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The Absurdity of WATA Game Grading and the "Empty" Promise of Profit

The Absurdity of WATA Game Grading and the "Empty" Promise of Profit continues...


The video game industry has been booming for decades, attracting not only gamers, but also collectors and investors seeking to cash in on this burgeoning market. The practice of grading games has been central to this trend, providing a way for individuals to assess the value and quality of their prized possessions. And at the forefront of this grading industry is WATA Games, a company that grades and certifies video games.

However, the fervor around game grading is getting out of hand, escalating to a level of absurdity that needs to be addressed. A recent example that encapsulates this rising madness is the case of the 'Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom' Steel Book.



The Steel Book is an item produced in limited quantities for promotional purposes. They are often coveted for their unique art and durable construction. This specific 'Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom' Steel Book, empty of its game, with no disc or download code included, was recently put up for sale on eBay for a staggering $350 USD plus shipping. The kicker? This was graded by WATA Games.


The Absurdity of WATA Game Grading and the "Empty" Promise of Profit
The WATA culprit, in case.

The primary question that emerges from this situation is: What exactly was graded?

WATA Games' grading system, as per their website, evaluates games based on their condition, rarity, demand, and historical significance. But in this case, without a game or download code, the grading is arguably a measurement of the casing's condition and artwork, rather than an assessment of the actual game.

What value does the grading add in this case?



It's hard to justify the significant price tag for an empty Steel Book, even if it is a promotional item linked to a beloved franchise like Zelda. This price inflation, enabled and exacerbated by the grading process, highlights an issue in the video game collectible market.

Without substantial content to grade, what we're left with is a stunning but empty casing. Is the grading process inflating the worth of items without any intrinsic value, creating a bubble that is destined to pop?

Let's look at comic books as an example. Comic book grading is common, but it assesses the condition and rarity of physical content that contains an actual story. With this 'Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom' Steel Book, there's no game, no story – nothing to play or experience.

The concern here is not just about the pricing but also about the potential degradation of the collectibles market. If collectors and investors put their faith and money into graded items with no inherent value, what happens when the market corrects itself, as markets often do?

The situation raises important questions about the role and responsibilities of grading companies. Should there be clearer guidelines about what can and cannot be graded? Is it ethical to grade and indirectly inflate the value of something that has no intrinsic value beyond its casing?



While game grading has its place in the video game industry, its usage needs careful reconsideration. Grading empty promotional items and placing inflated prices on them threatens to turn the market into a speculative bubble, casting a shadow over genuine collectors and the history of gaming itself. The 'Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom' Steel Book case might seem ridiculous, but it's also a wake-up call for the industry to address the misuse of game grading.


~Smash

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