Wata graded games

The evaluation of collectibles is nothing new as anyone who's seen Antique Roadshow or Pawn Stars can attest too. Comic book grading took this a step further by having professionals grade an item and then encase it in a hard plastic slab to preserve it. Now video games have entered the fray and there is a lot of opportunity in this burgeoning market. Let's take a look at how video game grading works to see if it's the right call for you.

How Video Game Grading Works

Video game grading is the process of having a professional look at your game and assign it a number grade. Higher numbers indicate a better grade and a concurrently higher value. Your best bet for top value is to submit a new in the box game. Raw games, or games that are just the cartridge, can be submitted for grading but these normally do not come close to matching the value of boxed or new games. One instance where it makes sense to submit a raw game for valuation is if it is rare. This can make it difficult to find a game new in the box and makes the value of any available cartridge higher. After a grade is assigned, the game is then encased in a hard plastic shell. The grade and any important information is usually printed on the top.

Who Grades Video Games?

There are two major players in the video game grading market, Wata games and the Video Game Authority. Wata games has transferred over the familiar scale comic book grading scale of 1 thru 10.  Video Game Authority has created a different scale of grades ranging from 10 to 100. It remains to be seen which company will be viewed as the "Gold Standard" of video game grading as the market is still new and developing. Prices vary by company but expect to spend at least $25 per game when it comes to grading. 

Should You Grade Your Games?

This all depends on what you want to get out of your video game purchase. If you want to ever play the game again, then definitely DO NOT get your game graded. Once encased in the hard plastic shell, it is impossible to take it out and play without ruining the grade. If you are an investor then you have some things to consider. The guaranteed moneymakers are typically rare games. If you have a Super Nintendo World Championship game as an example, you can count on making some money as those cartridges are exceedingly rare.

But what about other games?

The first thing to do is to check out prices and see what other copies of the game are selling for. It is also important to look at New in Box versus Raw. New in Box is always worth more, but in some cases, you can find a New in Box game that is worth a boatload while the Raw version is worth next to nothing. You must also keep the condition of your game in mind. When sending something to get graded, you will want it to be in excellent condition or it will not be worth grading. The only time it is worth sending in a worn/used game is if it is rare otherwise the condition will drive down the value. 

There are many things to consider when entering the market, but now that you know a little more about how video game grading works, you can make an informed decision on what to do with your games. For some tips on what to invest in, check out my Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis quick investment guides.