that a class action suit filed this week in the Central District
of California against video game grading service Wata. This is on behalf of a
class, which VGC estimates could exceed 10,000, who paid Wata for video game
grading and encapsulation. Wata was named in
last year alleging serious conflicts of interest.
This new lawsuit follows the same theme, accusing Wata of manipulating the
market for vintage games, as well as advertising unrealistic turnaround times
for its grading services. Here's the most serious part:
It’s alleged that
Wata president and CEO Deniz Kahn had been working with Heritage Auctions
co-founder Jim Halperin to manipulate the market through press releases and
interviews claiming the value of retro games would continue to rise.
Crucially, Heritage Auctions’ Halperin was also listed as an advisor on the Wata
site, but this conflict of interest was never disclosed. In a
statement issued to VGC last summer, the company said it “strongly refutes
any allegation that it or its officers are involved in shill bidding, ‘market
manipulation’ or any similarly illegal or unethical practices.”
Court documents claim that before Wata’s inception, the highest price ever paid
for a video game was a copy of Super Mario Bros, which
sold on eBay for a little over $30,000 in July 2017.