You know, nothing makes me more happy than getting old relics of my favorite thing: Video Games. I’m not a big-time collector due to lack of space/money/time but I do my best to get everything I would like to play, along with the original hardware and the nice bells and whistles I want to own. But, how about the consoles today? Will they be as valued and satisfying to collect 10 years from now?
The rarity of a collectable is counted by how many articles where produced during the console’s life time. Consoles of the Third generation and onwards were massively produced. Hence, there are still boxed unused NES somewhere in the world being sold for more than gold. As the generations passed by, the production lines produced more units per model. That’s why the original Playstation 2 will not be a “collector’s dream” for the next decade or so.
Today the consoles are manufactured in tremendously huge bulks. The unit production is counted PER MINUTE. And the number is three-digits.
What also helps is that the Videogames have become a mainstream industry, thus the demand is almost always high.
So, in 10 years from now? Well owning a 360 or a PS3 or a Wii won’t be such an accomplisment for the pro-collectors. There will be plenty of them sealed lying on werehouses and lots, along with accesories. So, the collectibity of those hardware items will rise after the passing of 15 or 20 years from the day the production dies.
Chasing SKU’s, revisions and Special Editions
While the base console/accesories might take a long time to get their collectable value, There are some editions of the said hardware that might intrigue the collectors, even right after the death of a console.
Today’s consoles come on different flavors, called SKU’s. That model of hardware distribution started with the 360, which is a great strategy to get Xbox360 to every home, making it cheaper for players who wanted the core experience but they didn’t have the money to buy the full package.
Thus, Xbox 360 core, Xbox 360 pro and later the Xbox 360 elite were produced along with some cosmetic changes (the 360 core had white DVD-Rom drawer, the elite was all black).
Then the hardware met revisions, The Phoenix and the Jasper consoles are some of the examples. Then the Xbox360S came along which is completely different both inside and outside.
So the collectors may chase after the less produced SKU’s and revisions which is actually a hard deed. The less produced SKU I know is the Core/Phoenix 360. There aren’t many around and probably won’t because of the classic problem of Red Ring Of Death that plagued those consoles.
The PS3 has other examples. The big “toaster” revisions were massively produced and kept at 2 or 3 SKU’s without significant changes beside the one SKU that had a card reader (including CF) and could play PS2 games out of the box. That’s rare even today.
Then,there are the special editions where the PS3 surely champions. We’ve got many flavours of limited PS3 that came along with franchices in much less numbers than the 360. The only different 360 I remember was the red Resident Evil 5 one, Halo and Modern Warfare, while on top of my head I could name at least 5 Playstation 3 variations.
Those variations of course are strictly cosmetic.
The Wii also didn’t have many variations. The blue and the red one came with Sonic and Mario in Olympic Games 2012 and Super Mario 24th Anniversary but other than that I can’t remember any other limited edition. And I can’t shut up about how they missed to create a Zelda collectable treasure by creating a really limited Zelda console. Oh well.
So there ARE some things for the collectors to chase, but what are the chances of these consoles to work with the televisions of the future?
You know, It’s still a pain to hook up old consoles, even if there are various mods or the people who made them thought to use more compatible methods. Yes, you can still connect your Mega Drive (or genesis) over RCA and RGB. Your SNES or even the (toaster) NES can do the same. The Master System MK2 and the Atari 2600 won’t do the trick without modification.
Thankfully the HDMI,RCA,Component won’t go anywhere. Even the conversion to DVI or VGA is possible and easy through adaptors. So, no problem on that front unless the television/monitor technology fly very fast in terms of connection. So, rest assured that your kids (even grandkids) will enjoy some good old gaming in the future.
Something to close with
Remembering the old as a gamer may be important on how to preceive games and their hardware today. It doesn’t matter how old are you and how much of a graphics whore you are, be sure to play some classics (many top 10 can be found around the internet) and see for yourself what’s good and timeless game and console design. And yes, today’s consoles are definetly part of the history of video games. Don’t deny it because it’s true.
I’m going to play some NES. Wanna come?