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 How GameStop Screws You on Video Game Trade-Ins

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PostSubject: How GameStop Screws You on Video Game Trade-Ins   Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:26 pm

In the last GameStop article (read it by clicking here if you're interested), my main focus was on the used game sales at the largest US based video game retailer. I should be clear and state that any scenarios I present while writing this article is an actual scenario I have encountered on a regular basis involving customers, and not just a fabrication. We get a lot of customers dissatisfied with new games, which end up in me explaining why to buy used. I'm willing to make exceptions on new game returns depending on the situation. I think the used game market should hang around as long as it can, and I think you should have the right to do whatever you want with something that you have purchased. However, I have never and will never trade any of my games in. No matter which way you look at it, you shouldn't have to trade in over five popular old games just to buy a new one. I can't justify that in any way, but I also can't speak for everyone. So my only solution to the unfairness of trade prices is for you to just not use the GameStop service. This article will focus more on how GameStop is helping to kill the used-games market; even though that’s the exact opposite result they are seeking.

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I've never really understood people that buy a game new and trade it in for less than what they paid a few weeks later, but it's their money to bounce around. The trade-in system by default has to suck in order to make the used gaming sales work, and as I stated before, the most substantial way for consumers to improve things would be to stop buying poorly made games and for developers to stop making them; but none of that is going to happen anytime soon. Even though I may not support the trade system, I don't think the used market is a bad thing. The biggest benefit to buying used over new is that GameStop has a nice policy, which allows you to return any used game within 7 days if you don't like it. While this might warrant customers to treating the place like somewhat of a rental service, we monitor the receipts and only allow so many used returns per customer if they keep coming back. Now to elaborate on the “$18 in the first week” scenario; that isn't a fabrication at all; I won't spend any time arguing that terrible games should have decent trade in prices, because they shouldn't. There would be no way for this business to work; especially considering that I think most games made these days are not worth their price.

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I definitely think that certain games and annual sports titles warrant lower trade prices. It's another way of displaying the market, which ignorant consumers are constantly sure to well...ignore. Supply and demand, yada yada yada, some of the sales tactics aren't really that necessary. The first Mass Effect sold used for around $14.99 just months ago, but as of right now it is $29.99. The release of Mass Effect 3 has created a demand for those that missed out on the first installment, or want to experience it again. If a game is rarely traded in and popularly purchased, the prices rise. Anyone that knows anything at all about economics and capitalism should not find that surprising in the least. One of my favorite racing games, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, still sells used at $34.99 and it was made in 2005. If I were to detail how many price changes I see regularly on popular old titles and poorly made new titles, a lot of you might be surprised. Honestly, arguing about the prices of trade-ins and used games is like arguing that Madden should be $40-$50 every year since it only sees about 8 months of development time. The only reason it isn't cheaper is because EA knows that consumers will buy it every year, regardless of the price, and GameStop uses a similar tactic with their own sales.


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