I recently did a Q and A with the team at Fin24 on why Nineties games are making a comeback.
1) Have you noticed an increase in the number of older consoles being sold again and since when?
There’s a significant increase in the number of retro consoles that are being sold, with most targeting an older nostalgic market. The rise is probably due to a few reasons:
The proliferation of emulators and the ease in which people can get older game files on mobile phones, single-board computers like Raspberry Pi, web browsers etc. One way to combat this as a manufacturer is to release your own version of the console
New TV inputs and standards like HDMI present a challenge for those who have kept their older machines, hence manufacturers like Sega and Nintendo have released the retro consoles with HDMI.
2) Why do you think these consoles are being sold again? Do you think it’s a demand from the customer or an attempt to draw nostalgia from customers by manufacturers?
A lot of the machines have added functionality and features. The Sega Mega Drive Arcade Ultimate Portable Player as the name suggests is portable, allowing the player to experience authentic 16-bit games on the move. The console comes bundled with 80 games, spread across a number of genres. It’s much easier to gauge demand from consumers, especially for nostalgia products like these consoles – manufacturers can analyze google search trends around specific titles and listen to social media conversation to determine and forecast success.
3) What consoles do you know of, are being sold now?
There are a few popular retro consoles available in South Africa at the moment – The Atari Flashback 6, The Nintendo NES Classic edition (which has oddly been discontinued), the Sega Mega Drive: Arcade Classic and Ultimate Portable player.
4) A typically older console is now retailing for around R800, however, a game for PS4 or Xbox One can exceed that amount – Do you think parents might see an older console as a cheaper alternative to keep their kids occupied?
While parents will undoubtedly see value in an 80-in-1 console, with the exception of a few games like Super Mario Brothers, most games are only fun to play for nostalgic value and little else. Chances are, if a kid wanted Fifa 17 for Christmas and got a retro console like the Atari Flashback 6, I imagine the kid will be disappointed.
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