Gaming My Way

24 Jun

Buying Video Games New or Used

When I go out to buy a video game, I walk over to the shelf, grab a copy, and bring it over to the counter. Inevitably, I’m asked “Would you like to buy it used and save some money?” or something similar. If I have a new copy in hand, then no, no I wouldn’t.

First off, the difference of five dollars or so just isn’t that much. If I could get it used for half price, I might consider it. But for five dollars, the risk that something might be wrong with it, or something might be missing from the case, or anything else could be wrong with it isn’t worth it. Besides which, if the game doesn’t work, I’ll likely have to drive back to the store to exchange it, using up enough gas that I may as well have not bothered saving the five dollars. Plus, even not taking that into account, the hassle isn’t worth it. And I’ve managed to buy a few games that don’t work buying used before.

In addition, if I buy used, the company who made the game doesn’t see any of the money I just spent on it. The money for used game sales goes straight to the store. I actually want to support a company that’s putting out games that interest me. That way, they’ll continue making games that interest me in the future. The extra five dollars I spend there is completely worth it.

Of course, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes there will be a game I want to try that I’m really iffy about. For instance, Shadow the Hedgehog springs to mind. I love a lot of what Sega has released, but this game caught so much flak from so many people, that I decided I might be best going used on this one. And waiting for the price to drop. I got to try it out, I spent very little money on it (about $8), and, as I suspected from what I’d heard, the game wasn’t that good. Certainly not worth supporting.

Another time I buy used is if the game is old, rare, or otherwise hard to find. Sometimes, if this is the case, the only way to find it is buying used. It’s unfortunate, because a lot of times I’d like to support the people who made the game, and I just recently heard about it and wanted to try it out. But if there aren’t any new copies around, then the company won’t be making any more money on it anyway.

If I do decide to buy a used game though, I always make sure the place I’m buying from has a decent return policy on used games that don’t work. Fourteen days is good to me, more is better, a week is barely acceptable. Likewise, refunds are best, but store credit is still pretty good. Exchange only, I can deal, but really, this is pushing it. If they don’t allow returns of used games at all, I won’t even consider them.

Likewise, if I buy used games from a place and consistently have them not function, I’ll stop buying them from that retailer. In fact, I’ll likely find another retailer for new games as well. There’s no reason why stores can’t test these games out before putting them on the shelves if they want to sell used games. At least run the the first level or first 15 minutes of the game to make sure it looks like it’ll work. There’s no reason any game that doesn’t boot at all or load anything past the title screen should be on store shelves anywhere.

So, given all of that, it should be obvious I prefer buying new for quality, convenience, and support of the companies making games. However, buying used certainly has it’s uses, and sometimes is the best way to go. Feel differently? Something I overlooked? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Responses to “Buying Video Games New or Used”

  1. 1
    Carnival of Video Game Bloggers Revival! @ The Collected Writings of James Newton Says:

    [...] presents Buying Video Games New or Used posted at Gaming My [...]

  2. 2
    James Newton Says:

    I should have commented on this in September, but never got around to it!

    I happen to know a lot of people who work for a retailer who specialise in used games, and I understand a lot of what you’re saying with regards to supporting publishers and developers.

    Over here, the vast majority of games are only available used just because of the short print run most titles seem to have. It’s only the really big games – Call of Duty, Fifa, anything first-party Nintendo – that gets reprinted over the course of a year or more. Everything else is never seen again new, which is a shame but understandably limits the risk for publishers.

    One thing I did want to say is that it just isn’t possible to test every game that’s traded in – often customers will bring in their complete collections or games on multiple consoles, and it just isn’t practical to make them wait whilst each one is tested.
    That’s why all stores should offer an exchange or refund if faulty – it’s like having an army of testers!

    Personally I almost always buy used, unless it’s a new title and I can’t be bothered waiting! The way I look at it is that the two or five pounds I save is much better off in my pocket than somebody else’s, and I think I’ve only ever had two used games that didn’t work – Sonic CD had some issues with music and the intro video, and Mega Games I just didn’t play, but that was fifteen years ago and I’m completely over that now. I swear.

  3. 3
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