The collectible video game space has seen explosive growth in 2021. Auction results have been a major catalyst for this growth. This has led collectors, investors, and speculators alike to pour money into the category. In 2021 alone, the record for most expensive video game of all time has been broken four times, with three of those sales happening at auction.
Record Breaking Video Game Sales 2021:
April 2, 2021:
Super Mario Bros. (Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed, Hangtab) sells for $660,000 on Heritage Auctions, more than tripling the previous all-time high sale of $156,000 (Super Mario Bros. 3).
July 9, 2021
The Legend of Zelda (Wata 9.0 A Sealed, No Rev-A, Round SOQ, Early Production) sells for $870,000 (Heritage Auctions).
July 11, 2021
In the same weekend as the Zelda sale, a copy of Mario 64 (Wata 9.8 A++ Sealed) sells for $1.56M (Heritage Auctions).
August 6, 2021
A copy of Super Mario Bros. (Wata 9.8 A+ Sealed, Hangtab) is sold for $2M in a private sale.
The momentum in the collectible video game space also had an impact on assets on Otis (now Public Alts).
We received three buyout offers on games in recent months, including a completed buyout offer for our copy of Halo that netted an 852% return vs. the drop, which opened less than six months before.
More recently though, the collectible video game space has faced what some might consider headwinds. In August, YouTuber Karl Jobst posted a long video accusing some in the graded video game market of malfeasance and of artificially pumping up the graded game market.
Following the Jobst video, in September/ Early October, Goldin Auctions had their first foray into video game auctions. Particularly of note was a copy of Mario 64, identical in grade to the record breaking copy sold on Heritage in July, which was sold for just under $800k. While $800k is a lot of money by nearly anyone’s standards and would have been an all-time record for a video game sale just three months prior, it is far less than the $1.56M the game previously yielded. While some experts in the space attribute the sale at this auction being only Goldin’s first foray into non-sports items, others could interpret it as a sign that the video game market is slowing from its breakneck pace earlier in the year.
For these reasons, many interested in the space are intently watching the upcoming Signature Game Auction taking place on Heritage at the end of October. Many collectors and investors feel that it will serve as a bellwether for the space. Strong results could mean that the space has continued near-term room to grow, whereas disappointing results may signal a near-term slow down or correction.
While there are a number of “blue-chip” games in the auction that will be watched closely – including a highly graded hangtab copy of Super Mario Bros. and a graded copy of the Nintendo World Championships cartridge, there is one specific game that will undoubtedly garner the most attention:
The Legend of Zelda (Wata 8.0 A Sealed, NES ™, No Rev-A, First Production)
This game, while graded lower than the record-breaking copy sold in July, is of an earlier and rarer variant, of which Heritage claims only three sealed copies are known. Given the scarcity of this copy, combined with the game’s historic significance among collectors, it’s fair to say that anything less than a significant beat of the July result would be a disappointment and might be interpreted as a slowdown in the space. Conversely, should the game eclipse $1M (or perhaps even set a new video game sales record), it could be a catalyst for additional near-term appreciation in the space.