How Does The Business of Selling Used Video Games Work?

If you have been involved in gaming or playing or collecting video games for several years you might have faced the issue of not getting your money back from a game that you bought just some months ago. You are trying to trade the game and get a good price, right? Obviously this doesn’t work this way. Because the game shop you are dealing with has to make a living. You can get maybe 20 percentage of the money you paid for the game…if you buy a new game…with that money. Does this seem complicated or unfair? Let me explain this to you so we all can understand this issue better.

Of course if you are willing to sell the game yourself and directly to another collector or player you can get a decent amount of money out of the game. Game shops are facing the fact that they have to be profitable. There are lots of expenses. Shipping of products that are coming into the store, rent of the premise and or web services for a web shop and of course the subsistence of all of the workers. Now this is a business right here. You can make a living out of this. Easy it isn’t but possible it is (did that sound like Yoda from Star Wars?).

There are several companies here in my home land, Finland, that operate this type of business that I have described right here. They might have a shop, maybe even two or three shops, and of course a web shop. There are also many smaller shops that sell games here. You can also find some people that are interested in selling some of their game collections and we have platforms like Huuto dot net and Tori dot fi for someone who wants to sell any used stuff. And I must mention also re-use centers and flee markets whose prices are usually lower since they get the stuff they sell mainly for free. And this is where we get to people that take advantage of this and…it isn’t very nice as you can figure.

Where do you get games for a low price that you can sell to some collector? I know some people that have received an estate that has contained games. Usually there is a huge collection to be sold. And if you buy the whole stack you get it in a fair price, right? Now we are starting to figure this out. You can sell these games piece by piece. A game collector is someone that needs maybe one game or two or three games that he or she is missing from his/her collection. So you can sell a few game for a decent price and make a profit a bit by bit. This is the magic of selling used games. You buy a large batch and check the unique games prices and you will get a profit out of this.

What makes the used game’s price high or low? One important thing is the condition of the game. It can be a sealed copy. It can have a manual and all of the covers. Or maybe its a loose game with generic cover or no packaging at all. PC games can be packaged in so called “big boxes” that make them more valuable. And the condition of the box matters. It matters also how the labels look like and does the CD/DVD disc have scratches on it. Sometimes the condition of the game can be enhanced quite easily. I am not going into that so deeply.

Some games can also be rare ones. They might be so good that no one just wants to sell them. They can be rare in a way that they weren’t even so popular when they first got released. These types of games are just uncommon. Some games gained popularity and valuation only when some retro hobbyists noticed their true value. Some games are so amazing that they seem to define a whole gaming system. These types of games can be something like Super Mario for NES or Sonic for Mega Drive or something similar.

Should you sell your old games? This is a tough question. I regret selling my old PS1 back in the beginning of the 2000s. The system and all the games I had for it would have been so much more valuable for me today compared to the price that I got from them then. Like, I sold all of them for under 200 euros. If you consider only the money this is clearly a financial loss for me. And I would have liked to play these games still. I just didn’t seem to have such an interest for retro games back then. You have to consider how I got back into playing video games in 2006 when I got my original Xbox. And…it was 2017 when I started my plans for starting to collect older and retro gaming systems again.

For some years already I have been writing to this blog. It is very interesting. However this is only a way for me to express my thoughts. I am not currently getting anything financially from this. And so is the way also that game collectors necessarily don’t get anything from collecting games when it comes to money. Game shops do make profit. That is a good thing. Without them we wouldn’t have a place to trade and buy games.

What is it like to work in a game shop? Sometimes it is busy and sometimes there’s only a few customers. It can be a place to build your dreams and fantasies. It is definitely a technical job. I also got to write, of course, blog posts for the game shop that I worked in for six months. The biggest parts of my job were handling and shipping orders, responding to customer feedback and being a customers servant face-to-face and also in some other ways. It was a fun job. It was a busy job. And ultimately…it was barely profitable.

 

Selling Your Games

I have some experience of selling my video games. I thought PlayStation 1 was getting old and decided to sell it and all games I had. As you can imagine I am not satisfied of this move I made. I sold the console and games back in 2000 or 2001. Many game stores accept used games so you get a discount and some stores also even buy games and can pay you some money even if you aren’t buying anything.

How can you get an offer from your games that you would like to sell? Many game shops have instructions of how to achieve this. The shop is trying to get profit. You don’t get as much money out of your games as you would if you sell them directly to a collector or another gamer. It however doesn’t hurt to make a list of your games and in what condition they are in and send that list through email to the game shop.

When should you sell your game or games? That depends a lot about what kind of a gamer you are. Do you play or collect retro games? Do your games have a value for you? If you have a an old collection you have kept in a closet or in storage and you don’t display them there might be no reason for you to keep your games or consoles laying there unused and collecting dust.

You have to keep in mind that you might regret it if you sell all your old retro games. That’s what happened to me back in the days as I sold my PlayStation just like I told in the first paragraph of this blog post. It might be easier for a gamer to sell a recently published new game that you maybe have just completed than selling a game that you played as a young teen. We have this thing called nostalgia, right.

