Earn money with gaming collections

The market for used game cartridges can be considered closed and for the generation who started playing on consoles, these items are highly collectable.
Since gaming cartridges are no longer being released the used market is the only way for collectors or nostalgic fans to acquire their beloved games.

Consoles are also very collectable: NES, SuperNes, Gamebody, Nintendo 64 and, of course, Sega Master System and Megadrive.

How to profit from this closed market

In any market where there is no supply but still some demand, however small, there’s still money to be made. Just try these days to get SuperMetroid on Super Nes: the average cost is about $50 not including shipping fees from Amazon, $60 not including shipping fees from Ebay and the other sources are even more expensive. The imports on the Japanese version may exceed $150...
The trick is to find something that’s both in demand and rare. Collectors are very fond of very rare items like the blister pack games or special editions (even for recent games).

To profit from this market there are two options:

  • Creating artificial scarcity for a requested item
  • Finding inexpensive games to resell

Creating scarcity

As soon as demand for a game becomes apparent (comments on forums, low Google search results, very high prices), that’s the ideal time to buy the few copies available in order to subsequently resell them for a higher price. The tip is to artificially create competition between your game sales by posting on different platforms and by offering different sale prices.
This kind of activity may be morally suspect but it really reflects what happens on the stock market or the raw materials market. The potential risk is that you may yourself with unsold games on your hands if someone else is doing the same thing or if they find a niche market as explained below.

Finding inexpensive games

The best way is to rummage through old attics or other second-hand fairs organized near you. Sellers don’t know the value of cartridges and are willing to part with them without batting an eyelash for a ridiculous price. You can even buy a complete collection in order to exchange them later for games with higher market value.
Another option is to participate in retro games forums. Join a community and then privately ask members if they have any old games in their attic available to trade or sell. You can also find inexpensive games at auction houses or online auctions in your area...
You can wait for prices to fall before buying them and then reseller them at a higher price later just like any good speculator.

A fans’ market

In addition to collectors who seek out high-demand or well-preserved games, there are also a great many fans who want to find games that they played when they were younger. Try to pinpoint those sites selling used games that appear at the top of internet search results because that’s where buyers will go first. Offer them the most popular retro games (Zelda, Street Fighter, Sonic,...).
This kind of activity is not recommended if you’re not a fan. While the earnings are not phenomenal but there’s still some money to be made.

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