"It's hard explain to others that people sold off their entire collections and moved on, when the previous owners are not around to talk about it."
It has happened in the past, and still continues, otherwise dealers do not have games to sell.
It is incredible moving profitable market target that all dealers compete against.
They rely on mass market advertising to bring in owners to sell their games.
Sometimes trade games for parts, and vice versa, or even overstock NIB games.
I also have seen some insane trades for a new game where a dealer easily makes $2-3K on a flip the owner does not understand.
"Just a game."
I don't know if I have ever seen an "exit stage right" sale period however.
It is fairly constant, until the economy crashes, then a spike occurs so people can pay their bills.
Pinball machines are some of the first things to go out the door.
That is when serious collectors dive bomb into the market, just like the dealers.
All successful long term dealers manage both NIB games as distributors, and retain used game stock as supplementary income.
They buy up every mass quality collection they can afford, on a single offered price.
It is very effective.
In fact, they try to hoard as many games as they have space for overall in order secure their company during lean times, offer additional variety when new machines are not available, and still have something simply to sell other than Stern "WWE"s.
Most of the original reimports from 2001-2005 are long gone from overseas in bulk.
They ended up in the United States predominantly, with some in Australia and New Zealand.
Europe did not seem to really care at the time.
I helped move several hundred machines back to the US from 2002-2004 to several dealers, but I was not the only one.
However, if the market drives the sales, the dealers can artificially exclude availability of games, thereby retaining existing price inflations, and distribute their existing inventory that others may not believe exist, however and whenever they want.
This is called the "trickle effect" with artificial scarcity, and it seriously works for some titles.
Right now, dealers are just trying to keep up with demand and sell as many games as possible in the shortest time they can.
Smart ones know nothing lasts forever.
The dealers that don't survive simply are too small to continue business, or it was a sideshow for fun and a few extra dollars when there are "happy times".
Anybody remember this export photo to Australia?