamin Joe likes this.

Share This Page

Advertisement: