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Poll: Your Thoughts on Flipping Videogames

The Ethics of Flipping Videogames  

83 members have voted

  1. 1. When is it okay to flip videogames?

    • Always. If you legally bought something, you should be able to sell it for whatever you can get.
      42
    • Sometimes. It's complicated.
      28
    • Never. Flipping is a practice that threatens the hobby.
      13


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From my perspective, there is nothing wrong with that kind of reselling. You are putting in an honest effort of time and knowledge to run a small business that supports your hobby and your lifestyle. It's the flippers who literally sit on Ebay all day and at times relist items they don't even have in hand using the same photos from the auction they just purchased that annoy me and frankly cause the most damage to other collectors in my opinion. Those are the lowest of the low I was referring to as all they do is create a situation where collectors must pay them additional money for something they could have purchased themselves for far less just moments earlier. Any other reselling in my opinion is perfectly fine.

 

...and while there are a few I can think of that are exceptions... many of those people are new to it, and don't last because they thought it was going to be "easy money" and the illusion and their practices get the better of them.

 

 

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I choose option 1.

 

You own it? You found a buyer who's willing to pay your inflated price? It's your lucky day pal, enjoy it.

 

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't find the practice distasteful, especially when the game is flipped mere weeks (or even days) after the purchase. But hey, I find paying taxes distasteful, considering how taxpayer money is squandered by all levels of government in pretty much every country on Earth, but you won't see me going to war over it.

 

Nice response, Pixelboy. It sums up my feelings as well (particularly the taxes part :P ).

 

-Rob

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The title and the poll don't totally match...

"If you legally bought something, you should be able to sell it for whatever you can get"

 

The above is true...

But has nothing to do with whether or not it is "ethical".. ;-)

 

desiv

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The title and the poll don't totally match...

"If you legally bought something, you should be able to sell it for whatever you can get"

 

The above is true...

But has nothing to do with whether or not it is "ethical".. ;-)

 

desiv

 

Right. While I was creating the poll, I realized that people who answered "Always" would not see this as an ethical issue. The ethics come in with the other two options.

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It's great if you like paying more for for the hobby you love and seeing people make profit from it.

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I know that there is a significant amount of "wild" finds yet to be had. That said, one aspect that many don't factor in the increase of some titles is the shipping, and selling-venue fees (eBay, Amazon, etc). Not in all cases but often enough to make the prices go up, a title that is popular, purchased online used for $17 + $5 shipping, then resold by little Jimmy a few months later for $22 or $25 to cover his postage originally spent and eBay fees, starts to really increase a popular title's perceived marketplace value over time. After a few years something that is not rare but is exchanging hands allot goes up a bit at a time due to this. That's one of the reasons I feel that for example Mario titles, will tend to increase so much over time. I thought this often observed, but never mentioned facet would add to this discussion. What do you think?

 

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I am similiar to golden axe. I Collect first and resell later. Basically I ONLY pay resale value for any game I own unless it is super rare and/or I want it bad. When I'm out hunting I look for any deal. I come home and if I don't have it I keep it. If I do have it I compare condition and sell the lesser. I see no problem w/any type of reselling personally. I personally don't buy and resell off ebay or buy and resell homebrews but I do not see a problem with it. I would also like to mention this is not my job, I work 40 hrs a week.

 

As far as ebay if someone posted a snes starfox for $10 bin and well it happened to be a comp cart you bet your ass I'm buying it regardless if I own the game or not. The way I look at yardsales, ebay, and what not is this way: Everyone has the same information I can access therefore if you sell your stuff for next to nothing that it is your own fault. Granted being in the hobby gives me a greater advantage over many but thats the same for anything.

 

As far as stuff like buying limited release games and scalping later, well that is somewhat annoying if you want the item but fact is it's "limited" if you didn't get it soon as it was released your going to pay a premium regardless of who sells it. Thats just how it is, the early bird gets the worm.

 

Now homebrews being released in limited quantities blows my mind. Why??? Seriously do you people who make homebrews not want toi make $$ or what? I can understand doing a 1st print numbered run for collecting and what not but why not just keep making more releases w/a diff. label or what not to fill the demand instead of letting people scalp/repro your games and profit off your hard work, you have no one to blame but yourself in my opinion.

