VG Tribune

Will EarthBound on VC Cause a Price Drop?

July 20, 2013 / 1:38 AM

By: Zack O'Neill


With EarthBound finally being released on the Wii U virtual console, a question has been on the minds of many collectors and fans of the series: Will the price of the EarthBound cartridge finally begin to go down?

And it’s a question that may need some research to actually answer decently. Right now, according to Video Game Price Charting, the loose cartridge is worth $175.36, while its worth $414.68 complete in box. The game is so expensive because it is in such high demand all the time, as well as the supposed poor sales of the game in North America. According to EarthBound Central, the game sold 140,000 units in North America. Those are not very good sales figures at all.

At the time that EarthBound hit the shelves, pricing for games was struggling a little, causing different games to have massively different prices as they were released. The price for EarthBound even then was not pretty.

Game catalog

Yikes, a new game priced at $90. This, paired with the very strange advertising campaign the game had can certainly give you an idea of why it did so poorly when it went on sale. The game also came with a player’s guide bundled in the box with it, which is likely a reason as to why it’s one of the most expensive things on that page. You’ll rarely find that guide anywhere now for under $100, which just adds to the insane price of the game.

EarthBound is not a “rare” game by any means, it sold poorly and nothing more, the price jumps so high because of the huge demand for it and the common belief that it is rare. The fact is that it is a collector’s item, which doesn’t automatically make it rare, it just means that it’s valuable, and value is subjective. To truly get a look at how value changes after games are re-released on different consoles, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly known valuable games on SNES with information from Video Game Price Charting.

Final Fantasy III, (really FF VI) released on SNES in 1994, about half a year before EarthBound, goes right now for $43.35. The game was remade for Gameboy Advance and released in February 2007, it generally stayed at about the same price until August of that same year, when the price began to change every month since. When the game was re-released on Virtual Console in June 2011, the price for the SNES cart slowly began to lower, before shooting back up when the holiday season came around.

Final fantasy III price

Chrono Trigger has had too many re-releases to even list off, so to save time, I’ll be showing two. While the game currently goes for $86.90 for the loose cart, the game was re-released on Nintendo DS in November 2008, and it was going for around $38 at that time. After the release of the DS version, the price slowly rose and varied until its Virtual Console release in May 2011, after which, the price shook around for a bit before rocketing up to where it is now.

Chrono Trigger price

So if those two cases are evidence in any way, it shows that EarthBound’s price will eventually skyrocket even higher. The problem with that idea, though, is that it will only go as high as people are willing to pay for it. If the consumer has the option to play the game at a lower price, legally, they are more likely to choose that option. With the price on Virtual Console being $9.99, people are much more likely to buy on the Wii U rather than the Super Nintendo if they have access to a Wii U.

Both of the example games that I gave above still have prices below $100, and in most cases, people wouldn’t pay $100 for a game that released 20 years ago. I can see the price dropping if more people begin to buy on Wii U, but not for a while, as it’s likely to stay stable for a few months at least.

The real question is what will happen with the Player’s Guide. With the price of it being so high, and Nintendo releasing it for everyone to read on the new official EarthBound website, it’s a mystery as to what will happen to the price. There hasn’t really been an instance in the past of a game developer re-releasing an official player’s guide in digital format, so there isn’t much to compare it to.

At this point, there really is no way to tell what will happen to the prices of EarthBound or the Player’s Guide, so we’ll just have to wait and see. What do you guys think will happen to the price? Leave your ideas and reasoning in the comments.

About the author /

Zack started working at VGTribune at 15 years old and has been gaming since the the age of 2. He is currently in college studying film and technology with plans to continue in the game industry. He’s also really good at Counter Strike.

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  1. Prince of Corn Flakes

    Personally, I think it is bullshit that a game that sold poorly almost 20 years ago is now three times more
    expensive than games like Ocarina of Time, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong Country series, Chrono Trigger, etc. I have never played Earthbound but I just recently got into it, boy what a bad time for that, huh?
    I have seen screenshots of the game and know about the storylines, but I dont see how this game is so great that it carries that insane price tag. And every crook who sells it for that price ought to be ashamed.
    Even Nintendo knows that this game isnt worth $200 or more, like you said, they just released it on the VC for 10 FREAKING DOLLARS! Ridiculous. I agree with you though, I think the SNES Earthbound prices will soar even higher and only incredibly stupid or rich people will spend that kind of money on a game that just isnt worth that price. Super Mario RPG is much better and I only spent $60 on it last year!!

  2. Prince of Corn Flakes

    By the way, was there seriously some dipshit trying to sell Earthbound for nearly $20,000?
    If so, he ought to be shot

  3. Prince of Corn Flakes

    Ah sorry, that was combined price of all the carts on there.
    But still, almost $700 for a cart of Earthbound, that’s total overkill

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