Suit against video game rating service Wata alleges price manipulation of retro games

How reported by VGC, collectible rating service Wata is facing class action for allegedly conspiring with Heritage Auctions to increase the value of rare video games. Wata and Heritage deny any wrongdoing.

Rating services like Wata assess the condition of mint video games and assign them a rating based on that physical condition. Games are then sealed in a clear plastic box for preservation with the rating clearly displayed.

By communicating with the rival VGA rating service to search our rundown of the rarest collectible PC gamesa company representative claimed that “our company does not provide any type of valuation service and the market value is determined by the video game community”.

In recent years, the prices of collectible games have skyrocketed. In 2017, a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. sold for $30,000 at auction, the most anyone had ever paid for a copy of a video game so far. This sale also took place before Wata started operating.

Between 2019 and late 2021, Wata-rated games sold at Heritage Auctions broke the most expensive video game record has sold six times in a row:

  • February 2019: Super Mario Bros., $100,150
  • July 2020: Super Mario Bros., $114,000
  • November 2020: Super Mario Bros. 3, $156,000
  • April 2021: Super Mario Bros., $660,000
  • July 2021: The Legend of Zelda, $870,000
  • July 2021: Super Mario 64, $1.56 million

This last record has already been broken by the $2 million sale of a Wata copy of Super Mario Bros. on the Rally website.

The class action alleges that Heritage and Wata coordinated media appearances and press releases to raise prices for collectible games, with Heritage receiving a share of the successful sales and Wata’s fee for its services being proportionate to the estimated price of one. match.

Likewise, in September 2021, journalist Seth Abramson claimed that Wata co-founder Mark Haspel was selling a significant volume of Wata-rated games through eBay. Abramson’s original Substack post appears to have been removed, but VGC and Gamesindustry.bizcoverage of your claims remain live. If Haspel was indeed selling Wata games, his actions directly contradict Wata president Deniz Khan’s statements when New York Times that company employees would not personally sell Wata-rated games due to the potential conflict of interest.

The expensive items in the overheated collectible game market are mostly classic console releases, but as we noted in our report on rare big box gamesthings are getting pretty crazy on the PC side too.

Last: Escape From Mt. Drash has one of the best claims to the rarest PC game title of all time, being a cassette-based entry in a popular series with extremely limited original retail distribution. One copy sold for $9,002 in 2017 before the current market developed, and no new copies have been on sale since.

Last December, a DOS copy of the original John Madden Football sold for a staggering $25,000 on eBay, and PC collectibles are regularly selling for over $1,000 at auction — an extreme rarity, according to Joel. McCoy, administrator of Big Box PC game collectors group on Facebook.

Fortunately, the Current situation around NFTs and cryptocurrencies shows us that aggressive overvaluation of assets like this could Never fall apart catastrophically and take people with it – the line just keeps going up and up.

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