Retailer Revolutionises Pre-Owned Games

There are mixed opinions regarding the pre-owned market for videogames. Whilst most developers and publishers frown upon retailers and websites buying back your games only to then sell them at a profit that the developers won’t see, I have spoken to developers whom have traded in games to evade forking out the full whack themselves.

Regardless of your views, there is no denying that the market is simply getting bigger. With everyone looking over their shoulders and expecting a “thank you very much but here is your last paycheck” from the boss, who can be blamed for saving a penny or two wherever possible?

According to Colin Sebastian, an analyst for Lazard Capital Markets, the pre-owned videogame industry is now worth an estimated $2.5 billion world wide. Many game retailers and websites are cutting in for a piece of the pre-owned pie, and Best Buy has just stuck their knife in too.

Barry Judge the chief marketing officer made this announcement in a recent blog:

“This week, several of our Dallas and Austin stores will test a kiosk-based model that allows customers to insert their used games into a kiosk that will scan it for functionality, and immediately issue a voucher that is instantly redeemable for a Best Buy gift card”.

So Best Buy are now joining the dance floor with big players such as Game Group (UK), GameStop, and sites such as eBay and Amazon are dancing to the tune of bigger profits and an increase in pre-owned activity. The developers on the other hand may be looking to crash the party and play their own record, with a rise in downloadable content and digital distribution, they are looking to claw back the revenue that (perhaps) is rightfully theirs.

I would like to offer a few tips to help you the reader get the best value:

1/ Shop around. This one is a little obvious, but seriously, look at all purchasing options. Naturally the internet is most likely the cheapest option, but a purchase online can be a ball-ache to return should you dislike the game. Ask yourself: is that free T-shirt for the pre-order worth the extra cash when you can purchase the same game elsewhere?

2/ Make big those puppy eyes and try a fast one. The old “I bought this for my little brother but my sister already bought him a copy, communication in this family sucks sometimes. Can I please exchange it for xyz?” You will be surprised how well this works, and have the title of the alternative game you wish to exchange you return for written down. Pulling out a piece of paper with the game you wish to exchange for listed will only make your appeal seem more genuine.

3/ When the store is quiet, spare a little time to chat to the staff. They are likely to be bored at work, and nine times out of ten would appreciate a conversation about the latest game or film. Getting your face known and gaining the trust of the staff may see your returns and exchanges become so much easier and you may even find you don’t need a receipt.

4/ Know your rights! Many retailers will try and bully you into accepting an exchange or gift voucher, don’t let this happen. If a product is faulty or doesn’t do what it says on the tin, you are entitled to a full refund, with or without a receipt. If you haven’t kept the receipt just tell the staff the date and rough time of purchase and ask them to search the system for the transaction. Better still, make as many purchases (even when making up the difference in a trade-in) with a debit card, your bank statement is just as good as a receipt.

In these times where even the retailers are taking desperate measures, we should make the extra effort to get a damn good deal. After all – we fund the bloody industry!

News sources:, Colin Sebastian via Edge Online