GameStop has announced that it will start selling out of print "vintage titles" in its stores, like Metroid Prime Trilogy. There's only one problem: It lists used copies of Metroid Prime Trilogy at a whopping $84.99, while the recently restocked allegedly used copies of Xenoblade Chronicles go for $89.99. To put this in perspective, both titles retailed for $49.99 upon release and the latter was a GameStop exclusive.
It gets stranger. Due to Xenoblade Chronicles' limited run, it remained out of stock for months at a time. Now, GameStop has started selling an influx of supposedly used copies at this exorbitant price. It even features the game on the retailer's front page of its website under the new "Vintage Video Game" banner.
But where did these supposedly "used" copies come from? Nobody knows, but evidence suggests that the retailer is reprinting its stock.
One GameStop source told Kotaku that the retailer printed a few thousand copies of the game without shrink wrap to pawn off as "pre-owned" games, and several NeoGAF users are reporting that these touted "pre-owned" copies contain unused Nintendo codes.
Why attempt to disguise these as used copies when new ones would seem to be a better bargain? Maybe it's because it seems more devious to sell a sealed game well above its retail value, whereas a used one strikes collectors as a rare find. Or maybe it's because its PowerUp Pro members receive 10 per cent discounts on games, so it's slightly better value for the consumer, even if these games are still coming in at more than 150 per cent their original retail value.
When questioned about this by Kotaku, GameStop dodged the recently acquired stock's origins, but said that other games in its vintage lineup are on the way, such as Metroid Prime Trilogy.
"GameStop regularly receives feedback from our PowerUp members regarding old titles they would us like to bring back, such as vintage games like Xenoblade Chronicles. We were recently able to source a limited number of copies of this title to carry in our stores and online," said the retailer in a statement.
It then added "we have sourced several more vintage titles that we will be hitting stores in the coming months, including Metroid Prime Trilogy."
"As always, our pricing for these games is competitive and is based on current market value driven by supply and demand."
To put this in comparison, the cheapest used copies I can find for Xenoblade Chronicles and Metroid Prime Trilogy on Amazon US are $91.99 and $80 respectively, before shipping, and eBay's not any better. So in this regard, GameStop's prices are in line with the current market value, but passing reprints off as rare finds is a whole 'nother ballgame.
I've reached out to both GameStop and Nintendo on the matter and will update as I hear back.