Hideo Kojima games not only feature the creator’s name a few hundred times, they’re also well known for being loaded with licensed content. This can be in the form of iconic music or even video clips to tie games into real history, a clever bit of storytelling often deployed in the Metal Gear series. Of course, licensed content often has an agreement expiry date, which impacted a number of legacy Metal Gear releases last year.
Among many other versions across different systems, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D dropped off the 3DS eShop last November. It disappeared on 8th November last year – Konami cited “historical archive footage” as the issue and promised it was a temporary measure, though having checked this morning the game is still missing on the EU eShop. It’s unclear whether Konami plans to replace the footage in the game, negotiate renewals for the footage or simply do nothing and hope no-one notices.
Either way, doublexp.com took a look at how the delisting had impacted the pricing of the physical edition on auction sites. It wasn’t exactly over-printed back in the day, especially in North America, but the initial impact (according to pricecharting) was minimal, with the small market of people following the game likely expecting the digital version to reappear. After all, when there are downloadable versions of games that typically holds down the price for standard second-hand cartridges.
From late February prices on physical editions (even just loose cartridges) have at least doubled, coinciding with Nintendo’s announcement regarding the closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShop stores. It shows the market realisation that the download version may be gone for good unless Konami gets it back online before March 2023. It does vary per region – a look in the UK shows that you can still get loose cartridges at a low price as demand is low. On US-equivalent listings, though, base prices are noticeable higher as sellers try to cash in on the inevitable scarcity of the game.
It’s an interesting little case study, in any case, showing that the closure of the 3DS (and Wii U) eShop doesn’t just affect download games, but has potential knock-on effects on the second-hand physical edition markets.