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Thinking about trading in your video games?

With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One soon to be released, and many new titles like Call of Duty coming out this fall you might be thinking about trading in some (maybe all) your games.  You might also be thinking hrmm, where do I get the most for my still playable stuff.  Well we have been doing some research to help you out.  Now it might not be statistically accurate but we searched the interwebs, called many stores, and even visited a few locals to get this unscientific but accurate data.

First it is very hard to get any store to commit to a price without seeing the actual physical disc.  Actually no store will do that.  So we went with several standard titles in "good" condition.  The term "good" means (in our mind) a fully working game that might have some scuffs on the disc, and it also means it has the original box, and the little book if it came with one.

We started out to compare Best Buy, Game Stop, Amazon, Ebay, Toys R Us, Gazelle, Cash for Gammers, and Sell Used Games (dot com). We quickly found out Toys R Us does not take trade in games anymore, and Gazelle only deals in hardware now - mostly Apple stuff.

Each store has a base price, and your price will go down (usually not up) from there.  Below are base prices for a 'good' quality game on Oct 8th. Here are some of the more interesting comparisons.

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim (Legendary Edition)
Ebay: $32.03 (average sold price for used game)
Game Stop: $18.00 to $20.00
Amazon: $15.59  ('up to this price' as listed on website) 

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
Best Buy: $10.00
Amazon: $8.50   ('up to this price' as listed on website) 
Sell Used Games: $6.31  (PS3 as listed on website)

Grand Theft Auto IV (Standard Edition)
Ebay: $9.43 (average sold price for used game)
Best Buy: $5.00
Sell Used Games: $4.34  (Xbox as listed on website)
Cash for Gammers: $4.00 (Xbox)
Amazon: $2.81   ('up to this price' as listed on website) 
Game Stop: $2.00 to $3.00
Sell Used Games: $1.86  (PS3 as listed on website)

Bioshock Infinite
Ebay: $19.55 (average sold price for used game)
Cash for Gammers: $15.00 (PS3)
Sell Used Games: $13.12  (Xbox as listed on website)
Amazon: $11.96   ('up to this price' as listed on website for Xbox) 
Sell Used Games: $11.69  (PS3 as listed on website)
Best Buy: $11.00

Ok great, so how do I read all that?  We don't know what to tell you.  Because when you try to factor in the cost of a transaction on Ebay, and the boxing, shipping and insurance - what does that cost?  And just try to calculate Game Stops overly complicated special trade offers.  Where it depends on if you are a rewards card holder, or if you are buying a 'special' game, or if you are trading in more than 2 'eligible games'. Our calculator broke.

In general here is what we discovered:

-Prices drop quickly at first and slow over time.  The day you bought that game it lost 25% to 50% of its Trade In Value.

-Games that come out every year like sports titles drop in price fast!  Sometimes to a point that the store will not take them. Go Ebay a Madden 2012 game, some are sold for under $3.00

-Games released in the last year of a console's life, or last versions of a series, or only versions can become rare and generally go up in price. Some publishers and certain titles tend to keep their value. Look for American McGee's Alice.

-Games with much higher review scores will keep their value longer, and games with very low scores will loose value very quickly.