Most gamers do it. Over the years, gamers clock up so many games that they forget about them, and sometimes gather dust. That, or they’ve played the game so much they have no need for it anymore. Trading in games can be a good thing for a gamer, an average thing for the buyer and a bad-ish thing for the developer/publisher. But with online passes and one time activation codes, trading in games and buying pre-owned games may soon gather up dust itself. So since trading in games is still “a thing”, let’s use it as much as we can, eh?
I, myself, have traded in so many games over the years. You would not believe it. Well… maybe you would. There are many steps you should take in trading in games. However, some people skip so many steps that they end up with half the money they might deserve. So let’s take you through the steps you should take, and the way I sometimes try to snaggle that little bit of extra dosh. Ha. Snaggle. Did I just invent a word?
Step 1: Thinking About It
The idea of trading in games doesn’t usually just “pop into your mind”. You don’t just wake up one morning and go: “I’m going to trade in games I don’t play anymore”. It’s usually occurs when there’s a new game coming out, or DVD, or book, or a lamp… So some people resort into trading in games. At first, you shouldn’t delve right into it. Be sure that this is what you want to do to earn that bit of cash, and if you are certain, think about the games you may not want any more at the top of your head (do not go to your collection just yet.) Just think about them at the top of your head in order to keep that idea in your head. Looking at your collection is like cheating, and where is the fun in that?
Step 2: RetailersAgain, don’t look at your collection just yet (unless you decide to play a game or 2 in which case you may have no choice… But still don’t skip this step!). Yet again, at the top of your head, think of some nearby retailers that accepts unwanted games, like Gamestop, GAME or maybe even Blockbuster. Maybe even an old trading post that might be around the corner. If you can’t think of any retailers that accept unwanted games, do a bit of research. Once you’ve got some retailers, choose the three you trust the most (yeah, a trading post might be better than Gamestop to be honest with you). Check how close by they are, and if they’re in the next town, it might not be worth the trip. However if you live in a town in which a store that accepts unwanted games is unheard of, going to the next town over may be your only choice. You could always look for sites that accepts unwanted games, but then there’s all the post and packaging and “it might take 28 days for the money to reach you” and blah blah blah.
Step 3: Your Collection
Now look at your collection. Take a look through your entire collection and decide on games you just plain hate, you don’t really want to play any more, games you think may sell well and could live with out and so on. Another thing is that some people tend to keep a game they bought just 2 weeks ago that they ended up disliking, and wait a year before before they decide to even think about trading in. If you bought a recent game and didn’t like it, put it in your collection for two reasons:
1. Newer games always sell for a lot
2. There may be some deal in which “if you trade in this game, get this game for $10/£5”. Trust me. They exist!
Step 4: Motion Controlled Games
If you don’t own a Kinect/PS Move (maybe even a Wii), skip this step.
When I walked into Blockbuster to trade in some games, the man behind the till told me that motion controlled games (such as Kinect and PS Move) tend to sell a lot more than your average Call of Duty game (by sell, I mean you’ll get more money for a motion controlled game than Modern Warfare 2). Why? Because technically, the technology is still new. The Kinect and PS Move only came out last year (2010. Hello if you are reading in 2012 and beyond!) and trust me, there has been high demand for both. So if there are any motion controlled games you just can’t put the effort into playing, or it’s just a horrendous title, slap it in the sell collection.
Step 5: Check for Damage/Certain Attributes
Game retailers are picky. If a game is barely scratched, they’ll more than likely accept your game. If it’s horrendously scratched to the point that the works 50% of the time, then the game is no good and they most likely won’t take it it. I suppose you could try anyway, but that is your call. Also make sure you check for a bar code as retailers use that to check how much you should get for the game. If it doesn’t have a bar code, then 99% of the time, the retailer won’t accept your game. Why do you think most press copies of a game come with no bar code and a big sign across it saying “Not for Resale”? To prevent the press from selling it in stores. I even tried the trading post with a press game I didn’t need. They just won’t accept it.
