Although video games are often compared to movies, the truth is that the two mediums are definitely not alike. While movies can be watched over and over again, games typically require a long investment. Once a game sequel comes out, you probably won't want to play the original anymore. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but, honestly, when was the last time you played Halo 2? The point is that for a $60 entry price, you generally get 8-10 hours of disposable fun. And when it's over, you just stick the game on the shelf and let it collect dust. However, to most consumers, the easy solution to this problem is simple: just trade the game in. Not only do you get that unused disc out of your home, you get some cash (or store credit) back. It seems like a decent proposition. However, game trade-ins aren't always the great deal you may think they are. Here are five reasons why.
5. You Never Get Your Money's Worth.
Sure, you wouldn't expect to get a lot of money for Madden 10, but would you expect to get less than 50% back on a game that was released last week? Trade-in values are ridiculously low. If you are looking to get a cash return on your trade-ins, you can expect maybe a quarter of the price you paid for the game. And that's if you're lucky. Unfortunately, if you want to trade in a game that came out over a year ago, you are looking at single-digit trade-in values, regardless of whether you want store credit or cash. If you are looking to get some fast cash by trading in games, you will undoubtedly be disappointed.
4. Paying Money to Get Money Doesn't Make Sense.
Plenty of retail stores will give you a petty amount of cash without making you sign up for anything. However, if you want to get store credit, take advantage of bonus trade-in specials, or be able to stack your trade-ins together to put down money on a specific game or console you've been working towards, you'll probably need to jump through some hoops. You might get asked to sign up for a membership, subscribe to a magazine, or join some sort of frequent buyer's club. And these "benefits" usually come with some kind of annual fee that an over-zealous sales associate will try to convince you will be worth your money. Why should you have to pay money to get a better deal on something? It's a backwards system designed to get money from consumers instead of to them.
3. The Deal Never Benefits You.
Many consumers have the mindset that anyone who is willing to take something off their hands is really doing the consumer a favor. On the surface, it seems like a good deal. But consider this: when retailers get games from distributors, they usually pay about 85-90% of MSRP to get the games in bulk. They then turn a game around that they bought for about $50 for the MSRP of $60 and make $10 in profit. It's a pretty good deal, but not the best. However, when you trade in a game (that you presumably bought new from them, thus already earning them $10) you are giving them rock-bottom distribution prices. They give you $20, and then turn the game around for $40 or even $50 bucks, thus earning them double (or in some cases triple) the profit they would have made if they had gone through traditional distribution methods. You are essentially used as a tool for higher profits when you trade in a game, and you don't even get compensation that reflects your standing as a small-time video game distribution company.