During March of 2018, I cautioned game collectors, Wii U, and Vita fans alike that the time to round out their collections wasn’t then. Prices were high, The Nintendo Switch was only a year old, and (in the case of the Vita) there were still limited physical runs in production. But the landscape of 2018 is no longer the case in 2020; things have finally started to change. What was once a questionable time to start collecting has shifted to one where a collector can make an informed decision without breaking the bank for a few different reasons.
The Amount of Switch Ports has Begun to Slow
The prime example I gave in my article warning both Vita and Wii U collectors at the time was that ports were still be announced and released at a record-setting pace for the Nintendo Switch. Many top Wii U and even lesser-known Vita titles were receiving either enhanced ports—that added additional features—or were being repackaged together to form collections.
On the Wii U side of things, 1st party titles like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, New Super Mario Bros. U, and others received ports that added a feature or two while also porting the game over to the Nintendo Switch.
Even now, Nintendo is still bringing over Wii U titles that I personally thought would be overlooked such as, Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯Fe, while also providing some new features for the once Wii U exclusive titles. Thankfully, from a collectors standpoint, these ports have begun to slow down, but the reason for that is there isn’t much left. At present, 11 games have been ported or announced to be brought over to the Switch, most being 1st party titles. Of the games that remain exclusive to the Wii U, very few remain that could be feasibly ported—due to being designed for the Wii U’s hardware—and an even smaller amount exists from that pool that has not received a direct sequel that essentially negates the reason for it to be ported in the first place. Unless its one of the few games that fit this small amount of remaining titles, it is likely it won’t be ported over to the Switch.
As for titles that were once exclusive or at least primarily on the Vita as their console of choice, some have received a similar fate as Wii U ports, while others have been bundled together. Titles like The Caligula Effect, which was once a Vita exclusive, was revamped and overhauled when brought over to the Switch and PlayStation 4. While others like Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana and Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star—which was both available on the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4—received ports to the Nintendo Switch, resulting in better performance when compared to the Vita.
Smaller, and typically lesser-known games, opted to bundle titles together to form small collections for new fans, such as Yomawari: The Long Night Collection and Mary Skelter 2 (which includes the first game). Much like the Wii U, many of the games that likely are going to be ported from the Vita, already have done so or have announced they will be in the future.
As Switch ports begin to slow down, it allows a collector to determine which purchase is best for them. I (and I am sure I am not alone here) typically do not buy multiple versions of the same game without a good reason. If I know an enhanced port of a previously released title is on its way, I may opt to wait and purchase that version rather than the original. It enables me to choose the version I want without regretting a purchase down the road when a port is finally announced.
Prices for Most Games have Bottomed Out
Most Vita and Wii U games have remained consistent when it has come to pricing in the last few years and have mostly bottomed out. Gamestop, who is one of the few (if only) brick & mortar stores that still sell Vita games, has kept their prices mostly consistent for the past two years. For example, Tales of Heart R, a GameStop exclusive and somewhat rare title, has remained $24.99 for at least the past few years; it hasn’t gone up nor down. For online stores that don’t follow price fluctuations (or as closely as others), many are pricing their games to go. Take GameFly, who recently looks to be unloading many of their Vita games at or below $10. Now, many of these can be at times hard to find, but if you remain vigilant and keep checking, you can very quickly fill out a few hard to find titles for cheap!
But even if a game still isn’t available by stores, many Vita and Wii U games can be found second hand for very reasonable prices.
Wonderful 101, an uncommon Wii U game that has yet to be ported over to the Nintendo Switch can easily be found for under $20. The same can be said for the Vita:
Ys: Memories of Celceta is another title that would easily fit in the uncommon category, and its pricing has mostly remained steady. This, generally, has remained true for most Vita and Wii U titles. Once they were deemed dead consoles, there was a slight spike or holdout when it came to prices, but have flatlined since. Even rare titles—which spiked in price almost immediately after their release (due to small print runs)—have remained steady at those high prices with little movement in either direction.
For a collector, this is good news! With prices remaining steady, this likely means that prices are not going to go further down, signaling that now is the time to buy!
Finally, and perhaps the most crucial reason for why the time to purchase is now is that while titles for both the Wii U and Vita are reasonably available to buy, finding them complete is another story. Buying titles used from GameStop always comes with risks of not including cases, especially when purchased online. Still, even in-store, both Vita and Wii U games have become increasingly more likely not to have their original cases. But this hasn’t been limited to GameStop or other storefronts; it has also extended into the second-hand market. One quick look at eBay will reveal a slew of uncommon and rare titles that come in disc or cartridge only variants. It has become increasingly harder to find complete, or even just games with their original cases, and if you’re a collector who likes to display what they own, it can make or break the collection.
If you are considering starting a Wii U or Vita collection, or are already collecting and are hoping to round out what you already have, the time to do so is now! What may happen down the line is hard to tell, but for right this moment, there is a certain amount of stability and enough information to make an educated decision—at least as best as one could make when it comes to collecting. So get out there and start collecting; both consoles have plenty of gems that are worth your time and shouldn’t be missed!