appiah4 wrote on 2020-06-30, 07:57:
Well, this is my rant:
I feel like hardware prices really did pick up sometimes by tenfold for items that were deemed undesirable and could be had for a few bucks just a few years ago. But what actually went through the roof seems to be big box games. There is a much greater interest for these than ever, for whatever reason. Things I could get on eBay in auctions that top at 5 bucks or so go on sale for BIN offers at 10 times that.
You may like the guys, but I feel like people like LGR, 8bit Guy etc. made this hobby more popular at the expense of making it a lot more expensive.. expense of expensive.. wait what? heh..
I think this has made certain more popularized parts more expensive (like ss7 stuff and the lower end 3dfx stuff), but I don't think it's just this.
If there were for instance roughly a stable amount of people buying and selling these parts, prices would probably either stay stable or rise only slowly over time (partially due to postage costs and people not liking making a loss and parts dying off with the dead parts still being good enough to end up on display).
Many retro computer hobbyists have no drive to make as much money from their hobby as they can or at least not in a similar magnitude as some of the more hardcore collectors and the traders are.
The worst are probably the scalpers (of which one could arguably say that Ebay is the biggest scalper out there) and especially the people who mostly do buying low and selling high without even having the intention to actually use it.
One interesting question would be: How many retro computing hobbyists have we had at any point in time? Has the amount of people gone up this much? Because I doubt it.
Lets just think of an example: Suppose half the people who buy these parts are scalpers. This would mean that about half the parts that they buy, are gonna get resold to someone more expensively (and possibly with more stuff missing from it or more damaged due to handling and mistakes etc) where without this scalper, this same person would have gotten his parts for more cheaply without any adverse effects.
Another adverse effect of scalpers is that they will tend to dredge into the existing pool of parts, effectively making parts less common amongst retro computer hobbyists which will also help in making parts harder to find.
Now lets change this to not half are scalpers but 90% are scalpers. This would make prices go up even more even if the ttoal number of parts and the total number of retro computer hobbyists remain the same. Scalpers add nothing except parasitizing off of the retro computer hobbyist realm, effectively slowly bleeding it with no gain for the host, so to say.
My guess is that adding people who are not even retro computer hobbyists to the pool of people who want to get these parts (and even more so to sell at a higher price later) are the worst reason why this is getting so expensive now. It's clear to see when looking at how much more for instance 3dfx has gone up in price compared to how much contemporary stuff has gone up in price, like TNT2 M64, even if performance is still the same.
Some stuff has been going up for a longer while, usually anything with "Ultra" in the name and also stuff which is getting hyped, like for instance saying some part xxx or part yyy is getting really sought after, even when it is not really. It's like covid breaking out and everybody rushing for the toilet paper, it's really very awkward.