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Do official sales figures always correspond to rarity?

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Some games have very low sales numbers. Does that necessarily mean they are rare? 

I think sometimes publishers may sometimes anticipate a game to be a Blockbuster hit and they prepare by manufacturing tons of copies of a game. Then if it happens to flop, they are left with tons of unsold stock.

Those unsold copies end up getting liquidated to liquidation distributors. When a publisher sells games to a liquidator, do those games count in their official sales figures? 

Example, Megaman Command Mission was a flop. I have read that it sold less than 10k copies worldwide. I don’t know if that’s for all platforms or just on GameCube. However, I remember them promoting the heck out of this game when it was coming out. I’m sure they made tons more than 10k copies as you can find it pretty much anywhere for cheap very easily. I know liquidators like Dealtavern were selling it some time ago.

Another example would be Metroid Other M. It sold well, but for a 1st party game it was a flop. I have seen people selling this game by the unopened case several times at flea markets for around $5 a copy. Were all of these copies being liquidated accounted for in official sales numbers?

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Yes, if it leaves the warehouse, it's a sale whether or not Wal-Mart sells the copies is irrelevant but if it gets shipped back to the warehouse as unsold stock, it negatively impacts the sales numbers. If Wal-Mart dumps them into liquidation themselves, the manufacturer doesn't change any numbers, they're already sold.

I just want to make sure people also understand the difference between rarity and value. Games like Chrono Trigger, Earthbound and Ducktales 2 are valuable but certainly aren't rare. Little Samson wouldn't be nearly as valuable as it is if it weren't a great game. There are many other games released around the same time that are less than half the value.

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I agree with Code Monkey.  I think, by definition, the less copies of a game there are the rarer it is.  

However, rarity doesn’t necessarily equate value.  Limited Run Games entire business model is based on creating scarcity (which basically equals rarity in my mind).  Their games sale for around $30 - $40.  That’s about half price of a complete Contra for NES, or pick whatever other example you want of an extremely common but well liked game.

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It's a real shame that for a lot of games, especially from the golden 8 and 16 bit eras, we don't even have the true sales figures and/or production numbers.

I'm sure we'd all get a few surprises on some games if we actually had those numbers, and it would be amazing from a historical perspective to have them! I wonder if there's a dusty old filing cabinet somewhere in the back offices of NOA with the treasure trove of sales figures, just waiting to be unearthed, or perhaps guarded jealously by Doug Bowser himself! 

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