GameStop's Golden Price Tags Mean Higher Value, Not "Used"

The great thing about a used game is someone else has already worked out all the bugs and made it better—at least, that’s what we assume this GameStop wants us to believe, since they’ve got the used version priced $5 more than the brand new one. That’s why the sticker is golden, see, to show that it’s more valuable.

According to our local GameStop (which we just called in a fit of hardcore investigative journalism), they won’t adjust the price at the register. You pay what’s on the price tag. So if the store runs out of new copies, you’re stuck paying the higher price for the used game.

(thanks to Keith!)

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  1. unholycinna says:

    That’s outrageous! My son is constantly at GameStop. I go with him but am usually so bored to tears that I don’t notice what he’s buying (unless, of course it’s not rated for his age group, he’s 13). Now, I am going to have to be vigilant about pricing too! Grrrrr…..

  2. Hoborg says:

    This comic is especially relevant:

    [www.penny-arcade.com]

  3. blitzcat says:

    Seems pretty similar to used text-book prices, or used cd prices. Scarcity factors in.

  4. Saboth says:

    Gamestop pretty much sucks…they drop the price of most used games by $5…meaning you can get Halo 3 for 54.99. Big whoop…I’ve seen numerous online deals for the game for around $45, usually with cheap or free shipping (new). Nevermind you won’t have to pay tax online, and it pretty much cancels out shipping (if shipping isn’t free).

    Used games should be discounted 20-30%, not 10%.

  5. Geekybiker says:

    Gamestop pulling something like this? Sounds right up their alley. Fun bit is they purposely try not to stock new copies of games so you’re forced to buy their much more profitable used copies.

  6. cosby says:

    How is this news? The used game was priced before they lowered the price on the new ones. Next round of used games of rampage will prob be priced at 14.99.

  7. Ambience says:

    It might also be a price reduction, and they forgot to update the yellow stickers.

    Although this weekend at Gamestop, I happened to pull a used game off the shelf priced at $34.99. I turned it over only to see a $19.99 used price tag from Dragon’s Den, a gaming/comic/hobby store in town I also frequent. I guess someone bought it and re-sold it to Gamestop. Kind of reminded me to shop for used games there instead.

  8. smitty1123 says:

    @Geekybiker: Yep. Thankfully, the internet usually guarantees I don’t ever need to go into these stores. Plus, I’d much rather buy new copies anyway (you know, so that the companies that make the games actually get revenue and hopefully will make more games like the ones I buy).

  9. cmcd14 says:

    I have a good story about GameStop as well. I bought FIFA 07 for XBox 360 on release day. Turns out the game was quite awful. So I went back a week later and tried to get some store credit towards another game. Mind you the game was only one week old. They offered me $18 for it. When I had just payed $60 not a week ago. And I knew they were going to resell it for $55. GameStop is a ripoff, I refuse to shop there.

  10. Zerkaboid says:

    I saw the exact same thing at EB Games a month or two ago, Final Fantasy XII for PS2 was $5 more used than it was new, though I didn’t bring it up to the cashier (just bought the new copy). And as an added bonus, you didn’t even get the game art with the used copy.

  11. serreca says:

    I have no comment on that actual content except to say that I love the game in the picture. So fun.

  12. juri squared says:

    What Cosby said. The people there just haven’t gotten the stickers updated.

  13. SwampAssJ says:

    Went in to get some Gameboy Advance games (not SP) and the Advanced games cost more used than they ever did new when it was new and fresh. Even the old Gameboy color games are being sold at 15-20 dollars.

  14. ptkdude says:

    @Saboth: If you’re buying a used game, you shouldn’t be paying tax; the tax was paid when the original consumer bought it as a new game.

  15. zibby says:

    This happens pretty frequently with their used games. They seem to throw ‘em on the shelf and completely forget about ‘em.

  16. @cosby & @jurijuri: Well, obviously that’s the case. But the GameStop I called said they wouldn’t adjust the price at the register so that the used copy was at least equal to if not less than the new copy. That means if they ran out of new copies, you’d have to pay MORE than retail for a used copy.

    The headline of this post is sarcastic. I think we all know how this happened. What’s stupid about it is that GameStop would use it as yet another way to make money by treating the customer with contempt.

