Video gaming is not just a hobby for most of us here at Destructoid, it’s a life style. The problem with having video gaming as a life style is that it can get pretty expensive. Both PS3 and XBOX360 games all cost $60 brand new, and with so many quality titles coming out recently, like Metal Gear Solid 4
and Grand Theft Auto 4
, buying all these great games can easily add up to hundreds of dollars a year. One of the ways around this, to help ease our wallets and pocket books a bit, is to buy and trade used video games. However, I didn’t come here to talk about why you should buy or trade used video games. I want to tell you why you shouldn’t.
Why People Buy and Trade Used Games
Let’s face it, one of the easiest ways to lighten the burden on your wallet when being a hardcore gamer is to trade in your old used video games, and then buy a used game. Let’s say you wanted to trade in your used copy of GTA 4
for a used copy of MGS 4
. If you go to Gamestop
today they will give you $20 of trade in credit for GTA 4
and then charge you $55 for a used copy of MGS 4
. That means you only have to spend $35 to own what is essentially one of the best games of the year. You essentially just saved yourself $25, so how is it that buy and selling used games can be such a bad thing? Well let’s look a little deeper at this transaction and see what really just took place.
Why Game Stores Want You to Buy and Trade Used Games
When you purchased the used copy of MGS 4
not a single penny
of the money you spent went toward the developer Konami
. Developers, like Konami
, do not get any money when game stores like Gamestop
sell used copies of their games. Instead Gamestop
is banking all of the profit and keeping it themselves. It’s actually in Gamestop’s
best interest to sell used copies of games. If you look at the their financials from 2007 you’ll see that they made $650 million in gross profit by selling used games compared to only around $425 million for selling new games. That’s because when Gamestop
sells a new game for $60 they only make about $13 in profit. If they sell the same game used for $55, they are making between $30 and $35 in profit. That’s almost 300% more profit for selling a used copy of the game over a new copy. It’s in Gamespot’s
best interest to sell you used games.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy Used Games
however does not make games, they only sell them. It’s the hard working developers like Squaresoft, Insomianc, 2K Games, DICE
, and Konami
that are actually making the games. They are the ones that deserved to be paid for their hard work, not Gamestop[i/]. When you are buying used games you are not putting any money in the pockets of these developers who slave away for years making you quality games. You are putting it in the already stuffed pockets of the [i]Gamestop
board of directors and stock holders. Do you really think they care about you? Absolutely not! They care about one thing and that’s finding ways to make them selves even richer then they are.
Developers are out there working themselves as hard as they can, sometimes 80 hours a week, so that you can have an incredible gaming experience. Do you think anyone could make quality games like MGS 4
or GTA 4
? No, only the best of the best working long and hard hours could make these extremely high quality games and they need to be rewarded for their efforts. These are pretty big developers though. What about the little guys like Double Fine Productions
who made Psychonauts
. This was an incredible game that unfortunately didn’t have very good sales. It’s games like these that we especially need to buy the “new” copies of so that we make sure we are putting money into the developers pockets to thank them for the good job they did, because not many people are. You only put money in the developers’ pockets, where it belongs, when you buy “new” games, not “used game”.
Why You Shouldn’t Trade In Used Games
Trading in used games isn’t any better then buying used game, because when you trade in your used games you are doing yourself and the developers a disservice. First of all by trading in your used games you are enabling places like Gamestop
to sell them to someone else, instead of a new copy of the game. Essentially you are taking away money from the developers of the game you are trading in by allowing Gamestop
to sell it to other customers.
You are also doing a disservice to yourself by taking such a low trade in value from places like Gamestop
. It has been only 2 months since GTA 4
came out and already you can only get $20 of trade-in-credit for the game. That’s only 33% of the new price of the game. That’s like a slap in the face. Take some pride in these games that someone worked so hard to create. I would rather keep a game then get only $20 for it. It just makes me feel very disrespected when a company like Gamestop
offers me so little for such a great game. They only charge you so little because they can and because they want to make more profit. These are the reasons why you shouldn’t trade in your used games. Just keep them.
So as you can see I have laid out my reasons why you should not buy or trade used video games. I am sure many of you agree and many of you disagree. It’s hard not to buy or trade used games if you make so little money, or if you have so little disposable income. It’s just the nature of the beast that to keep the lifestyle of a hardcore gamer up you need to find ways to save money here and there. I implore you though to step back a moment and think about the harm you can cause by doing this. All you are doing is putting more money in the pockets of places like Gamestop
and less money in the developers’ pockets, the guys who worked so hard to make the games. We need to support the developers in their efforts to make higher and higher quality game that enrich our gaming experiences. Think about that next time you are in a game store and you are thinking about whether to buy the new copy or the used copy of a game.