Step 6: Confirm your List
And I mean confirm your list. There have been times when I have traded in a game, and I thought: “Oh. I want to play that game now.” So make sure that before you take the games to a store, be sure those are the ones you want to sell. Once you get there, there may be no turning back. Also, there may be games in your collection that make you think: “I don’t think I’ll get a lot for that” and you might be right. At Blockbuster, I got £2 for Bioshock 2. And they’ll probably sell it for £12.95 too.
Step 7: Register an Account
Some stores may require an account to trade in games. Some stores don’t. If they do, be sure to make an account, whether in your name or your parents. The reason? Store credit. Some stores do it all by receipt, but some stores force you to make an account, and then they put it in your E-Wallet.
Step 8: Take Your Games to Retailers to Compare Prices
I tend to always skip this step, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
When I tried to sell “DJ Hero” with the DJ deck, my Blockbuster wouldn’t accept it as they had too many out the back. I went to my local Trading Post and they wouldn’t accept it because it took them ages to sell it. I went to a third retailer and got a fair amount of dosh for it… £10. That’s better than no sell for me. Although I could have tried Ebay perhaps.
Anyway, besides that point on why you should try many retailers: remember when I told you to choose the top 3 retailers you trust the most? Well take your games to your number 3 most trusted retailer (yes, you should have ranked them too). Before you go to the checkout of that store, take a look around and look out for the offers I mentioned earlier. The ones where they say “trade in this, get this for $10/£5”. You never know… that might just be the game you’ve always wanted.
Once you’ve done so, go to a check out, show them your games and ask how much money they would give you. And be sure to ask how much in cash AND store credit. Store credit is usually almost double the amount you would get for cash, but of course your only limitation is that you can only use the credit in the chosen store. Don’t always be tempted by how much they would give you because your other two stores on your list may offer more. Don’t think that because you’ve shown them your games that they won’t give them back to you before you’ve even decided what to do. Tell them you may come back later and then see what the other two retailers will offer. And then once you’ve found the one that offers the most money, off you go.
Step 9: Returning to the Chosen Retailer
Now here’s the kicker. You may go back to the retailer, give them your games and they may offer you more, or maybe even less than what they previously stated. That’s where people get tripped up. If you’re getting more than what you were previously offered, if I were you… I would just accept it with no questions asked. But if you got less than what you were previously offered… make a fuss about it. Don’t just go “oh well”. You be brave enough to say “I came here yesterday and I was offered £30 for all my games, and now you only offer me £25. That’s outrageous.” Don’t go too crazy though. Sometimes it works; they’ll give you the original price, maybe more. Sometimes it doesn’t work but do not panic either if it doesn’t work, as they ain’t exactly going to say “You’re asking too much. We’re only going to give you £20 now for your attitude!”. If they do that, you get that bloody manager!
Step 10: Choice Time
If you were offered £15 cash for all your games and were going to spend the money on going to the cinema or something like that, then cash is your option. However, if there’s a game coming out that you want, go for store credit with no questions asked. You may want to buy your game elsewhere because it has a cheap little pre-order item, but the thing is, the store credit is essentially paying for most of the upcoming game, if not all of it. Ask yourself this: Do you REALLY need that exclusive Batman suit? Are you even going to use it?
Step 11: Beware of Pre-Orders
You now have your money. Hooray! But just before you leave, the person behind the counter may say something that may catch your attention. “Would you like to pre-order this?” and they’ll tell you facts about a game that they read from a sheet. They’ll make a game sound great, but if you come to play it, it may be the worst game ever. Don’t let them tempt you into a game that isn’t on your list of “must have games”. Otherwise, they may have just took their money back. However, if it’s a game you have wanted for a long time, then sure listen in. Tell them you want to pre-order the said game.
Step 12: Home
Finally, once you’re home, forget about the games you just sold. They’re gone now. You can’t get them back unless you bought them again for the retailers price. Think about that new game coming out next week that you just can’t wait for.
And that’s the guide. I know what you may be thinking: “So much hassle just for money”. If you want to be losing £30 out of a potential £60, then don’t follow the 12 steps. It’ll be your loss and the retailers gain, and all I’m trying to do is help you out.