 

Now the entire world lives off commerce, what makes one person/business more ethical over another? You think Walmart, Best buy, Gamestop, and so on make all the products they sell? No, they buy them cheap and resell them for profit.

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I know that there is a significant amount of "wild" finds yet to be had. That said, one aspect that many don't factor in the increase of some titles is the shipping, and selling-venue fees (eBay, Amazon, etc). Not in all cases but often enough to make the prices go up, a title that is popular, purchased online used for $17 + $5 shipping, then resold by little Jimmy a few months later for $22 or $25 to cover his postage originally spent and eBay fees, starts to really increase a popular title's perceived marketplace value over time. After a few years something that is not rare but is exchanging hands allot goes up a bit at a time due to this. That's one of the reasons I feel that for example Mario titles, will tend to increase so much over time. I thought this often observed, but never mentioned facet would add to this discussion. What do you think?

 

To some degree, I think eBay (with their fee hikes and then shipping on top of everything) is a deterrent to game sales. Let's say a copy of NES Ninja Turtles is worth $6. If someone decides to sell it on eBay, they'd pay anywhere from fifty cents to $2 in fees, plus they'd have to tack on $5 in shipping. So they'd clear $4 for a game worth $6, and the buyer ends up paying $11 for a game worth $6. This is why you're not seeing eBay be a good place for small-time games anymore.

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I know that there is a significant amount of "wild" finds yet to be had. That said, one aspect that many don't factor in the increase of some titles is the shipping, and selling-venue fees (eBay, Amazon, etc). Not in all cases but often enough to make the prices go up, a title that is popular, purchased online used for $17 + $5 shipping, then resold by little Jimmy a few months later for $22 or $25 to cover his postage originally spent and eBay fees, starts to really increase a popular title's perceived marketplace value over time. After a few years something that is not rare but is exchanging hands allot goes up a bit at a time due to this. That's one of the reasons I feel that for example Mario titles, will tend to increase so much over time. I thought this often observed, but never mentioned facet would add to this discussion. What do you think?

 

That's an interesting theory. I keep a record of all of my gaming purchases, and the entry for what I paid is the "shipped" price. So that's what I consider the price I paid for the item: closing price plus shipping. If I end up reselling the item, I usually do try to get at least as much as the "shipped" price.

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That's an interesting theory. I keep a record of all of my gaming purchases, and the entry for what I paid is the "shipped" price. So that's what I consider the price I paid for the item: closing price plus shipping. If I end up reselling the item, I usually do try to get at least as much as the "shipped" price.

 

Yup, me too. I usually try to get a bit more but hope to never go below that threshold. If many people do that, over a few years I think that raises prices.

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I don't think there is anything wrong with reselling, but that is different than flipping.

 

Generally, I don't share values with people in any market that engage in flipping. Cars, houses, anything. I have found most of them to be annoying and untrustworthy, therefore I try to avoid interactions with them on both a personal and professional level. Even on a personal level, my experiences with these people have not been pleasant -- everything is an attempt to "get one over" and make a profit.

 

While I find the moral center of these people to be questionable, there is nothing illegal about that. It's unfortunate that it takes years and life experience to spot someone like that without getting burned first, but that's part of life. These types of people have been around forever. If you don't want to do business with one of them, don't. It's your choice.

 

Flippers are different than most honest business people. Someone who buys an old house and completely restores it is not really flipping, they are in the house restoration business. Someone who buys a car and fixes it to sell at a higher price is in the car restoration business.

 

Buying something simply to flip it with no testing, improvement, repairs, or even cleaning is not my kind of person if he or she engages in that practice on a regular basis. Someone who buys something and relists it at a higher price before even receiving it in the mail is outright dishonest.

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I have done it, I will do it again, and I hate it! Figure that out.

