Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Life Cycle of Used Video Games

By the end of 2014, I was looking for extra ways to pull in some money and see if I could turn it into an operation. In the past, I've found money and offers just lying around, but nothing was ever a permanent thing. I had a few Nintendo 64 games lying around and I had no intention of buying another Nintendo 64 so I decided to just list them for sale on Amazon.

The thing was though, I was really attached to my old games. As a kid, I spent countless hours playing Pokémon Stadium 2 and The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask. Still, I'd rather have the cash so I decided to list the games on Amazon at overpriced levels. At the time, both games had a low price on Amazon of about $20 to $25. I decided to list the games at $50.

In 2015, to my surprise, both games sold and I got my asking price of $50. I was surprised because the low price, at the time the games sold was only about $30 to $40. It was a rare instance where demand actually met my price.

After selling these two games, I decided to list whatever game I had at overpriced levels to see if demand would catch up to my value. Quite recently, I sold the original red version of Pokémon for $50. This was very shocking considering the game is 20 years old and only cost $25 brand new in 1996. I like to joke that Pokémon beat out the Dow Jones Industrial Average but apparently I did beat out the DJIA by getting $50 for it.

After I sold Pokémon, I was surprised to find out that I could sell the Nintendo 64 expansion pak for $20 and the Nintendo 64. Even more silly was that two days ago, I sold the instruction booklet for Pokémon Stadium 2 for $20.

After selling a few products online, I had to ponder if buying and selling used video games might provide a good business idea. Over the last few years, I've noticed that the price of video games follows a particular cycle.

When a Triple A title comes out, it usually sells for $45 to $50 (home console) or $25 to $30 (handheld). For some reason, these prices don't really change. I remember new PlayStation games from 1998 went for $50 and today new PlayStation 3 games go for $50. For the first week, there will be some people that buy a new game and then return it because they don't like it. The game is used but it will still sell for $40 to $45 because the game was just released.

After a few months, or a year after the release date, the price may drop down to $25 to $35. Everyone who really wanted the game on release date or close to release date probably already played or owned it. More casual gamers or people less interested in the title will pick up the game when the price drops.

The next big price cut comes along when a new generation of home consoles gets released. When this happens, the price of the game can drop down to $10 to $20. This is one of the best times for gamers to catch up on all the different titles they thought were cool years earlier but didn't want to purchase because they were to expensive.

After 5, 6, 7, 8 and more years after the release date, all the copies will be used copies. Depending on the title, you can probably pick up the game for as cheap as $5.

After this point in time, a number of factors can change what the price will do. One thing I've noticed about the video game market is that games will not be published forever. Typically, when a gaming console doesn't get sold or supported anymore, the games for that system will no longer be made. Digital versions of the game could still be available via services like the PlayStation and Nintendo Store however physical copies will no longer be made. It is here where there is a niche market for people who like physical copies.

People who want to experience and play these great games from their childhoods may want a physical copy and will pay a premium to get it.

Since I've seen this cycle play out for the last 10 years, I've been making a habit to drive over to GameStop and pick up all the cool games I never bought from 2006 and 2007. I picked up a copy of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood for $3. After that point, it is just a matter of playing the waiting game to see what the lowest price on Amazon is in the next 5 years and seeing what someone will pay for it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What would it be like to go to war? Actually we are in three.

I frequently consume news and media that say that the world is falling apart and that doomsday is always around the corner. Different opinions state that as a country's economic condition continue to worsen, the leaders in charge will try to go to war for any reason just to distract the public.

For a moment, I had to think about what it would be like if America would be drawn into war... but then I realized that America is already in a war. Actually, we are in multiple wars. Then I wondered, how many wars were we involved in?

As far as I understood things, America was in war with Afghanistan ever since 2001. Then we went to war with Iraq in 2003 for some reason. After that, some country named Yemen was involved and the country Pakistan gets thrown around for whatever reason. How many wars were we currently fighting?

A quick search of Wikipedia gave the answer. It was 3.

Currently, we are involved in the War in North-West Pakistan. I have no idea what the reason is.
The War in Afghanistan actually ended in 2014 which is great but then another War in Afghanistan started in 2015. The Iraq War ended in 2011. I guess it ended because we killed Osama. But I think that just led into the War on ISIL in 2014.

To the average civilian, war is just so normal it is a way of life. It is normal because we aren't the ones that are fighting it. When I was younger, I always thought of war being the same as WWII or the Vietnam War. The war would always be on tv, myself and my peers would be drafted, supplies would be scarce so everyone had to make do with less and contribute to the war effort. At least, that was my perception of what war would be like.

The biggest reason why most civilians don't think about war is that there is no draft. Without being personally affected or knowing a loved one that is actually fighting, the only way we actually know what is happening is through the news. And of course, there is every other thing on Netflix, Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit that is competing for the average Joe's attention.

As far as I know, there is no resolution to the conflicts happening in the Middle East. I don't even know why and for what reason we are fighting there. Back in 2001, we entered these wars just to get revenge on terrorists. Other opinions state that the 2001 attacks were an inside job and that the federal government just wanted an excuse to strip the average citizen of his rights, privacy, and wealth. Some people believe that we have to bully the other countries and protect the petrodollar. If that we the case, I wish our leaders would just admit that.

I just wish they would bring our guys back home. I'd like it if we stopped spending money trying to fix the rest of the world's problems and just focus on defense. A foreign isolationist policy would probably be the best thing for America.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Girls and Chocolate Fondue

Game is one topic I won't ever really write about. I can't imagine I could contribute anything that hasn't been said already by someone else. The last time I even took a woman out for dinner was sometime in 2014. However I do remember that when I was seeing a woman, we spent a lot of time eating different things at different restaurants. Admittedly, it gets really boring really fast. However, I did have a good idea once.

A friend of mine used to work at a place called the Melting Pot which was known for hot pots and chocolate fondue. While I'd never go there myself, it was worth my while if I had a girl of the Asian persuasion there.

A few years back, was involved with this girl named Julia and I really wanted to do something to encourage cooperation and engagement. Chocolate fondue seemed like a good opportunity to do this because you and the girl can feed each other chocolate dipped berries and marshmallows using the skewers. This can also lead to some funny moments if either person drops the food or misses the other person's mouth. The best opportunity for cooperation can occur when you and the girl can feed each other pieces of fruit at the same time. As an extra bonus, the place I went to served chocolate fondue with the Yin and Yang option. Half of the pot will be regular chocolate while the other half will be white chocolate. To do something to her on the subconscious level, I dipped most of the fruit I fed to her in the white chocolate.

This engagement didn't take very long. When I entered the place with her, I was only interested in getting the desert. After about 45 minutes, I got the bill and it only came out to be about $17.

If this option isn't readily available, the next best option I could think of is a sushi place. The same could be done using the chopsticks.