Compounding the situation is the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with vaccinations underway, millions of people have been stuck at home for months, some of them with a surplus of time and money. There’s no doubt an increasing demand – especially amongst those who grew up with the Nintendo DS, now of working age and seeking some nostalgic comfort food. It’s been impractical or even dangerous for many to rummage around used game stores, so online marketplaces are feeling a residual effect. According to PriceCharting, popular Nintendo DS games like Pokémon HeartGold have seen huge price increases since March 2020, when the pandemic began in force. The same sharp uptick hit many retro game prices and other collectibles, like Pokémon cards.
As time goes on, the Nintendo DS may suffer some of the harshest auction prices of any handheld. Its unique form factor means its games are unlikely to carry on to future generations, especially now that smartphones have made dedicated handhelds less relevant. Some gamers will always be interested in getting their hands on antique hardware, but they’re likely always going to have to pay exorbitant fees to make it a hobby.
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