With the upcoming re-release of EarthBound on the Wii-U console, I thought it was about time for some “real talk” with all you fan boys and retronauts interested in buying a physical copy of the SNES classic. First and foremost:
EarthBound is not a rare game.
Really, it isn’t. Not even close. Anyone who advertises it as such is a liar.
There were 140,000 copies of EarthBound sold across North America. This isn’t an especially huge number, but is large enough that you shouldn’t worry about supplies drying up any time soon. Log in to Ebay and you can peruse numerous EarthBound listings, with or without the various extras (guide, box) that came with the original game.
So why do people think the game is rare? The fact that there was never a re-release (something that is about to get remedied) has made it less accessible for the average gamer. Savvy sellers are also keen to capitalize on the overwhelming enthusiasm of the fan base; jacking up cartridge prices and hoarding copies to make complete sets.
Prices are dropping.
The good news for all the fans out there is that prices are dropping rather quickly. This has been well documented by Tomato, who has been keeping track of EB economics at his website Buy EarthBound. The average price of an EarthBound game dropped over $25 since the virtual console release was announced, down to about $175!
As news of the virtual console release propagates across the web, demand should lessen significantly. Players will realize that they have another legal option for owning the much sought-after game, and sellers will continue flooding the market with cartridges in an attempt to offload before prices drop even more. This combination of lowered demand and increased supply should have the game trending downwards for months to come.
So why not buy now?
If everyone rushes out to buy a copy of EarthB0und RIGHT NOW, just as the market is starting to soften up, it will beef up demand again and slow the price drop. This is not a good idea!
Sit tight for a bit, wait for prices to drop even more, and be smart when you do decide to buy. Bidding on a game is almost always cheaper than buying it outright, and shelling out the extra dough for a “buy it now” auction will inflate prices even more. Camp out a couple Ebay listings, submit your best bid when the times is right, and you will be duly rewarded.
So when SHOULD I buy?
If I had to guess a sweet spot for buying a copy of EarthBound, I’d probably say August 2013. I imagine prices will have dropped as much as they are going to by then, and they almost always start spiking upwards again leading up to the holiday season.
But remember, I’m not an economics expert or a master prognosticator. Do your own research and find out a timeline and a plan that works best for you. I’d love to hear any strategies you have for buying EarthBound or any other rare video game. Feel free to post them below, or email me directly.