Amazon Will Now Buy Your Used Games

Much to the displeasure of developers and publishers, the used games market just got bigger. Amazon launched on Thursday a used games trade-in program where gamers can send in their unwanted software in exchange for Amazon credit.

The trading process as explained on the Amazon Games Room blog: “Our video game trade-in process is easy. Go to and discover games that you want to trade among hundreds of titles. Once you’ve found your game, print off a prepaid shipping label (no cost to you), drop it in the mail, and you’re done. Once games are received and verified by the merchant, an Gift Card will be deposited into your account. You can spend that Gift Card towards the purchase of millions of eligible items at”
Amazon does warn that the trading program is in beta, but those who do try it out over the next two weeks will get 10 percent off a future purchase of a game or accessory from the Amazon game store.

Of course, this form of game trading is much different from doing it at a GameStop, where one just carries in a bundle of games for an employee to scan before telling you that your games are worth less than a song. Trading with Amazon requires deliberate effort to check the values and then to pack and ship them off (for free).

The incentive for doing this, however, is that you should end up with more trade-in credit for your games from Amazon as compared to GameStop. Cnet did a quick comparison of titles and found that Amazon gave higher trade values than either GameStop or Game Crazy.

GameStop, however, doesn’t seem bothered one bit by Amazon’s entry. In fact, GameStop CEO Dan DeMatteo forecast doom on the operation. "I give the probability of this working at zero," he told Edge, adding that EB gone through the online trading business. "Electronics Boutique also tried it and failed. There's no consumer acceptance. With consumers, there is an immediacy for currency when they want to buy a new game. … It didn't work for us, and I can't see it working for them."

Game developers aren’t too pleased to see another corporate giant enter the used market. Didier Malenfant, CEO of the studio Ready at Dawn (God of War: Chains of Olympus, Daxter), said in the Edge report of Amazon’s move, “It goes to show that, just like rentals, [used games are] a very lucrative market, no matter how hard some of the retailers who do this are trying to deny it. It's a huge part of their bottom line.”

“Problem is, it's not a sustainable market. The more that people's money goes toward used games, the less goes into making new games. Without new games, there aren't any used games.” Malenfant further explained, “Less revenue for new games leaves us with only two choices in order to pay for their development: 1) Spend less money on making the games in the first place 2) Charge more for each game that is sold. So this only leads to bad games or more expensive games. Either way, it’s not a great outlook, is it?”

Check out Amazon's Trade-in Store here and let us know what you think.

Marcus Yam is a technology evangelist for Intel Corporation, the latest in a long line of tech-focused roles spanning a more than 20-year career in the industry. As Executive Editor, News on Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, Marcus was responsible for shaping the sites' news output, and he also spent a period as Editor of Outdoors & Sports at Digital Trends.

  • “Problem is, it's not a sustainable market. The more that people's money goes toward used games, the less goes into making new games. Without new games, there aren't any used games.”

    Bull$hit. All the used games were at one point a new game.

    It's impossible to buy a used "Gotta have it" game when it's first released, since they're all new. By the time there is a market for that used game, there's more topselling, "new" games.

    A used game has something of a half-life if you will, each time it changes hands, there's less and less a chance that it's worth selling or even playable.

    The game gets scratched, it changes hands, gets scratched again.

    If game publishers worried more about making fun, quality games with replay value, than how many units they can move, they wouldn't need to worry so much about the re-sale of their older products.

    Anything that pisses off Big Brother, I'm down with.

  • NuclearShadow
    I just love how they make the reselling of games sound like the end of the game industry. In truth however the sales of used games most likely doesn't harm them at all since most people sell or trade in older games where the sales have already halted.

    Could you imagine if we applied this to the car industry? Imagine the car industry fighting against used car sales with their defense being it makes them lose profits because people aren't forced to buy brand new cars. So once you own a car your stuck with it or you junk it. This is exactly what the gaming industry is saying with video games.
  • NuclearShadow
    Oh and I would also like to point out that the used game market is basically a must for places like GameStop because they actually make a extremely small profit whenever a new game is sold. (something like a few dollars out of the $50) This means if a game fails to sell all its new copies before a price cut is a must it could actually lead into a loss for the store. So these types of shops rely on the sales of used games and would most likely go under without them.
  • gasaraki
    That comment's so bull crap. What about the used book market? The used car market? If I buy something, I have the right to sell it to anyone of give it to some one else to sell. It's not going to kill anything.
  • grieve
    Imagine real-estate! Lol.. that is just a pathetic statement.
  • techtre2003
    The used and rental market has been around as long as video games have been. As a kid, for every Nintendo game I got through retail, I had 5 from garage sales, pawn shops, used game dealers in magazines, etc... and the titles I didn't buy, I rented from the local video store. I'm sure I wasn't the only one like that. That was in the 80s. I'd say video games have done alright since then despite the used market!
  • djayjp
    Person A buys New Game X, then sells it for New Game Y, Person B buys used game X, then sells it for Used Game Y... etc., no problems here. New games will always command the highest price/demand, if a used game is in short supply and in high demand (i.e., a just-released game), then it will command a high price, thus giving the user/seller (person A) more money to buy more new games.... New things will always command a higher price and demand than old things (especially with technology, except in exceptional circumstances). By going download/digital-distribution only (which means you can't truly keep it or take it), publishers cannot increase their revenue except for small purchases (due to convenience/impulse) because you can't magically increase the flow of money into the system (vg industry). Besides, with game rental services this all shouldn't be a problem for consumable/short-term games (i.e., play through once and you don't want it).
  • djayjp
    grieveImagine real-estate! Lol.. that is just a pathetic statement.
    Last time I checked, real-estate wasn't manufactured... ;)
  • g-thor
    Note to the gaming industry:

    If it's such a lucrative market (trade in old games for new), then why aren't you letting your "valued" customers send you old games you sold them and giving them credit against your new games? Give us a garunteed return on our purchase toward future purcahses, then you get to keep it all, and you can re-sell the old games yourselves.

    Time to cut the BS and admit that your greed exceeds your grasp.
  • falchard
    Most new games for the PC are being sold over services like Direct2Drive and Steam. Awesome method, but leaves no used games.