  17. ep5760 says:

    This doesn’t suprise me in the least bit. At the local gamestop where I used to live they put a greatest hit’s copy of a game (price capped at $19.99 anywhere else) in the used section for $24.99. They did this because they hadn’t sold out of the original versions of the box with the EXACT SAME GAME and continued to sell those for $34.99. I asked the guys behind the counter if they were serious since i could just go next door to walmart or target and buy it for less. Their response? “We can’t control that it’s up to corporate.”

  18. LowerHouseMember says:

    I’m pretty sure they track all of this in their systems. Last time I bought a used game from Gamestop (which I do very rarely) the sticker said $29.99, but when I brought it up to the counter and they scanned it, it came up as $19.99.

  19. Shadowfire says:

    What happens usually is that the used game department is a day behind on price changes… the home office decides to drop the price on a new game on Monday, so the store gets the price drop on Tuesday. Usually the change on the used one comes through the same day, but sometimes it’s the day after. I don’t know why it happens.. it’s usually just with slower moving titles, but it does, and it’s not a big deal. The whole “sounds just like something Gamestop would do hur hur hur” crap is just ridiculous.

    Now the manager being a jerk and not lowering the price is another matter. I always brought the price down to $5 below the new when this sort of thing happened, and the manager is well within his right to do so. However, with turnover in the company the way it is, I would suspect he is either new, doesn’t know what exactly he can do to change things, or doesn’t want to rock the boat.

  20. Shadowfire says:

    @ep5760: Tell me what game that was. Really, tell me the game. Because that’s a lie. The local store is completely unable to mark prices -up-. Only the corporate office can do that. And the company doesn’t care what case is in stock… the regular case and the greatest hits case both have the same SKU on the back (barcode), so the company doesn’t know the difference. Once the game is announced as Greatest Hits, and the date for the Greatest Hits promotion has hit, the price drops, regardless of the color of the case.

  21. heinzs says:

    Gamestop makes tons of money from used games. They buy them for 20% of new value (if that) and sell them for 90% of face value. Every time a game goes through them 400% of what they paid for it. While that’s okay on its own, the problem enters when they do stuff like refuse to keep new copies in stock while they have used copies available, which screws over publishers and developers since used copies don’t make them any money. It allows Gamestop to cut the people who actually made the game out of the equation as much as possible.

  22. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    We have Rampage for the Wii. It costs $20 new, free shipping from Family Video. I’ve seen it all over for $20 in the “discount” bins at the Target, Wally World, K-Mart. If anyone want to pay $25 for something used, the let them.

  23. ShadowFalls says:

    Let us not forget that Gamestop also likes to sell games which are clearly labeled “Not For Resale”

    How can you actually sell something for a reasonable price when there is no actual price listing for an item because it is not supposed to be resold?

    How can Gamestop accept these items when people who sell them to you, are not allowed to do so? They seemed to have had no issues accepting items clearly listed as “Not For Resale”

  24. wring says:

    why is everyone talking like Gamestop is one big corporation? Isn’t it a franchise and is practically a mom and pop store?

  25. ep5760 says:

    @Shadowfire: The game was Mercenaries, and i’m not saying the grunts behind the counter were right, just that they claimed to have hands tied by corporate. Last time i went there both copies are still sitting on the shelf at the same price. Obviously no one else wants to look at the Greatest Hits edition marked above $20 and take it seriously.

  26. tubby says:

    i used to work at GameStop – this happened often. They are clearing out inventory of the new product, so they dropped the price. The used copy takes a couple days to catch up and drop – although in this case, the used copy will be $17.99 – a whopping $2 off! also, i actually had a district manager tell me i had NO EXCUSE to not sell the more expensive used game during this limbo time – you “get a great value because you can try the game and return it for another if you buy used, if it gets scratched we’ll replace it” blah, blah. god i hated that job.

  27. tubedogg says:

    @wring: It’s a corporation, not a franchise operation. All stores are owned by the corporation.

    @ptkdude: I don’t know where you got the idea that used purchases are not taxable but they most definitely are, at least in the state of Ohio and I would venture that any state that has sales tax is the same way.

    @Shadowfire: Giving unauthorized discounts is a pretty good way to get fired very quickly. Nobody at the store level has authorization to modify a price like that.

  28. bob9 says:
  29. DashTheHand says:

    If you happen to shop at GameStop, be sure to check the price between new and used on anything you buy. I’ve found that many, many times when I was about to get a used title (perhaps scratched lightly or missing manual) for a little as $1-2 more, I could get the game brand new.

    Buying USED at GameStop is hardly a bargain unless its a game thats been out of print for a good while and finding a new one is going to be next to impossible.

