Sunday, November 07, 2010

Poor Selection

I've discussed my disdain for the used video games business model before, but in a moment of weakness when we were cleaning out the house before putting it on the market last summer I traded in a pile of old DS games that I had already finished as well as loaned to Brenden. The games needed to go, and because of the time crunch I didn't have the ability to sell them piecemeal over Craigslist.

I didn't buy a game at that time, and so the credit remained at the store unused for over a year. A few weeks ago I was finally bored with Final Fantasy 13's extra missions and had a moment of inspiration on a game that I could buy used: Halo 3. It's old, but was populate enough for there to be many people looking to sell it, and all those kids who live and breathe Halo are quick to move on to the next big thing and the target market for a used game store to prey on.

So one weekend I used credit to pick up a cheap copy of Halo 3. It was reasonably fun and so a few weeks later I had beaten it and was ready for something different. So I traded it back in, making my total cost for the game a little less then $10. Not bad I suppose, although a little pricey for the limited hours I played it. Emboldened by this experience I was hoping to use up some more credit on another game.

I went into the store with half a dozen in mind that would work, and another few that would be last resorts. In what shouldn't have been a surprise to me, none of the games were there. Not the first choices, nor the reserves. Looking through the games that were there, I was disappointed with the atrocious selection, even though I went in prepared for the worst with multiple choices.

I suppose that is what you get when your business model is to buy games that no one wants anymore. But it was still frustrating to see shelf after shelf filled with shovelware and the few games that I might have swallowed hard and gotten priced for more then they cost new from Amazon. And so, all but $10 of my credit from a year ago still sits unused in their computer system.

At this rate in 5 or 6 years I should be free of having to feel guilty when considering just purchasing a game new rather then trying to get it used. Turns out the business model of giving you 20% of the price of the game for trade-in and charging you 80% of the new price to buy another used, pales in comparison to giving you 20% for trade-in and giving you nothing back in return.

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