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.