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Sealed games... condition/grade and its correlation with value vs other hobbies...

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For some reason, in my mind, I always thought that condition wouldn't matter as much with sealed games as it does in other hobbies. With baseball cards or comics, the condition/grade is more the ACTUAL object. In sealed games it's just the seal and the box, not the actual game itself. I realize it's kinda semantics or whathaveyou, but when the sealed game hobby was just blossoming I always assumed the condition wouldn't matter as much as it does for cards, comics, or coins. 

Comics and cards are almost valued higher exponentially as the grade goes up, especially in the uber high grades. Do you think this rule will hold true for sealed games in the future or will the differences in value not be as large?

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Honestly, it's always been this way with games (i.e. condition is paramount), just that it was a small set of collectors in the hobby at the time.

A bit of a throwback, sealed game collecting really took off around 2005, back then there were some major players in the market gobbling the absolute best condition copy of iconic games for every platform. The problem is, back then no one except those collectors cared, but the premium was always there and bidding wars were waged. At the time for record prices, though nowadays would be considered dirt cheap.

This was mainly for NES and Atari, but shifted to SNES and Sega. Then at around 2010 or so, VGA came onto the scene and solicited some of these old time collectors for advice. People were paying in the 4 figures for the high "Grade" items even at 2010-2013 levels. Raw copies of sealed games were abundant, and low condition copies would sell for 10x-20x less than high grade or mint sealed copies. 

This is the history most people miss, because the sealed game hobby was that small, and NO ONE cared. Everything then changed at ~ 2018 when Wata decided to partner with Heritage. Another piece of history everyone seemed to miss is that Wata was tanking when they started, all the old collectors preferred VGA, mainly citing the look of the new case. It wasn't until new money and exposure from Heritage that changed the game completely.

But I digress, back to your topic, it's no different than action figures, I would liken this to action figures and toys a lot more than to comics or cards. The grade on the action figure is not just for the toy inside, it's the box and the plastic casing, as is with games because it is a multi component product. The condition of the cart/CD is important, but only in CIB/Qualified grades. Everyone assumes the inside contents of a sealed game to be mint, if the outside of the box is mint - even if it isn't necessarily true.

Edited by Amermoe
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Condition of anything is a direct correlation with prices, where items were mass produced but no longer still in production. You can apply this rule to not just video games as a whole, but any subgroup of video games be it loose cart, CIB, BNIB or sealed games. 

I think a lot of people are confused regarding the WATA graded games, thinking that it’s the WATA name that causes the item to raise in value, when in fact it is more the rarity of the item plus its actual condition. Amermoe is spot on, people have been paying premium prices for some high condition games many years before WATA had existed. My personal example, was me purchasing a graded Pal sealed Mario 64 VGA90 for $4000AUD. I bought this 4 years ago and perhaps arguable if the price then was justified, but the point being, before WATA and way back in early 2010s, people were definitely paying premium prices for high-end condition sealed games.

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2 hours ago, Luciobar1980 said:

Hmm, interesting. I guess for me, for some reason, a small difference in grade for a sealed game means even less than it does to me for cards or comics. 

Yeah, at least for cards and comics the condition difference is of the actual item; with sealed video games, every item of a graded game is hidden except for the outer box and the cellophane, and one of those two isn't even the actual item!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The way I see it is that comics are graded in a similar manner to, let's say, a CIB toy or game. In both cases the grader has to make sure that everything is consistent with what every other version should have. And like with CIB games that have been graded, there are cases that variations do apply as long as the main portions are there.

And with sealed games, and other gradable sealed items, it is more like a collectible card. There can be some type of hidden feature, but it is best to find one that was already revealed if there is plans to preserve the on on hand. Many will not like it just because it goes against their means of collecting, but in the end it is not their collectible.

As with condition, I have found that higher prices do not always equate to better condition. And the recent times I have seen it be the case, all I can say is that it makes me worried that condition will eventually trump rarity, etc. With reasons tied to why I am shifting focus on having any games I do allow in my collection to be graded by Wata.

But in the end it goes back to my firs two paragraphs. With hope that "condition > rarity/etc." ends up being a phase people who want to be serious about collecting phase out. Because the only thing more asinine that that to me is the whole "comic book speculation" nonsense that helped speed up my need to collect those again. 😑

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