If you’re a gamer, you no doubt have felt the sting of all those dollars leaving your pockets to pay for your hobby. You probably also have a decent collection of old games you’ve either finished playing or have lost interest in. It’s obvious that you can put some of those old games to work by trading them for new ones, but you need to do it the smart way to get the most bang for your buck (or game).
The most common way people trade their old games for new ones is via Gamestop, the megalith retailer that has become the dominant game store over the past few years. At a glance, Gamestop seems like a good system for keeping yourself in games, but is it really? It’s a fact that Gamestop makes little money on new game sales and system sales, as retailers usually have a discount from the manufacturer of only around 10% tops. The bulk of their revenue comes from used game sales, meaning that they have significant markup from the time they pay you for a used game you sell back to them and the time that they reprice it to put it out for sale again. It’s not unusual for Gamestop to pay you $25-30 for a new release (but gently used) game and then resell it for $55.
This is a sound business model for Gamestop, and it works. It clearly is not in the best interest of the game companies, though, as none of the used game revenue goes back to them, and it’s also not in the interest of the consumers, who basically are paying Gamestop to take away their games and make money off them. As this column is consumer- and fan-based, I’m not going to address the repercussions to the gaming industry or the game companies at this time, and we’ll just focus on how you, the gamer, are affected by this. In a word, unfairly. If Gamestop is able to resell your game for $5 less than the cost of a brand new copy, shouldn’t you be able to do the same? Absolutely. There’s no benefit at all to throwing the value of your old games away when you can cut out the Gamestop middle-man and earn back that value yourself.
The first obvious way to earn back more on your games is to sell the ones you don’t want on eBay. You’ll still lose a lot of the value on most older games, but you typically can resell a newer game in used condition for close to what you originally paid for it. That leaves you with much closer to the cost of a new game in value once you’re done. And if you buy a used game off eBay, the market will work for you there as well, likely giving you the purchase for less than you’d pay in the retail store for a used game.
If you’d rather not mess with reselling and buying, you can go the direct trade route. Of course you could trade or sell with your friends, but if that’s not feasible, I highly recommend Goozex. Goozex is a website set up to matchmake game trades, and it does a great job of helping you retain value for your games. Once you sign up for an account, you can list the games you have available for trade and the games you want to trade for. Every game has a point value assigned to it, so the same amount is paid to trade for a game as is paid to trade it away. This creates a nice user economy. Goozex makes its money by making you spend one trade credit every time you have a game coming to you from another user. Trade credits are a dollar a piece (less if you buy them in bulk), so you end up only putting out a buck each time you get a new game.
Game point values fluctuate on Goozex based on supply and demand models, so there will be some variances, but in general you’ll be able to find some great deals and stretch your gaming budget a long, long way. I just joined the site a couple of months ago and already have traded away a bunch of old PC, PS2, and original XBox games. In return, I’ve amassed a decent stack of 360, Wii, and DS games, with 2300 points left over (1000 points usually will get you a current-gen game shortly after release).
Give Goozex a try, and see if you like it. When you sign up, you’ll get 100 points and a free trade credit to use as you like. If Goozex doesn’t work out for you, you can at least snag a cheap game for free. Here’s the signup link if you’re interested:
I hope eventually someone puts together a website like bookmooch.com for games. This way you are only paying for shipping. But, a dollar ain’t bad and it sure beats GameStop’s offer.
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