There has been a lot of discussion going on about digital games. You have to remember that physical copies of games are limited with the time they are usable and playable. Moving to emulators might be a good thing. There is just all this discussion and thinking involved when we are talking about piracy and what’s legal and what’s not. So we have to be a bit careful when the talk turns to piracy.

I am not going to link directly any specific game shops. If I would they would be in Finland any way. I can say that I know maybe four different places that accept used games. You can just email your question to the local game shop and have a word or two with them.

Different Platforms For Releasing Games

You might have thought about releasing your own game or you might just be curious about what platforms can be used for playing games. This is interesting for me as a programmer so in this blog post I am going to open up a bit these different ways you can today play and even design games.

I have been making websites as a hobby for very long time. I started back in the 90s. To be precise it was the end of 90s. Back then we didn’t have any mobile devices at all. Bluetooth wasn’t where it is today. I think there even wasn’t this thing we call USB standard. So if you had a PC you had to plug in your gaming pad some other way. I don’t recall what that way was. Basically if you wanted to play with game controller you would be preferring PlayStation over PC.

But what I was saying is that one platform that you can make games on is the web browser. You can develop your game with only HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If you make a game this way it is very easy to release it. You just have to upload your game to a web host. There are places on internet that actually sell these games also. So this is one way to make a game.

You might want to go mobile. This means you have to learn Java and after you have mastered it you must learn software development in Android (or iOS and ┬┤the programming language that is used with it). I have tried my hand at Android development. I found it to be very hard. So I gave up on this idea. But this isn’t what you should do. If you have an interest there’s nothing that can stop you from downloading the appropriate IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and start working on it.

One way to release a game is on some gaming console. This is a bit harder since manufacturers of gaming consoles tend to have a sense of control over what kinds of games are being released on their systems. Sometimes you even need a specific development kit for the desired console. So this is a hard way for an independent software developer. It can also cost a lot of money. This way includes also handheld consoles like Nintendo Switch Lite. You might notice that Nintendo is going in it’s own direction as it doesn’t really care so much about mobile gaming.

You can also release a game for an old gaming console. You probably don’t have an appropriate development kit but I can assure you that there are lots of software tools for accomplishing this. So you actually can make a game that is playable through emulator. You can use emulators to play old games on a wide variety of devices that include smart phones, computers like Raspberry Pi and personal computers. There are emulators for playing games of for example Commodore 64, NES, SNES, Master System, Mega Drive, MS-DOS, PlayStation 1 & 2, Dreamcast, GameCube, Wii and many others.

There are also many operating systems that games for PC can be released on. There is Windows, right now it is Windows 10, and many versions of Linux (like Ubuntu). There are also Linux distributions that are dedicated to retro and emulator gaming. I can name some of them. There is Lakka OS, RetroPie and Recalbox just to name some of them.

If you don’t want to release your game for free there are many online software stores that can be used to sell your game. There is Steam and GOG which are big names that have numerous amounts of games available. There are also lots of other options that you can find using your favorite search engine.

I didn’t go to what tools you can use for developing your own game. This might be a good time to have a break. I will come back with another post for you very soon. It would be a good idea to present for you some tools that can be used for developing a game for Android, Windows, Linux or for web browsers. This would be interesting wouldn’t it?

Making games is big business

Right now video games are more popular than ever. PlayStation 4 has now sold more than 110 million copies. Nintendo Switch has sold more copies than Nintendo Entertainment System. Switch and PS4 haven’t been around so long. Switch was released in 2017 and PS4 in 2013. Let’s think about this. NES was released in 1983 and the most popular and the most sold gaming console ever PS2 was released in 2000. So PS4 has been around only 7 years and Switch only 3 years. What will these figures be after 15 years? You don’t have to be any genius to figure out what’s going on. Games are popular. Making games, and selling them, is big business.

I sincerely hope that big game companies keep bringing more quality in form of good games to growing group of gamers. Making a HD remake is sometimes okay but where are the new innovations? I don’t meen big changes, such as virtual reality, but those small things that made video games of late 90s and early 2000s so great. Game developers would have to take time to experiment with a gaming console and find its limitations and opportunities. That would be a way to win my hearth back.

I have already said this. I don’t care how excited you are about PS5. I am not going to be one of the first ones to buy it. I bought PS4 back in 2014 and I was a bit disappointed in it. That just tells about me as a person a lot. It tells us about my history in gaming. I started messing around with video games well before I even bought my first console. That’s just where I’m form and that also tells a lot about in which direction I’m headed.

I am a bit worried. At the same time I am hoping the best. I keep buying PS4 titles for twenty euros and I have now about five or so games that I haven’t even opened up. I haven’t played them. I haven’t even installed them. Why did I buy them? I don’t know the right answer. I just hope we get some very good games in the future. I have to also get to my retro games at times to get the idea of what a perfect, or at least good, game is and why. And what gaming means to me…Well, there’s a lot to think about there…

The picture is a screenshot that I took from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_game_consoles

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