Game Reprints – Good or Bad For Collecting?

 I have just finished reading one of the most interesting gaming articles I’ve read in the last month or so. Siliconera’s “The Business of Reprints” discusses a new company that legally reprints rare games. It involves a hot topic among game collectors as it benefits gamers that missed out on some high-quality, rare games, but skews the economics of game values.

From the article’s introduction (I added links):

“Ever wondered how brand new copies of Rez, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Gitaroo Man, Persona 2 and Resident Evil 3 for Gamecube just popped up out of nowhere? The story starts with a company called Game Quest Direct. Originally, Game Quest Direct had a chain of video game stores nationwide, but they consolidated their retail locations just in Southern California. Instead of just being another video game store and try to compete with the likes of Best Buy, Gamestop and Walmart Game Quest Direct decided to restructure their company. Aim for the hardcore gamer and use the internet as way to reach them. Their online inventory began with the usual offerings, new copies of Grand Theft Auto and the latest releases at slim discounts.”

The company went on to negotiate deals to republish a number of games that are in-demand on eBay. As both a gaming and business geek, I find this article compelling from many angles. I can appreciate the fact that game collectors pride themself on owning a rare game that goes for over $100 on eBay. But at the same time, I want gamers of all income levels to be able to play all the best games.

It seems to be a good compromise if the company would distinguish the reprints somehow (like a small logo on the back) so the original prints would maintain their value. However, if this was done, there would not be much of an incentive for GQD to reprint them. If they sold reprints that were distinguishable, they would have to mention that on their eBay listings. If they buyer noticed it, they would most likely not pay as much for it. Because of the cost in negotiating with the game companies and going through the reprinting process, Game Quest Direct can only make a good profit if they sell the reprints for close to what the originals are worth. It’s quite a dillema.

It’s also interesting to note the final part of the article (I added links):

“What’s next in 2006 for the publisher/retailer? Recently they purchased the now defunct Working Designs’ remaining inventory. Copies of Growlanser: Generations Deluxe Edition, and Silhouette Mirage can be picked up. What’s really surprising is a number of extremely rare titles like Sega Ages for the Saturn, Exile, and Cosmic Fantasy 2 for Turbo Graphix 16. They’re currently in talks with Square-Enix, Atari and Konami for more reprints. It’s possible that reprints of Valkyrie Profile, Ikaruga and Suikoden II may pop up eventually. Collectors take note, Game Quest Direct said that any they would try to reprint any game that goes on eBay for over $100. On the bright side a second chance to check out gaming glory benefits a large number of gamers out there.”

It looks as if they are looking towards bring back some titles from other systems. The idea of “any game… over $100” opens up a lot of interesting possibilities. My fellow Saturn fanatics would surely appreciate a cheaper copy of Radiant Silvergun or Keio Yuugekitai Katsugekihen. Although, some will argue, that’s what modchips are for 🙂

Anyway, its a great article and a facsinating topic, so I really recommend you read the whole thing

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