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Retro Console Market Growing As Gamers Rediscover The Classics

Nostalgia is prompting Japanese gamers to hunt for classic games, which has led to a rise in prices and demand for decades-old consoles, giving the second-hand game market an unexpected boost.

What is old is new again, which is evident in the resurgence of everything from vinyl records, compact discs to JBL creating its new old-looking Authentic speakers, and now old-school games making a comeback.

To fill the demand, two Japanese companies, Bookoff and Geo Holdings, who had mainly dealt in old-school media, are making the leap into the console-making business.

This year Bookoff began taking advance bookings for its upcoming consoles, such as the 8-bit Compact, which is compatible with Nintendo’s Family Computer system (NES), and the 16-bit Compact V2 is compatible with Nintendo’s Super Famicom system, or Super Nintendo.

The new gaming consoles will go on sale next month and were built in collaboration with retro console maker Columbus Circle.

“Retro games are gaining in popularity among a broad range of generations,” a Bookoff representative said.

Bookoff has seen their move to retro game-related products produce a sales increase of 59% from 12 months earlier.

Earlier this year Geo Holdings released the Retro Game Computer, which can play the cartridges for Nintendo’s Family Computer, has 118 original titles and was priced at 2,178 yen ($22.35 AUD).

After sales went well of the initial trial of the product, Geo Holdings started selling its exclusive console at roughly 570 outlets and according to the corporation, they have already sold 3,000 units.

“We decided to introduce the product to allow them to play retro games,” Geo said of their launch.

There are ways to play the original games via subscribing to online gaming platforms, such as Sony Group’s PlayStation Store and Nintendo’s Nintendo Switch Online, which allow gamers to play old games on the newest consoles.

Despite gamers having the ability to stream old games, the selection is limited and to play certain older games, an original console is needed.

With museum pieces no longer being made, the retro market is on the rise, with costs for recycled consoles surging.

Still, the challenge will be if retro-compatible consoles can re-create original playing experiences and the sourcing of chips and other hardware specifications to make the retro consoles.

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