Devil’s Third, the new Wii U exclusive from Ninja Gaiden creator Tomonobu Itagaki, has not been received much love from the press or its publisher, Nintendo. Released with little to no marketing support at the tail end of a crowded holiday season, it’s all too clear that no one had much confidence in the game’s mass appeal.
And yet there are people who still want this game. Desperately.
As one might expect of a game with a 44 Metacritic rating and no advertising push, many retailers decided not to carry the game, and those who did only ordered a few copies. Die-hard Itagaki fans and anyone else interested in the game seem to be having difficulty finding copies in their local stores. Meanwhile the game is sold out at GameStop, Best Buy, and Newegg. Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R’ Us do not carry the game online.
The result, it seems, is a seller’s market on eBay. The going rate for a new copy of the game stands at about $150 as of Tuesday. Though there is a “factory sealed” copy listed for $40 (before shipping), the majority of listings ranging between $130–$175. Of course there are a few listings that are looking to take advantage of buyers’ fandom-driven demand. One Texas-based seller is asking for $666, with an auction starting at $467. Another is asking for $350. On Amazon, external sellers have prices ranging from $129.98- $249.96.
Obviously this buying frenzy isn’t really about playing Devil’s Third. (Or just about the game, at least). The game is available digitally through the Wii U E-shop for $60. No, these prices signal the fact that the physical game has already been recognized as a valuable pick-up for game collectors. Many of the sellers, clearly recognizing why the game is valuable, play up the game’s rarity and offer “never-opened” or “factory-sealed” units.
And so, in it’s way, Devil’s Third has managed to secure it’s legacy. Not as a great game, but as a great buy.