Johannesburg - First we saw the vinyl player come back to life, then the cassette tape was revived, but now video game consoles from 20 years back are the latest fad to see resurrection.
In South Africa right now the Atari Flashback 6, the Nintendo NES Classic edition and the Sega Mega Drive: Arcade Classic and Ultimate Portable player are all available for sale.
While some consoles from Nintendo and Sega are easier to find, companies such as Nintendo are experiencing worldwide shortages at the moment.
Johannesburg veteran gamer and award-winning strategist MJ Khan, who has completed his Masters coursework on video game theory, said that there was a significant increase in the number of retro consoles that are being sold, with most targeting an older nostalgic market.
“The rise is probably due to a few reasons: The proliferation of emulators and the ease in which people can get older game files on mobile phones, single-board computers like Raspberry Pi and web browsers. One way to combat this as a manufacturer is to release your own version of the console,” he said.
Many of the machines being released today have added functionality and features.
New TV inputs and standards such as HDMI present a challenge for those who have kept their older machines, hence manufacturers like Sega and Nintendo have released the retro consoles with HDMI.
The Sega Mega Drive Arcade Ultimate Portable Player as the name suggests is portable, allowing the player to experience authentic 16-bit games on the move.
The console comes bundled with 80 games, spread across a number of genres.
“It’s much easier to gauge demand from consumers, especially for nostalgia products like these consoles. Manufacturers can analyse Google search trends around specific titles and listen to social media conversation to determine and forecast success,” Khan told Fin24.
Khan believes that the strategy of selling older console is purely to strike the chord of nostalgia and not entertainment for youngsters.
“While parents will undoubtedly see value in a 80-in-1 console, with the exception of a few games like Super Mario Brothers, most games are only fun to play for nostalgic value and little else” he said.
“Chances are, if a child wanted Fifa 17 for Christmas and got a retro console like the Atari Flashback 6, I imagine the child will be disappointed,” Khan said.
The Sega Mega Drive Arcade Ultimate Portable Player with 80 games is available for R839, while the regular console is priced at R839 - both available from Takealot.com
The Atari Flashback 6 Classic Game System with 100 games is available for R 1903 from Wantitall.co.za, while the Nintendo Classic Mini Console (NES) including 30 games, normally costing R 1099 from Takealot is currently out of stock.
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