Anyone remember Xenoblade Chronicles? The amazing RPG that kickstarted Operation Rainfall in the U.S is still a major title for the Nintendo Wii, but it is also now a collector’s item. The small print run of Xenoblade Chronicles has opened it up to be major collectors item for the United States, one that is netting premium pricing anywhere you turn.
This, of course, includes Gamestop. Today, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reported that Xenoblade Chronicles has somehow popped into existence in Gamestop once again, almost en masse, as several Gamestops have suddenly gotten a resupply of used versions of Xenoblade to sell. If, of course, you want to shell out the $90.00 charge fee for the used copy, which is what Gamestop is asking for.
Schreier’s article contained a tone of bewilderment to the asking price, and in one paragraph accuses Gamestop of price gouging, due to being the only retailer allowed to carry the title. While the sudden showcase of Xenoblade titles is a tad unusual (my guess, they were leftover stock they wanted to sell off), the price itself is actually not. In fact, I would hazard a guess that is the cheapest version of Xenoblade Chronicles you can find, save for an odd buyer on Ebay.
In fact, looking at Ebay and Amazon, the secondary market has already designated a markup of around $90-$100 for used and new copies of Xenoblade Chronicles, and the game is barely a year old. The cheapest copy on Amazon nets $97.000 unsealed, and $150.00 for a shrink-wrapped copy. Ebay has copies ranging from $150-$300 sealed, with unwrapped used copies over $100 on average.
Gamestop has done similar moves in the past as well. Marvel vs Capcom 2 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox were, for nearly ten years, $89.99 until the HD re-release on the 360 and PS3 finally quelled fan demand for a console version of the game. Ico is another example, reaching the lofty heights of $49.99 used at a time. And of course, most Nintendo games never creep below $34.99 used unless they are part of the Gamer’s Choice series. Most of these moves are due to rarity and demand.
So why the outcry, or even the accusation, of Gamestop curbing the market for following basic economic laws? I don’t know. What Gamestop is doing is simple supply and demand. Xenoblade is already a collectors item, so Gamestop is charging bare minimum people are willing to pay based on online prices. The prices are only going to climb higher, unless a re-release of Xenoblade is being made for the Wii U, which is unlikely.