  30. ptkdude says:

    @tubedogg: I didn’t say they weren’t taxable, I said they SHOULDN’T be taxable. There’s a world of difference.

  31. wring says:

    @tubedogg: ic. I work beside one and I’ve always thought some dude owned it. I liked supporting their business cus I find selling my old videogames on amazon/ebay more tedious than walking in a Gamestop. I did buy a new Pokemon game off Target on sale for $18.99 (originally 29.99) and when I traded it in for credit, I got $18. Just gotta be a wise consumerist.

  32. SaraAB87 says:

    Gamestop is the worst place to shop for video games. They pull all kinds of crap with their customers, and as soon as a family with children walk in they see dollar signs and start trying to sell them all this stuff which they really do not need.

    They also charge MORE for USED gamecube games than the original MSRP, some of the games cost more than the system itself does at that store. Last time I checked they were selling a Used copy of Mario Party 6 for Gamecube WITHOUT the microphone which is required for play for 44.99, a mere 5$ off the new price, and you had to purchase the microphone separatly if you actually wanted to play the game.

    Their quality of used games is very questionable as they are usually the worst of the worst, I hope you like buying scratched up discs and carts that do not work if you shop there. Yes you can return so called “defective” games but since they taunt themselves so much as the largest video game retailer in the USA don’t you think they should be testing these games instore so that when you bring it home you don’t have to drive all the way back to return it because it doesn’t work?

    I also like how they pull the stunt of stocking so few new copies that they sell out immediately then you are forced to buy the used, scratched up copies that net them more profit than selling a new game..

  33. exkon says:

    Doesn’t surprise me, I’ve seen this a few times. Really funny that they have the used and news games right next to each other.

    Generally I buy used games, but its not until after a year they’ve been released and was to lazy to pick up on the release date. Everytime I buy a used game, I use my membership card which saves me 10%, which may not be much, but is generally good enough to cover the tax most of the time.

  34. xredgambit says:

    I remember for the longest time when used computer games were still sold, the battle chest version of starcraft new was $20 and just the used version of brood wars (the expansion) was $20

  35. jaya9581 says:

    I am NO fan of Gamestop/EB, having had multiple problems with them – most recently, I purchased a new $20 game that would not play on my PS2. When I requested another copy, I was informed that this game (blue-bottom disc, of which I have many that all play fine) was incompatable with my 1st-gen PS2 and in order to play it I would need to buy a new slim PS2 for $120 and would that be cash or credit? Met by stunned silence and a customer about to start a scene, he quickly refunded my @20.

    Anyway. I’ve run into this issue before at Gamestops. Usually I just ask at the register and they reduce the price. That said, it doesn’t happen to me often and I don’t buy a lot of games there.

  36. Canadian Impostor says:

    @cosby: I used to work at EB and stuff like this happens because every week the computer spits out a new sticker for EVERY USED GAME IN THE STORE.

    Not just used games with price changes, every used game. None of us cared enough about $7 an hour to put a sticker on all 10,000 games every week.

    The game would ring up for the correct updated price without a new sticker.

    @SaraAB87: They also charge MORE for USED gamecube games than the original MSRP, some of the games cost more than the system itself does at that store.

    I never saw that for GCN games, but there are a lot of rare PS1 games that sell on eBay for triple what the sold for new.

    That was a moot point, we used to pay people more in cash out on the sidewalk than rare games traded in for, but even if we missed one EB’s prices on rare games were lower than the going rate on eBay in most cases.

  37. twiddling_my_thumbs says:

    I guess I am one of the few who have a “good” GS EBG in my area. Out of 10 times, I have gotten exceptional service four times. Heck, I even got good alt recommends for games that I wanted that were not in stock.

    If there is a lower priced same copy in stock. It is on the counter as I make the purchase. Seems like at that point, my choice which one to buy becomes obvious. They do not say a word to me. I just mention, I want that copy please. Two grins later. I have the cheaper version.

    The advantage of going local is asking a gamer who works at the store. Their impression of the game. If they played it. It seems more honest impressions are garnered face to face. Otherwise I see the fact. I can choose to buy from other outlets of the very expansive gaming market. Not like there is only one place to buy a game or two.

  38. hapless says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    It’s not illegal to sell things marked “Not for resale.” Why the hell should they pander to the desires of the publisher?

