Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
02 February 2006
NYT: Used 20% cheaper than new? Funny.
I'm still poking through this article on the NY Times about the fortunes of the videogame companies, but this seems flat out wrong:
GameStop then sells the used disks and cartridges, which usually function just as well as new disks and cartridges, for about 20 percent less than the new versions of the same games sitting an aisle or two away.
I'm sorry...20% cheaper? My experience has been the following, which are 10% price reductions:
  • $50 new becomes $45 used
  • $40 new becomes $36 used
  • $30 new becomes $27 used
  • $20 new becomes $18 used
That's best case. Quite often I've seen a $50 game selling for $48, which is only a 4% break, a far cry from the claimed 20%

Even worse, my wife bought me a used copy of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance for $40 at an EB Games once, because no stores in town had a new copy. She asked how much a new copy would cost and was told...$25! (For what it's worth, I found a new copy at a closing KB Toys within a week and bought it for $10, returned the $40 copy and refunded the difference to her.)

So, someone tell me where I get this 20% discount on my used games, please.
--Matt Matthews at 09:31
Comment [ 6 ]

Comments on this post:

MAYBE they were including the 10% off "Edge Card", but even that doesn't get it down to 20%, and I don't know if they still do those cards or not.

-Adam V.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 February, 2006 11:03  

Depends on the stores. I've seen an EB with no copies of Double Dash charging $37 for a used copy. Another EB with 20 copies (used and new) on its shelf was charging $20 used.

If a store doesn't care about keeping used prices current, you can find used copies that cost just as much as new copies for games that have had big drops. (Which at least makes more sense than Wal-Mart selling a PC game and a boxed set of that game and several expansions side-by-side for the same price...)

I've seen Beach Spikers selling new for $50 still in one store. The price tag is so faded you can barely read it. If they ever had a used copy to carry, it might likely be less than $45.

Gamecube games in general have a hard time dropping below the $45 used mark unless the market was flooded. PS1/2 games at least always appeared to be more likely to drop, but that was in part to the "new" game price dropping as well. When your once $50 new game is being sold new for $20 two months later, your used prices might want to match the drop to a degree.

Used games without manuals or with damaged boxes sometimes get a deeper price cut, that might figure in.

By Anonymous Baines, at 02 February, 2006 15:29  

It varies with the popularity of the game, but year sometimes you'll find some really stupid prices.

Some games go up in value of course. Some popular RPGs that were out of print used to go for more than new. I don't think that's the case now however.

Funny, I also know of a store that's still selling Beach Spikers for $50! Weird.

By Blogger JohnH, at 02 February, 2006 20:22  

Final Fantasy Tactics had a Greatest Hits release, which killed its used market price.

Games like Valkyrie Profile and Panzer Dragoon Saga still command extremely high prices on sites like ebay. (And who knows if the upcoming Valkyrie Profile prequel will have an impact on demand for the original.)

Which is the difference. Those are games that you just aren't going to see in a store in any form. Which isn't the same as a used game selling for $45 next to a new copy for $50.

I'm honestly not sure stores even really feel like moving stock anymore. They'll sell a few copies of something the first week, then buy them back to sell as used for near full price. Then the games will just sit on the shelf for a year or two.

Is it fear that people waiting for used game price drops are hurting stores on new game sales? That is the only excuse I can think of for modern pricing schemes.

By Anonymous Baines, at 03 February, 2006 13:30  

The latest comment from Baines jogged a memory. I recall reading somewhere about a store manager opening new games simply to price them as used, when the used price was higher than the new price. I wish I had a reference to give but I don't, so it's just rumormongering for now. I don't find it terribly difficult to believe, especially when one of these crazy new/used price inversions appears.

By Blogger jvm, at 03 February, 2006 14:33  

At EB, you should know not to always trust the used sticker price especially for older games- but they always actually charge you 'real' price- whatever is in the computer (it's a pleasant surprise to save a few bucks).

As for the nearly new prices of newer used games, it must just be supply and demand- not many people have played through it yet and flooded the used market. Maybe there's just enough people wanting to save $5 out there to meet the small amount of supply.

The only other thing is that maybe the pay out little enough for one of those games is that if they can't sell it for $45 used, they can still sell it for $10 or $15 cheaper later on and still make a profit.

By Blogger patternjuggler, at 05 February, 2006 12:50  

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