Are Complete In-Box Video Games Worth Selling?

by Lauren Sisselman

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Much like collecting comics, the closer to mint an item is, the more money it will likely fetch. But what about complete in-box video games that were opened? Like comics, surely there are more video games out there that were loved by their owners that still have value, right?

Right now, graded video games are hot — especially factory-sealed games. Look at any major auction house’s last few events and you’ll see an almost common trend; graded, factory-sealed games, almost always go for big money. Even ungraded factory-sealed games are going for (what I like to call) dumb money on eBay. But what about complete in-box games? Are those being overlooked as well? Are the games we lovingly played with as kids to be scoffed at for not being collector quality?

From my own research…

I found that the main auction houses tend to shy away from selling complete in-box games. CIB games should not be overlooked, and could very well be the next wave in this collectors market. Auction houses are here to make money, so why not celebrate CIB games as they do factory sealed? Finding data on CIB games can be a little more challenging, but let’s see what the last two years have had in store for CIB games.

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In May of 2020, Comic Connect sold a Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back WATA 9.4 game for $300. In April of 2022, a CIB WATA 9.6 Pokemon Gold Version sold for $840 on Heritage. September of 2001 saw a WATA 8.0 CIB copy of X-Men: Mutant Apocolypse sell for $210 on Comic Connect. In December of 2021, a WATA 9.0 Adventure Island was sold on Heritage for $228. In June of 2022, a CIB WATA 6.5 Pokemon Silver Edition sold for $699 on eBay.

An ungraded CIB copy of Contra for the Nintendo Entertainment System ended at $250 in May of 2022 on eBay, while an ungraded CIB copy of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out for the NES ended at $710 in May of 2022. A complete in-box Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo sold for $434.19 in June of 2022, while a similar copy ended at $674.95 just mere days before.

The Cost of Grading

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We also need to think about the grading cost, which usually falls in the ballpark range of $80. On top of that, most auction houses take at least a 10% cut. By looking at the above prices alone, chances are not in your favor of making money at a big auction house if you’re selling a factory-sealed game.

Platforms such as eBay seem to be more forgiving and a better option for CIB sellers, but it also depends on the game’s platform. Older games usually yield more money, while newer games may not. This is still a new market, so things can change at a rapid pace. But if you want to remain up to date with collectors and pull as many eyes in as possible, do not leave money on the table. In a few years, the market could turn to favor CIB games as they might become more affordable and easier to come by than factory-sealed games. If you’re looking for long-term potential, this could be it.

At the end of the day, there’s no wrong way to collect. Graded or not, this is a fascinating market that has been exploding over the last two years. Will this market eventually pop? Who knows; I certainly hope it continues to thrive!

Want more video game spec?

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*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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