Recent mega video game auctions may have been scams
By Bob Garcia
A journalist alleges that Heritage Auctions and Wata Games colluded to create phony value
Lately, there has been a not-so-coincidental trend at auctions where rare and storied video games, such as a copy of Super Mario 64, sell for highly extravagant sums. However, those record prices, a new report alleges, could be the result of collusion between a game rating company and an auction house, which leaves a lot to talk about. It would be a lie to say that we’ve been blown away after seeing collectors pay six figures for a single game, but this may have just been a scam.
Australian journalist Karl Jobst took on the task of investigating this trend and has claimed that auction house Heritage Auctions and grading company Wata Games have been working behind the scenes to artificially drive up the cost of retro video games. It took Jobst about an hour to conduct an investigation that claims Deniz Kahn, CEO of Wata, worked with Jim Halperin, co-founder of Heritage, to influence the second-hand market. Both have firmly stated that the value of old games will never stop growing, leading people to believe that these games should really be considered as an investment, rather than just a collector’s item.
Wata Games is a company that rates the quality of physical video games by scoring them and putting them in plastic cases for protection. A game that passes through the hands of this company and presents a respective qualification can increase its price excessively in comparison to a game that has not passed through this process. The amount by which these games have come to be sold has increased exponentially in a relatively short time, and this has led Jobst to investigate further. “This whole situation is rife with unethical business practices, deception, collusion, and even fraud,” Jobst asserts. Kahn and Halperin have yet to weigh in on the allegations.