Are you having trouble tracking down an NES Classic Edition for the gamer on your holiday shopping list? You’re not alone, and aftermarket prices are currently skyrocketing thanks in part to a new eBay policy that ensures scalpers a massive profit on their hoarded units.
Nintendo Life reports that eBay is now guaranteeing sellers that new-in-box NES Classic Edition units will sell for hundreds of dollars at auction, ensuring that scalpers will be able to exploit Christmas shoppers throughout the upcoming holiday season.
Released at retail earlier this month, the NES Classic Edition features a collection of 30 built-in Nintendo Entertainment System games from the ’80s and ’90s, including The Legend of Zelda, Kirby’s Adventure, and Super Mario Bros. 3. While Nintendo frequently reissues its legacy titles digitally via its Virtual Console service, the standalone NES Classic Edition sidesteps the need to buy a Nintendo console in order to enjoy classic games, offering a simple plug-and-play solution for retrogaming enthusiasts.
Supply issues became apparent after the device’s launch, however, as many online retailers sold out of their entire allotments of NES Classic Edition units immediately after putting them up for sale. Amazon customers who waited in order to comply with a specific time frame to purchase the NES Classic Edition earlier this month refreshed the site only to find a “sold out” notice within minutes after it went up for sale, and brick-and-mortar retailers likely won’t restock in time for Christmas.
In the meantime, opportunists who snagged an NES Classic Edition at launch can currently enjoy a tidy profit by putting the unit up for sale on eBay. According to Nintendo Life’s report, eBay guaranteed that one specific seller with an NES Classic Edition in stock would receive at least $226 for the item at auction, representing a 383-percent jump over the unit’s suggested retail price of $60.
While reselling high-demand items for profit via eBay isn’t a new phenomenon, the company’s recently instituted price guarantee policy will effectively allow scalpers to hold the NES Classic Edition for ransom throughout the rest of the year. Sellers who auction off an NES Classic Edition over the next few weeks aren’t simply likely to turn a profit — eBay guarantees inflated aftermarket prices by offering sellers a cash-equivalent coupon if their auction doesn’t meet a specified minimum bid.
Given that eBay currently guarantees a final price of at least $226 for a new-in-box NES Classic Edition, the hunt for one of this holiday season’s hottest items just got a lot more expensive.