 

I find games cheap in places they have no business being. I buy those games and I sell them to other collectors. In this way I am flipping games, but I'm not doing it for the money. It bugs me to see games ruined becasue the person with them has no ability to take care of them or no desire. If I can get them I'll flip them. If I need something in the set I'll keep that, but more often than not I'm just saving the game from a certain death.

 

Now, people that are not gamers at all selling games pisses me off. They are flipping games purely for profit and I understand that is their right, but they are also the people that drive up prices in my opinion. Flea market dealers are the worst to me. I have met a few good ones trying to be reasonable, but more often I find the ones that are talking about what they can get on eBay. You sure can, go to eBay. These are also people that don't take care of the games. They are just seeing money, not art. I can't explain exactly why they piss me off more than this, they just really do.

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Buying something simply to flip it with no testing, improvement, repairs, or even cleaning is not my kind of person if he or she engages in that practice on a regular basis. Someone who buys something and relists it at a higher price before even receiving it in the mail is outright dishonest.

 

Very well put. As you say, reselling and flipping aren't really the same thing. There's a world of difference between someone who goes to yard sales and picks up old consoles to carefully refurbish them before reselling, and someone who literally does nothing but act as a middleman who simply receives items, marks them up, and resells them. (The housing market was particularly bad in that regard, with people aggressively buying up "hot" areas of real estate and then reselling them at a huge markup within weeks, without having done a thing to improve the property.)

 

The latter class of people are often the ones who give resellers a bad name, by doing things like what you describe in your last sentence -- let alone resealing games and reselling them at a 500% markup, or Ebay sellers who list outrageous BINs and then throw the item in an unpadded envelope.

 

BTW to address an earlier post, I don't agree that more $$$ is good for this hobby. There's a sweet spot where the games are worth enough so they're not perceived as worthless and people stop throwing them away, but not so much that the hobby becomes prohibitively expensive and attracts greedy types who don't love gaming and are willing to do anything to make a buck.

 

Besides, high dollar values make people act crazy, and tend to be toxic to communities. After all, "the love of money is..." An occasional outlier like Air Raid is fun and attracts attention, but not all attention is good.

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I disagree personally. I got into this hobby as a cheap collecting option as other items I had been collecting had increased to the point of pricing me out of the market. I've always been a completist and the idea of "completing" collections at such a low cost via garage sales, thrift, and flea markets appealed to me greatly. In the 90's and early 2000's it was bliss. Since then however, local thrifts and sales are absolutely stalked by folks with the ebay selling addiction. As items are no longer available locally, the primary options to fill the few holes in my collection are auction sites. What little I still need is no longer priced even close to my price range so at this point I'm frustrated enough to consider leaving. Being a purist, reproductions are not of any interest to me. I was a gamer from at least starting in 1977 so this stuff appeals to me in many ways even though I unfortunately have no time in life to actually play them anymore. I personally would have rather kept this hobby low key / low cost / no profit as I don't sell or flip items. I'm sure I'm in the minority here though.

 

The problem here is that what you have been collecting has gotten older. Less people are just giving those things away to goodwill because they aren't yesterday's played out media; they're their parents' games that they've never tried before. If you want to find stuff cheap these days you have to looks for newer old games like PS1, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube etc that are still being donated for free to Goodwill etc.

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The problem here is that what you have been collecting has gotten older. Less people are just giving those things away to goodwill because they aren't yesterday's played out media; they're their parents' games that they've never tried before. If you want to find stuff cheap these days you have to looks for newer old games like PS1, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube etc that are still being donated for free to Goodwill etc.

 

Some truth to what you are saying here. As appealing as it is to begin collecting things like PS1 on up, I've got to draw the line somewhere. Too little space to deal with my collection as it is. With the exception of my virtual boy, the NES is as new as I will go.

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[...] the NES is as new as I will go.

 

Same here. Though I have to admit... it took me some effort to resist grabbing a fine looking SNES for very cheap on a recent flea market.

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I tend to both flip and resell things, and I use the money to basically feed my collection. And a lot of what I've found at places like Goodwill, etc, is in my collection....

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Some truth to what you are saying here. As appealing as it is to begin collecting things like PS1 on up, I've got to draw the line somewhere. Too little space to deal with my collection as it is. With the exception of my virtual boy, the NES is as new as I will go.

