Is Game Merchandise Overpriced?

As many of you may have noticed you can now find video game related items literally everywhere Gone are the days of gaming being a niche thing that’s looked down upon. Now literally everyone plays Video Games and can identify the icons of the gaming world. Of course, this means that the gaming companies have decided to capitalize on this newfound passion by making toy and games to sell to kids. IT doesn’t stop there though as there are now a lot of adult-themed items made from our favorite franchises. Some of you may be shocked at the price tags you find on items like a Mario necklace, this leads you to ask is gaming merchandise overpriced?

The Market

Is gaming merchandise even needed? Well, in some cases selling merchandise can make or break a company. A lot of the older companies who have seen sales plummet, but own classic IP’s can make a lot of their money off of nostalgia. This is especially good when the company is trying to fund making a new game in hope of turning things around. At times we may even see merchandise for games that haven’t had a new installation in years, just look at the Mega Man franchises sudden explosion in merchandise as of lately.

On the other flipside, there are companies who are literally just slapping a games logo on everything to make sales. These are usually the companies that are trying to ride off of the hype of their game. This can get annoying pretty quickly with some franchises and the popularity can disperse just as quickly as the fidget spinner faze did earlier this year. This can lead a company to make a lot of money at first, but then lose even more when they try to outlive their popularity with the consumer base.

Then we have the things that are literally going to be trendy no matter what. These are the franchises that are classic staples and still put out new games. No one can tell you why they love them or why they are still relevant, but if you’re a gamer you probably own one piece of merchandise from one of these. These franchises generally have a lot of different items and games they can make physical products of and most parents can recognize easily for their kids. See the Mario franchise for being a prime example of this category

Worst Offenders

Some companies are worse than others when it comes to pushing out their merchandise. If you have looked around lately you might have noticed that Bethesda really love Nuka Cola. They love it so much actually that at times it’s like nothing else exists in the Fallout universe than the Nuka Cola company. Forget to make cool Deathclaw statues or Ghoul figures we can just make a bottle and put Nuka Cola on it. Nothing sucks more than a game series you’d actually invest in literally only pushing on part of their franchise. In this case Vault Boy and Nuka Cola should probably sit the next creative product meeting out.

Next, there is a huge problem with brand names. I literally could slap some logos one a deck of playing cards and they would go from $1.50 to $7.00 instantly. A huge problem with game merchandise is that otherwise cheap items double in price just for having a logo on them. Most of the time the quality can be the same or even lower than the standard items. Just look at things like video game themed journals. These things are everywhere and can cost you up to $20 while a normal journal is like $5 tops. The mark up on branded items is completely insane with most merchandise.

Next, we even have specialty brands of merchandise outside of the merchandise. Doesn’t make sense to you? Then just check out the Pokemon Center compared to the rest of the Pokemon merchandise. The Pokemon Center is a premium brand of Pokemon goods that cost at least double what normal products do. For reference, a giant plush on the Pokemon Center can easily shoot about $150 while a plush just made by Nintendo won’t go above $50. Generally, Pokemon Center Merchandise is a little bit higher in quality, but I still can’t see paying the huge markup in price to buy a few specialty items.

Next, we have the fact that this is starting to seep into nearly every store you can imagine. Places like Barnes and Noble and Fye carry tons of this merchandise. You can barely walk into a store now without finding some gaming related item for sale. While the medium is exploding in popularity still, it’s a little sad to see that it’s literally making its way into every place that will allow it to be sold. At this rate, though I really hope that I can at least start to buy my cat officially licensed Nintendo sweaters. Maybe we can even get some Kirby themed cooking items to decorate our kitchens with!?

Other Fandoms

Now, I know what you are thinking, every other fandom does the same thing. The problem with gaming is that it’s just to all over the place. It seems like the companies are just throwing out everything they can think of wondering if it will sell. Most other fandoms tend to know their audience and theme their merchandise around things the fans will actually buy. I love me some Zelda, but I don’t think I will ever need a mini stained glass light to set on my desk. Yes, it’s cool, but it’s also expensive and doesn’t even put off enough light to work with.

I also feel like a lot less merchandise is put out for other fandoms. I feel like they have more of a grasp on how much they should put out of certain items and when. This leads to a lot less of the items just sitting in a store. They also seem to target all of their items around a general price range instead of letting things run all over the place. I feel like this gives fans an idea of how much money they need to save when things are announced. This means that sells are more easily obtained from the fan base instead of just relying on impulse buys.

Alternatives

I’ve always been a huge fan of Etsy. While Etsy is always a pricier alternative to buying merchandise at least I can say it’s generally worth the cost. By using Etsy and other platforms like it you can get exactly what you want out of your purchase or perfectly tailor a gift to a friend. At times Etsy can even be cheaper than some of the officially licensed merchandise. I have seen quite a few replicas on Etsy that are cheaper and looks 20x better than what the official company is trying to put out for more than double the price. Fans of things are generally going to pore a lot of love into their creations meaning you can have a much higher quality collectible in your home than the one you bought from Walmart.

Next, a ton of these items makes their way into the clearance. This means that if you can be patient for long enough you can get most of these items for cheap. A lot of times the clearance sections will even have buy one get one free sale. This means you can easily maximize your buying power when decorating your room! A lot of gamers have a lot of different gaming preferences this makes it hard to sell to everyone meaning items are less likely to sell than items in other fandoms. While you may be a huge Zelda fan, many other Zelda fans may not like the style of the series enough to decorate their homes with it.

Next, you can simply buy used merchandise. A lot of used merchandise from collectors is sold in good condition. This means that by buying second hand from places like eBay you can score some really good deals online. You could even buy bundles sets of items for much cheaper than the item you were going to initially buy. The truth with merchandise is that once you buy it you’re pretty much stuck with it. Things are a lot harder to resell than most people think This is why collectibles will usually set online for months at a time before being bought by another collector

Buy What You Will

No, matter what we say though only you can decide how to spend your money. Yes, a lot of things are overpriced, but pricing is relevant to the buyer. If you really want a glowing Metroid lamp then the decision to put money into it is solely yours. Just look into other alternatives to save money before throwing down your hard earned money. If you feel like being frugal though then just wait until the next clearance sells to stock up on some awesome items for us.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.
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