Monday, October 24, 2011

Selling Retro Video Games, Is It Viable?

One thing I have heard from others I know, and online, is the question of, can retro video games be sold online for a profit? This is certainly an honest question. To even begin, if I did not feel it was viable I would not be doing this. I am going to try and point out why I feel this market has potential.

With the Internet, a person can download a ROM and play many of their favorite classics on their computer now. It's even possible to play many on an Android phone too. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all offer many older games for sale on their own online market. Why would someone want to buy these physical copies then? First, online distribution, while popular, has not overtaken the physical realm yet. Ask a person who wants a video game and I would place a bet that they would prefer a physical copy over a digital copy of a retro game.  What are some reasons why someone would want a physical copy?

The average age of a gamer is getting older. Some recent surveys, which I can't find right now, shows that the average age of a gamer is in their 30's. What do people have when they are in their 30's? Kids. Many parents love to share with their kids. For your kids birthday, would you rather give them a digital copy of Chrono Trigger, or the physical copy that you were able to find to buy? Everyone loves opening a present or even a box to find their treasure inside. Sure, many people will just download a digital copy of a game but many love the feeling of opening something or giving gifts.

Nostalgia can sometimes be described as rose colored glasses. Many people look back on their earlier years and remember the great times they had with their old games. Being able to have a real copy of a game is a great way to relive those moments.

Many people are collectors. To be a collector is to find original copies of games in as great as condition as possible. Would a collector take a digital copy and say they are expanding their collection? I very highly doubt. Many of these people look for bargains. It can be tough selling to these people, but not all the time.

Probably the biggest issue to overcome is exposure. Go to Ebay, Ecrater or type in Google for video game stores and see all the lists. How does one overcome this mass amount of people? My answer, persistence and quality. Be persistent and not give up and you will start to rise above others. Have quality products and this will bring referrals to you. Use twitter and other social tools to help bring in people and provide a way for people to interact with you. Have a blog, like this one! It will be slow at first but it will help. Find forums for people with relevant interests and, if possible, relay your store or blog or twitter. Do not spam people on forums as that is considered very rude.

These are all reasons that selling online can work. There are many hurdles, and I only touched on one. If you really wish to be successful, you must be willing to accept it will be very difficult at first.

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