Thursday, January 08, 2015

Selling Used Games, for 2015

This morning I had the pull in my brain to review some of my past entries on The Geek Spot. It's something I enjoy doing from time to time to see where I've been and how far I have evolved in my writing. What caught my attention first was a commentary about a Yahoo article, sponsored by RadioShack about trading in video games.

I can not believe that just a few years ago I sounded so juvenile. It almost seems like an entirely different person wrote this piece. Though it's good to see that my sarcasm meter is still in check.

"It’s a RadioShack ad. And oh look! There’s another picture-ad just to the right of this “article.” Wow!"

When you gloss over the bullet points, many of the things that I commented on regarding how to trade in games, and what will garner you the most cash, are still very valid points. As Wal-Mart expands their empire to include game trades, and the market is changing with digital downloads on the rise, this feels like an appropriate time to review my original blog post and reflect on the changing trade-in market.

The post broke down 9 key points to consider when trading in a video game for cash. Many of those are still valid, but I feel they need to be expanded upon:


1.) Your game will never be worth the original purchased value. 

Just like when you buy a television, a car, furniture, you name it - the moment that product is in your hands, the value of it will change. Most of the time, it will depreciate. It's considered "used" once you open the game from the box. As such, if you try to sell it back, the price is going to change. Any pawn shop or auctioneer will tell you the same thing. Not every game you own is of value. That's a common misconception, and TV shows such as Storage Wars both highlight and dim the reality of what is auction-able, and what is not.

So when you go to your local GameStop or try to sell your game through Amazon.com, keep in mind that you will never get the original $59.99, plus tax, value.


2.) Retailers are a business. Value of your game will be low.

This has not changed, and never will. Even as Wal-Mart promises trade in values that are higher then their competition, they are still low when you compare them to their resell value.

For those who are unaware, trade in stores like GameStop and Entertainment Co. re-sell the trades for a profit, just like a pawn shop. They buy an item for a low price and stock it on their shelves at a higher dollar amount to make a profit. That's how it works. That's the business of it. You can argue about your rights as a consumer all you want, but these companies are within every legal right to make prices as they see fit. If they feel your Madden 2015 is only worth $1.00, that's their call.

Which leads into...


3.) If you do not like the value of the trade, you don't have to take it.

Again I have to reflect on my experience in customer service, where it was common to receive this call on a daily basis:

"I only got $15 bucks for 20 games. I want my money back!"

When you go to have your items appraised by an auctioneer, it is not required for you to sell the products right then and there. You have the option to wait and think about it. The price given to you may not last, but it gives you a ballpark on what your stuff is worth.

Game trading stores work exactly the same way. You do not have to take their deal if you do not agree with it. Ever. You are within your right to say "No thank you," pack up your things and try another retailer. This concept seems lost on a number of people who feel that trading in games through Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc. is the only way to go and you HAVE to accept the response. You don't. And once you say yes and the transaction is finalized, that's it. No returns on trades.

Trading in games this way is convenient. That's the benefit of the system. Part of the cost is the lower value of your games. If you want a higher value, there are other outlets you can go through, such as selling them yourself online through auctioning websites. It does mean you have to put more work into it, marketing and writing descriptions on your products, but you have a greater chance to earn more money this way.


4.) Do Your Research.

I don't think I need to expand on this. It's fairly self-explanatory.


5.) Keep your games clean. Keep the manuals. Keep the boxes.

As the collectors start scrabbling up the rare games, the products that stand out the most are the ones that are in near-mint condition. Not just the games, but the games in the box. It's quite rare to find a game in such a state, and collectors eat them up.

If you are seriously considering on making gaming into a collectors field, it's fairly easy to do. Don't throw away your boxes or manuals and keep them dust free as much as you can. Place your games on a shelf, away from direct sunlight (which can cause the cases to warp or the box art to fade over time). Keep hands clean when you handle the boxes. Handles games with care so as not to scratch the discs.

These simple steps can really expand the lifetime of your games. And yes, collectors care about this stuff. We want products in good condition, not a broken disc. And with fewer discs coming out, the desire to own one is higher which means, better pricing on your products.


6.) Considering selling online.

The original #6 is gone now that stores are more centralized by corporations to follow a set system. Pricing on trades could vary from region to region, but that's not as common as it use to be. Selling online is all too common.

As mentioned in #3, if your stores trade in value are low, going online is a good alternative. Not everything will sell, keep in mind, but your old copy of Call of Duty Modern Warfare may net you a few extra dollars then what the store would offer.

Some things to keep in mind: You'll be in charge of taking good photographs of the game and it's condition. Be honest about your description and the condition of the game. Offer a reasonable price (no one wants Madden 2015 for $59.99)-this is where researching comes in handy. You have to consider things such as shipping fees and packaging.

This route does take more work, but can net you a higher profit. And if you have games that won't sell try website Declutter. They will buy any video game. Yep. Any. Video game. Some stores won't accept anything earlier then the PS3/XBox 360.


7.) Visit local gaming and comic conventions to sell your stuff.

As conventions are becoming more popular amongst the nerds and geeks of the world, game traders are setting up shop in the expo halls as well. Some will take your games off your hands right then and there, if you're willing to lug them to the convention. The trades are sometimes better then at the store. Sometimes, they're not. It's best to talk to the staff on a Friday of the convention and work out a potential sale before lugging in your collection.

Remember: Staff won't give you a dollar amount until their hands are on the game and they can inspect it.


8.) Be honest about your games pricing.

This is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when starting a collection. Not everything you own will have value. I know that some of my Nintendo games are not in great condition. Some of the labels are torn off or the boxes have been damaged heavily. I know their value is not as great. I keep them around because I like the games and I still play them on occasion. One day they'll be sold, and not for a high value. Maybe 50 cents each, and that's perfectly fine.

Don't get caught up in the hype of large game collections selling for tens of thousands of dollars. Be realistic with your games and their worth. It'll save you a lot of headaches over time.

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