August 14, 2013

The Sad Case of Xenoblade in the US

Posted in video games tagged , , , at 9:12 pm by riulyn

So, supposedly used copies of Xenoblade Chronicles go for $90+ in the U.S. There is speculation that Gamestop is possibly opening up new copies of the game (reprints or possibly held-back stock) and selling them as used because they don’t feel like they can sell new copies above MSRP but used game prices go by the marketplace. Well, Gamestop’s idea of the marketplace since I’ve always found Gamestop’s used prices to be on the high side, though in this case it doesn’t seem to be that way.

This is a situation that only happens when a game is sold as an exclusive. As an exclusive, Gamestop can do whatever it wants with the game. Maybe another retailer would have been “nice” and lowered the price of the game because of new inventory. However there’s no driving force to lower the price back to MSRP, if no other large distributor can flood the market with copies at a lower price.

Xenoblade’s price hike and rare status approximately 8 months after release is actually pretty similar to what happened to Radiant Historia. Radiant Historia didn’t have a huge initial print run. By the time I had heard of the game, the game was selling used at $80+. I wanted to buy the game but I was not willing to put that much money towards something I had seen a LP of but did not love to death (it was no Suikoden II to me).

Radiant Historia was published by Atlus and was sold to all different retailers. Early 2012, Atlus did a reprint. Prices fell back down to $32 for a new game. Why? It is possible that the reprint really increased the numbers in circulation. I don’t know how many new copies were made in the second run. I think, more importantly, the game was sold to any game store. I picked mine up at a convention because I was too excited about seeing the reprint, but the store at the convention was only $0.50 more than Amazon at that time. So it was no loss for me, really.

While Xenoblade was certainly more popular than The Last Story, the reason why The Last Story has not skyrocketed in price is because a reprint was done earlier and XSEED sold it to everyone willing to stock it. XSEED and Atlus seem cool enough to reprint games that start getting pricey. Maybe they realize that doing that gives them more money.

Nintendo must have had no faith in Xenoblade, while Gamestop saw a lot of potential in the game. Maybe they didn’t see enough people order directly from their website (I believe that was an option back in April 2012) and ignored what was going on with Xenoblade ever since then. Who knows for sure? Maybe Nintendo’s “no comment” is to try to keep peace with Gamestop, but you’d think they’d have to be kicking themselves at the moment realizing all the money that could have been theirs going to Gamestop or random people on Ebay. Especially with how they’ve actually done promotion of “X”. You’d think they would want lots of people to play Xenoblade to build a larger X-fanbase.

Ah well. It’s a pity that XSEED, Atlus, etc. didn’t get to distribute Xenoblade. At least I got the game early (I did not preorder but decided 2 weeks later I really needed the game). Sometimes early investments do pay off.



  1. Joseph said,

    haha I love that you wrote about this because I was literally just thinking the same thing. I pre-ordered xeno (one of the only pre-orders I have done in like four years) and now I’m looking at the $90+ price point for a used copy online. Ridiculous. I’m going to sell mine in like two years and make a bundle lol (I hope, and that’s only if I can actually ever finish it. Making a good run at it this time lol)

    That said, you raise an interesting point: who is actually responsible for a game to become a “rare game.” It’s not the creators, or even the consumers. It’s the publishers who choose to not make enough copies. Suddenly a decent game gets it’s “rare game” status. Like Suikoden II or Skies of Arcadia Legends, or even Valkyrie Profile. I guess in my mind it was always consumer love that made a game a rare gem, but its really just a publishing anomaly…weird and interesting

    • riulyn said,

      Well, it would be easy to say that the game is rare due to the publishers, but reprinting a game that is rare is not always a good financial decision. I think in a game getting as rare as Suikoden II (which I believe did get kind of rare early on) might’ve been a big deal and Konami might have even done something about it, but I feel like Suikoden II didn’t become rare or known as rare until a few years later at the earliest. I believe some people bought the game used for less than MSRP when they managed to find the game a year or so after release. I don’t think Xenoblade used copies were ever less than MSRP (unless you were an idiot or financially hurting and tried to sell it right after launch or something).

      I’m not saying that Konami shouldn’t reprint Suikoden II, but I can understand why they won’t (besides all the typos and other crap). And maybe they are pissed off at Sony for not allowing the Suikoden I & II PSP version onto PSN or whatever. (I feel like I heard a story where Sony said the release wasn’t different enough from the originals so they weren’t going to allow it. It sounds silly and something I’ll have to research more later.)

      In the case of a game getting rare/ridiculous prices within a year of launch, I feel like it would be rather silly for a publisher to not do a reprint. Surely in this internet age it is easy to figure out how much the game is going for. I don’t know the printing process, but if someone like Atlus and XSEED can get reprints out, surely Nintendo can?

      I can’t fault Nintendo of America for making not so many copies in the first place if they believed their European release didn’t sell enough, but not to respond to the current situation… In the end, when anything is an exclusive and you have some interest in it, I guess you better get your preorder in!

      • Joseph said,

        I think I’m just irritated that suikoden 2 is so expensive. Would love a psn release. Gonna be a while until I can pay that much for it:( maybe when I sell xeno lol

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