 

Yeah and I didn't say it was a good thing either that these things are less available. I really enjoyed NES as a kid because it was the system I could easily get games for due to it being the old system that everyone was selling off at yard sales. The NES yard sale days are very rare now. Pretty much the only place I've seen (Good) NES stuff cheap in the last few years was craigslist. My uncle bought this huge lot for many systems for only $400 and part of it included a ton of NES games, a toploader and a frontloader. The original owner happened to be a game store owner and he left the box at his neice's place, not wanting it back. She didn't really want to play the stuff either so she put it up on craigslist. After my uncle and I played what we wanted and I kept some Sega Saturn stuff as comission for helping, he made a couple thousand off the stuff on ebay. It wasn't easy though. He had to do a lot of packing and shipping work and answer a lot of questions. It also took a long ime for things to sell and for him to see the money so all it ended up being was food & gas money while he had downtime from his painting business.

 

Whenever I try to sell anything older than NES, I usually have a hard time finding any interested buyers though. It took a long time to get someone to buy all my loose Atari 2600 carts and nobody wanted my CIB Odyssey 2 games till I dropped the price of all 4 of them to $8 shipped, then I couldn't sell them in the end because it turned out it costs $9 to ship them minumum with delivery confirmation due to their weight and I wasn't about to lose money. Someone has to pay more or I'm just going to have to sell them locally..

Edited by TheGameCollector

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My uncle bought this huge lot for many systems for only $400 and part of it included a ton of NES games, a toploader and a frontloader. The original owner happened to be a game store owner and he left the box at his neice's place, not wanting it back. She didn't really want to play the stuff either so she put it up on craigslist. After my uncle and I played what we wanted and I kept some Sega Saturn stuff as comission for helping, he made a couple thousand off the stuff on ebay. It wasn't easy though. He had to do a lot of packing and shipping work and answer a lot of questions. It also took a long ime for things to sell and for him to see the money so all it ended up being was food & gas money while he had downtime from his painting business.

 

$400-> kept stuff-> made a few thousand.... What did you do drive across country to eat at a movie star lounge?

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I am very firmly against flipping classic games. They never toss correctly, and it seems when I call "label side up" invariably the wind will catch them and they'll land with the data side up. I tried flipping cartridges instead, but the plastic shells would crack when they hit the ground and batteries always fly out of my GBC rumble carts, so I decided it better to flip coins instead.

 

OK, as for the real issue, I'm all for flipping stuff. If I happen across a first X men comic in the wild or a rare hot wheels, you bet I'm gonna flip it. Those who don't like flippers need to vote against them with their wallet.

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OK, as for the real issue, I'm all for flipping stuff. If I happen across a first X men comic in the wild or a rare hot wheels, you bet I'm gonna flip it. Those who don't like flippers need to vote against them with their wallet.

 

You should of seen the turtles lot I paid $40 for at a yard sale over the summer. Check out what I sold it for.

 

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 3307854893371?ff3=2&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&item=330785489337&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER]

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Sounds to me like some folks are just upset that they didn't find the games themselves. Sorry guys, but if I see a rare item at a good price that I know I can sell, and don't want it in my own collection, I'm probably not going to just leave it behind just so you can find it. In the summer, I spend 8-16 hours on my weekends hitting yard sales, estate sales and flea markets to find things for my collection. At the same time, I'm also looking for items that I can resell to justify all the time I spend, not to mention money to pay for the things I keep.

 

Perfect example, in October I picked up a Sega Saturn lot (boxed system, and a bunch of games, controllers and accessories) for $30 at a flea market. I barely even looked at it before I handed him the money. Turns out one of the games was Saturn Bomberman, which I sold just last week for $75.00. I'm hoping to get at least another $150 for the rest. I also grabbed a pair of nice Ray-bans at Goodwill a few weeks ago for $2, sold them for $75 too!

 

Do I need the money? Nah, not really. But I enjoy the hunt, and it's part of the game to me. If I had to try to make a living doing this, I'd end up homeless.

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