Collectors Universe, parent company of PSA, is expanding into the collectible video game industry with the acquisition of Wata Games.
Wata is considered a pioneer in the video game grading realm.
The acquisition of Wata marks the first major categorical expansion beyond trading cards, sports memorabilia and coins for Collectors Universe. Other Collectors Universe services include PSA and coin grading division PCGS.
“Collectibles across categories, including trading cards and sports memorabilia, are now firmly considered an alternative investment class by both hobbyists and investors,” said Nat Turner, Executive Chairman of Collectors Universe. “With those categories seeing a stratospheric rise recently, we’ve identified video games as the next area primed for similar expansion. We’re partnering with Wata because they are the experts in video game grading and there’s simply no other way to recreate the amazing and trusted company they have built.”
Games graded by Wata regularly sell for record prices. In addition to the recent $1.56 million Super Mario 64 sale, other Wata-graded games that have set records include a 1987 early production copy of The Legend of Zelda, which sold for $870,000 as well as a copy of Super Mario Bros. for NES, which sold for $660,000.
They’ve also brought strong prices in a robust market on eBay.
Wata will continue to operate as a standalone business with existing leadership. The expansion into the video game industry follows the acquisition of Collectors Universe earlier this year by an investor group led by Turner — a longtime collector of sports cards and collectibles — as well as D1 Capital Partners L.P. and Cohen Private Ventures, LLC.
PSA says the acquisition “builds on the company’s mission to provide every hobbyist and alternative investor with the best customer experience, tools and information available.”
Just two weeks ago, Collectors Holdings acquired majority ownership of Goldin Auctions which has already announced plans to expand into the video game realm.
“We founded Wata to elevate the video game hobby and grow the industry overall by adding legitimacy, transparency and professionalism to it,” said Deniz Kahn, President and Founder of Wata Games. “Nat and the entire Collectors Universe team have demonstrated a commitment to expertise and are investing in the business for the benefit of hobbyists and consumers. With their expertise and resources, Wata will be better able to service its growing demand, fuel the hobby and provide new and long-time customers with the best experience possible.”