Monday, September 27

They accuse collusion to inflate prices of retro video games | Digital Trends Spanish

The million-dollar auctions of original copies of retro games are under scrutiny. And not only because of the amounts that are being paid, but because a report accuses that behind the rise in prices in recent years there are scams and serious conflicts of interest.

The article published on YouTube by Karl Jobst accuses a group of companies of colluding to artificially inflate the prices of video games that are auctioned and thus obtain maximum dividends. One of those companies is Heritage Auctions, which runs the auctions, while the other is Wata Games, which operates as a sort of rating agency.

The latter is in charge of evaluating the status of a collectible product – in this case, a video game – and giving it a rating according to a series of criteria. According to this rating, it is the price at which the product can be sold.

Jobst accuses that the prices of retro video games began to rise progressively just after the creation of Wata Games, in 2018, as a copy of Super Mario Bros. auctioned in 2017 for $ 30,000 it was sold in April 2021 for $ 660,000 and then, in August 2021, it was sold again but now for $ 2 million.

In addition, a situation at least curious is revealed regarding the relationship between the auction house and the rating agency. One of the founders of Heritage Auctions, who is also an advisor to Wata Games, acquired in 2017 a copy of Super Mario Bros. for the sum of $ 100,000 dollars. The auction house announced the acquisition on its website as a record, also ensuring that collecting was booming and that prices would continue to rise.

The author of the report sums up the situation by saying that “the owner of an auction house buys a video game for a record price and then releases a press release about that purchase in which he quotes himself and the president of the rating agency , ensuring that the price of the games will continue to rise ”.

And if these prices go up, both companies make money. Wata Games charges a percentage that depends on the value of the qualifying video game: If a game costs $ 1 million, the company insures $ 20,000. Heritage Auctions, meanwhile, collects 20 percent of the final auction price from the buyer and 5 percent from the seller.

Both companies they have refuted the report, because they assure that they have not done anything illegal and that the accusations have no basis. But this raises serious questions to the world of collecting, which little by little begins to put aside the true collectors and their place is being taken by investors who seem to have little interest in video games as such.

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