The original Microsoft Xbox was not one of my favorite consoles when it released. I was a Nintendo 64 kid. Then I got a PlayStation 2 for Christmas and waited on the other consoles of that generation. One day, the idea popped into my head to save and scrounge up for a used Xbox from GameStop. After all, it was like 2005 and the next generation consoles were coming soon.
So I got together every dollar, quarter, dime, nickel, and even penny that I could find. And I plopped down the, I think it was $150, for a used Xbox. I got Conker Live and Reloaded, Halo, Halo 2, and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath to go with it. (Great games for a 5th grader to be playing, but I turned out fine, so suck it Jack Thompson). The original Xbox is an enigma of that console generation for me. It was far and away the most powerful console from a technical standpoint. Third-party releases just ran and looked better on the Xbox. But it got thoroughly dominated by the PlayStation 2.
For good reason, the PlayStation 2 is one of the best consoles of all-time. But the original Xbox is a goldmine for collecting. With that power in the system, the games for it are amazing. They also don’t look terrible, even when compared to today’s powerhouse games. But this is an article about collecting for the original Xbox. So let’s get to it.
GameCube Dominates Prices, PlayStation Two Dominates Number Of Games
The Xbox falls into this gap between the two consoles. The GameCube might not have sold many copies or have a large library, but because it’s a Nintendo console, it has that built-in collector floor. PlayStation Two collectors have a wide library of relatively obscure RPG games among a large library of titles in the thousands. Xbox doesn’t have either of these things for their first machine.
Collectors for Retro Video Games know how these things work. The pandemic accelerated prices across the board for all consoles. So even a system that was pretty affordable from the most expensive games down to the bottom, like the Xbox, had massive price increases for it’s rarest games. Turns out people stuck inside all day, still want to play those old games from their youth.
I’m no different. Except I went a bit further with that collecting. I don’t want to stop at the games I had when I was a kid. I have most of those original Xbox games that I owned at the start, still. I’m after the full Xbox library. And possibly most of the variants on the Original Xbox.
Prices Rise And Hold For the Xbox
So right now, the most expensive games on the Xbox are even more expensive. Thanks to our friends at GameValueNow and their price graphs, we can see the average price of an Xbox game rising from the start of the pandemic.
Prices on the average complete Xbox game were at around $7 for almost three years without any solid movement. March 2020 hits, and boom, that $7 turns into almost $12. And that’s just movement for the average game. That’s not showing the increases for the higher dollar and rare games for the system.
In some cases, the price is skyrocketing still, in others prices are fairly stable, and in some like Steel Battalion and it’s huge box, the prices swing pretty wildly.
Looking at the top around eight games that I would call rare. Steel Battalion and the controller doesn’t really count. But games like Futurama, Stubbs the Zombie, Teen Titans, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, Def Jam: Fight for NY, and OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast have all broken their trends. There are other games like Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis that have actually gone down in price, but I think that’s people realizing that you can play that game and have a great experience with it, elsewhere.
Through The Price Increases, The Time Is Still Now For Xbox Collecting
If you look at the prices for some GameCube and PlayStation 2 titles, they’re getting to levels that are pretty untenable for the average collector. The top end of the Xbox range might be getting to that point, but you can also play certain games on other consoles. Steel Battalion might be the most exclusive experience for the Xbox though. I own the controller and game, and it’s definitely an experience that you need to see to believe.
I got into Xbox collecting because it seemed like an easy collection to get. After all, go into Retro game stores, they have plenty of Xbox titles to go around. It’s not a super in-demand console yet. With the advent of backwards compatibility coming to the Xbox Series S/X, that is going to change.
This isn’t a warning though. It’s an invitation. The Xbox has plenty of strange and quirky games that are exclusive to the console. Like I said before, it also just runs that generation of games better than the other two consoles. That all adds up to an untapped console for the collector trying to get into retro gaming out there.
I didn’t get into collecting for it for the money though. I sincerely love the original Xbox. It’s a console that showed us that Microsoft was serious about gaming. The console gave us the legit third company to compete with Sony and Nintendo that we hadn’t had since Sega. So join me in appreciating this wonderful console.
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