The infamous “Digg Effect” that has brought down many websites featured on the site’s home page might be having the same affect on used game prices.
Research conducted by Video Game Price Charts discovered that previously released games (recently released titles excluded) featured in Digg stories saw a decrease in resale value, as opposed to the boost in sales one might expect from seeing an old game prominently viewed by those browsing the site for gaming stories.
VGPC selected all of the game-related “lists” on Digg from August 10 through September 10 (seven articles in all) and compared the price of all 94 games from before the time period to the current rate. Prices were compiled from eBay, Amazon, and Half.com.
The final tally: 37 games saw increases while 56 decreased. The average price drop for all titles was 2.2 percent. Meteos for the Nintendo DS dropped the most, 22 percent, whereas Phantasy Star II for the Sega Genesis rose 42.8 percent, potentially due to its age and possible rarity.
Another way to look at the data shows that the average price of a game didn’t change in either direction, staying at $13.93. Writer JJ Hendrix explains the formula for finding the mean price: “The ‘average video game’ price of $13.93 is based upon a weighted average so the weights in the sample match the weights in the average. This was done because the sample had mostly Wii, DS, and NES games and no 360, PS3, PSP, Genesis, etc games. Wii games make up 35% of the sample size so Wii games are weighted at 35% for the average. PS2 is 2% of the sample and 2% of the average. 360 games make up 0% of the sample and are not part of the overall average.”
Without different weighting for certain systems, the 2.2 percent fall still remains. Hendrix offers his best reasoning, “The best reason I can think for the price decline – more Digg users sell the games featured in the articles than buy them because of the article. Whatever causes the price decline, the Digg Videogame Effect is much different than the usual Digg Effect.”
Despite the study’s questionable standards (the small game pool was comprised mostly of Wii and DS games and the average difference between game prices was negligible), it succeeds in presenting an interesting question: How can popular websites and media influence the value of entertainment products such as videogames?