  39. thalia says:

    This happened to me at a local gaming store here in town…they were selling used copies of the Nintendo DS version of Resident Evil for $25, when the game retails brand new for $19! I told them, “Look, I’d rather give you guys my business than the [mainstream business] place next door, but they’re offering this same game used for $9.” The guy said there was no way he would drop the price lower than $18, so needless to say I told them sorry, but I would be making the purchase elsewhere…

  40. zyphbear says:

    Actually, I no longer shop at GameStop (some formally Funcoland), due to this policy. They would rather price a game at the same price as a new one or MORE expensive for the same game, I have been buying online since then. (thank you amazon!)

    I have tried giving them the benefit and re-trying to see if there was any nice and cheap NDS games and even NEW they charge $5-$10 more than anywhere else. I’ve given up with them.

  41. Chaluapman says:

    I’ve scored a couple of times cause they did the pricing wrong.

  42. mopar_man says:

    I was just at Gamestop this weekend exchanging a faulty guitar from Guitar Hero for the Wii. Looking at their used games, most are only priced $2 below new. To me, used games should be lower than that. Most used music CDs are half of what new ones are.

  43. crappedcrusader says:

    Just use half.com for selling and buying used games and cut the racket out! You can buy games cheaper on a site like that. And if you sell it, you don’t get a measly 5 bucks (like Gamestop would pay), but most of the cost of the item.
    I’ve bought a couple games and books from half.com and love the simplicity o fit.

  44. Dervish says:

    @SaraAB87: I use Gamestop only for games that are older and thus no longer widely available. I dislike them as much as many commenters here, but I just wanted to say that for all the carts/discs I’ve bought at my local stores, I’ve only ever gotten one that didn’t work. Overall I think their used quality is fair to good.

    With that said, I now avoid them whenever possible. The triggering event was when Metroid Prime 3 was released. I drove to at least five stores on the day it came out and couldn’t find it…until I got to Gamestop. They had four copies on the shelf, but when I tried to buy one I was informed that I needed a pre-order. Now, I understand about the whole pre-ordering thing. It’s your business, and if I don’t like it (which I don’t) I can go suck an egg. But I would respectfully submit that if all your copies are spoken for, you shouldn’t have them on the damn shelves! They claimed it was to “spark interest” in the game, but all it did was spark my interest in buying from any place other than them.

  45. Yuefairchild says:

    Not true. I work at Gamestop. What happens is if a game costs, let’s say 50 bucks, and then someone trades it in, we put a trade-in price on it that makes sense for a $50 game. If the price of the $50 game goes down, though, we only change the price tags on the new games. The used ones keep the old price tag, but it has a new price that makes sense with the price cut on the new version.

  46. Shadowfire says:

    @tubedogg: “Giving unauthorized discounts is a pretty good way to get fired very quickly. Nobody at the store level has authorization to modify a price like that.”

    That’s not true… I did it many many times, in order to get the used sale rather than the new one. I was always told that it was ok to do, because there was no sense in losing the used sale because the used department was slow on the uptake.

  47. sandoze says:

    My experience with GameStop this weekend has to make me wonder if new is really new at all. I bought Viva Pinata for my daughter. They tried to push a used version on me (for a savings of 2 bucks) but I like to support the developers and wanted to buy a new version. Turns out, new means the package is already open, the manual already thumbed through, and the game was smudged and scratched! I wouldn’t be surprised if I was sold a used with a new sticker on the box.

  48. larkknot says:

    Wow I was going to post about my experience last weekend at the Waterford Lakes Orlando Gamestop which is eerily similar to Sandoze’s – I sent my boyfriend to buy me Viva Pinata and they pushed the used version on him, and he told them he wanted a new one. The clerk was rude to him, and slipped the used one to him telling him he was getting a new one – although the CD was a bit smudged and scratched, I only realized this when I found the receipt. Do the Gamestop clerks get commissions or get fired on the basis of selling used games?

  49. Canadian Impostor says:

    @Shadowfire: Yeah, we used to modify prices all the time to price match Best Buy, fix obvious computer errors, etc.

  50. Canadian Impostor says:

    @larkknot: If a store doesn’t sell a high enough percentage of used games, the whole store gets a warning and then gets canned.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I work at a Gamestop, and while putting stickers on games I have seen several times the used version being more than the new. It’s not the fault of the employees, it’s a fuckup at corporate. When they actually do change prices we get an email and the manager will send an employee out to pull the games off the shelves and resticker them.