Used video games are in demand, too, They can be great gifts, as they are sold at a discounted price. And if you are selling or trading them in, used games or consoles can provide a much-needed source of funds during the holidays – even if you are shopping for a new console for yourself.
All players are not alike. One player’s old game is another player’s new treasure. For all the sellers looking to unload a bundle of games they have finished, there are buyers who may be bargain shopping for titles they’ve yet to dive into.
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Looking to buy, sell video games?
Your first consideration should likely be GameStop. The retailer has about 3,300 stores across the U.S. that buy video games and consoles – and some other devices such as smartphones – in exchange for cash or store credit, which can be used to buy new or used products.
GameStop has seen a wave of customers lately with the new consoles’ arrival and holiday deals,” said Chris Homeister, the company’s chief merchandising officer. “The combination of new hot titles and arrival of the highly anticipated PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Series X|S consoles, along with the great holiday sales events we have hosted, has indeed increased foot traffic into our stores, which have implemented rigorous safety protocols to ensure the safety of our customers and associates,” he told USA TODAY.
More GameStop customers are also taking advantage of the chain’s contactless sales procedures including online store pickup, home delivery including same-day delivery options, Homeister says.
You can use GameStop’s mobile app or website to see what your trade-in value would be. A PlayStation 4 Pro would net $175 in store credit and $140 in cash, while a copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man would be worth $4 for credit or $3.20 in cash. (You can get 10% more in value if you belong to GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards program ($5 monthly/$60 annually).
If you are shopping for used consoles or games, a PS4 Pro would cost $369.99, while a preowned Spider-Man game would sell for $17.99.
So GameStop does make money on your trades. But that’s part of business – and probably the easiest way to buy and sell used games and consoles.
“GameStop will pretty much buy anything (except sports titles that are more than 3 years old). They might give you only $1, but they will buy anything,” said Michael Pachter, who tracks the video game industry at Wedbush Securities. And the retailer “excels because it has a large inventory at every store, balances its inventory so everything is available, allows purchase online with in-store pickup, and allows gamers to find used products and have them shipped.”
Like many other retailers, GameStop has closed some of its stores, nearly 1,000 over the last year or so, primarily because the COVID-19 pandemic led to business shutdowns across the nation.
Pros & cons of online sales
You could possibly make more money selling games online – and if you are a buyer, you might find some systems or games (or collections of games) you wouldn’t find at GameStop.
The downside? You have to get more involved with the transaction personally and may find yourself having to trust the buyer or seller to complete the deal.
•eBay. Many video gamers said they routinely hit eBay to buy and sell used games. You can find a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X (starting about $700) on eBay but won’t get a deal as they are hard to get.
Pre-owned PlayStation 4 consoles started at about $250, which would get you more than if you sold at GameStop. The Spider-Man game could be found used starting at $3.50, with new copies priced as high as $30. The Xbox One game “Gears 5” could be found priced from $8.40 to about $40.
A tip for shoppers on eBay and other online markets: Check the seller’s profile information for feedback from other shoppers.
If you want to sell on eBay, the site will walk you through the process, even offering you advice on a starting bid. eBay is a solid site to sell on because it has its own buyer protection plan and most shoppers and sellers use PayPal, which also has a protection plan. Buyers who do not complete a purchase can have that unpaid item added to their record.
Other online video game sales sites
•Amazon. If you are shopping for used and new games and consoles, Amazon is a good option, too. Sellers must register and pay a $39.99 monthly fee (and pay selling fees) to be on the site. New and used PS4s could be found starting at $645. You could find a used copy of “Gears 5” for just under $15; a new one fetched $17 to $25.
•Facebook Marketplace. Several video game shoppers and sellers said they use the social network’s bazaar for games, in part because these can be local transactions. But use the mobile app so you can see a seller’s rating (they aren’t viewable on the web). Five stars is positive, three is negative. Many Nintendo Switch and PS4 consoles could be found for sale locally, but some sellers had no star ratings, which means they are new or first-time sellers.
You can purchase through Facebook to use its purchase protection plan. If you plan to meet the seller in person, Facebook has some advice for in-person meetings, including protections to take due to the coronavirus pandemic.
•Best Buy. The electronics retailer takes trade-ins, too. But a check found an Xbox One netting only $50.
Local retailers may also sell used video games – simply search online for “used video games on sale near me” – and stores such as Goodwill often stock them.
Some other online sales sites buying games and consoles include Decluttr, Mercari, Craigslist and Canadian free classifieds site Kijiji, And if you are just shopping, GameFly sells used games in addition offering a subscription rental service.
But most consumers prefer GameStop for the easy transaction and the trust factor of online sites, Pachter says. And beyond that, “online services don’t cover shipping costs and might reject what you send in.”
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.