Amazon Announces Game Trade-In Program To Compete With GameStop

If you don’t like GameStop, how about Amazon? On Thursday, they announced their new “Video Games Trade-In” program (www.amazon.com/tradeingames), where you send in your used games for Amazon gift card credit. What we like about this is you don’t have to spend the money on more games if you don’t want to, so you can convert old games into anything Amazon accepts gift cards for. What we don’t like is you can’t just get cash back—but hey, if you hate GameStop, here’s an option for you.

Apparently the announcement sent GameStop shares falling, but the jury is still out on what kind of lasting impact the program will have on Amazon, or if they’ll even continue it after the beta period. Analysts have noted that GameStop tried and abandoned a mail-in used game program in the past, and CNN Money quotes one gamer who says he’d rather stick with a brick-and-mortar store:

One game player posted a comment on Amazon’s site complaining that the Internet retailer doesn’t provide sufficient incentive to lure him away from GameStop. He said Amazon’s trade-in values are on par with GameStop, but that he can get immediate gratification at GameStop stores rather than have to wait for a new game to arrive by mail.

If you’re agnostic about GameStop and Amazon and just want the best deal, for now at least you might want to give Amazon a try:

Game analyst Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets wrote in a note Thursday… “Our survey of 10 games on both sites suggests that the Amazon merchant is offering a slight premium to GameStop for a number of trade-ins.”

Update: to clarify, there is no physical gift card mailed to you. Amazon’s exact phrase is, “An Amazon.com Gift Card will be deposited into your account upon receipt of games.” They’re giving you a store credit, basically. (When you redeem a real gift card, the same thing happens—credit is deposited in your account.)

“Amazon.com’s Trade-In Store Launches with 1,500+ Eligible Titles” [Game Room Blog @ Amazon]
“Amazon Takes Aim At GameStop With Trade-In Program” [CNN Money]
“GameStop pounded as Amazon steps up to compete” [MarketWatch]
(Photo: Brymo)

Comments

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  1. Erwos says:

    The trade-in prices, as noted, are not really that much better than GameStop’s, certainly not enough to change the equation to make selling on Amazon/eBay/CL yourself worse.

    • noone1569 says:

      @Erwos: True, but you can just turn around and buy stuff on Amazon. Need a new shirt and don’t play COD WaW (b/c it sucks) anymore . . trade it in and get a new shirt . .hmm . . might do that

      • Erwos says:

        @Jenkinsbball: This is actually not an unreasonable fear – GameStop is properly considered a pawn shop in many states, with all the regulations that apply. Amazon could indeed provide thieves with a new venue to fence stolen games.

    • TVarmy says:

      @Erwos: Yeah, but with appropriate deals, this would work out better for a person who keeps up on this stuff. Amazon might even let people get preorders or priority on a waitlist more easily with trade ins. Sending in some games to Amazon would up their used supply, and you could be farther up the line for Amazon.

  2. winstonthorne says:

    I’m always worried about mailing stuff out to people who promise to pay me for it once they receive it. It’s kinda like Cash4Gold, but with video games.

    • sumgai says:

      @winstonthorne:

      That’s it, I’m going to hire those same cheesy people from Cash4Gold to appear on my Cash4Games commercial.

    • Garbanzo says:

      @winstonthorne: One big difference is that Amazon is an established company with a known reputation. I don’t have the impression that Amazon’s business model relies on deliberately lying to and cheating customers.

  3. tobedetermined says:

    1. Search “1 used game=?citibank stock” using Google
    2. Click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button

    What do you see?

  4. tobedetermined says:

    I would try if it is not an Amazon gift card, but a credit in my account, of which I can draw future purchases from.

  5. Jnetty says:

    $8.50 for my MLB 08: The Show… ouch that is cheap, but its almost the same rate as on eBay.

  6. Jenkinsbball says:

    “Just this in… theft of video games have soared as Amazon’s new trade-in program has gone live.”

  7. Gaambit says:

    I like the idea of getting rid of old games and using it to buy new graphic novels or TV DVD sets.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @tobedetermined: What’s the difference for you, is it that you don’t want the physical card in your possession? Implementing a credit system is useful and I think that would be good as well, but would require more effort than it takes to send already made and already tried and true system of sending gift cards.

  9. dragonfire81 says:

    From a consumer standpoint, the best thing that comes out of this is both companies are forced to become a little more competitive with their trade-in values and gamers end up getting better deals.

    Gamestop takes over 200% markup on some of their games. That’s pretty crazy.

    Having said that, I have my doubts at how effective this amazon thing will be. Even if their trade values are good, they still can’t match the instant gratification factor of gamestop.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @dragonfire81: true, but there are some aspects that make it much better. for one, i can combine the credits from trade-ins with other credits i have earned from purchases (right now i have about $35 built up that i don’t know what to do with). also, amazon has these awesome phenomenons gamestop has yet to discover called “sales” (even on new games! imagine that!). finally, couple your competitive trade-in value with no sales tax (in my state anyway) & your value is multiplied.

      but if b&m is your cup of tea, consider shopping your trades (if you can). the fye games in my mall pays $3-5 more than gamestop on most titles. & they pay cash.

  10. kaptainkk says:

    Why the Amazon bashing again? Jesus Christ has anyone ever tried to trade in a game at GameCrazy?! They absolutely give you crap for trade-ins and I can’t imagine GameStop being much better. I would take Amazon credit any day. At least I have the option to buy something other than a game. Their trade-in values seem reasonable to me for the games I checked. BTW Amazon customer service is top notch.

  11. philmin says:

    About 2 years ago, after doing my latest “buy for 50, sell back for 22 a week later, watch next customer buy that for 47″, I realized I have to be smarter than this.

    For people like me, who buy a game and play for maybe 2 weeks, ebay is your friend. I bought MGS4 for 52, played it for a few weeks and got bored, sold it a few weeks later on ebay for 44+4shipping.

    Ebay still has that stigma of being too much of a bother for many people, but it is insanely easy and really gets you the true market value for most items, not the joke offer that gamestop gives.

    • theblackdog says:

      @philmin: It’s not so much that Ebay itself is a bother, it’s because I have to hope that the seller hasn’t scratched the crap out of the disc or is giving me a burned copy instead of the original. It’s a real bitch to have to try and resolve that situation.

    • taking_this_easy says:

      @philmin: and scammers are so proliferant on eBay….. i hate ebay… trying to do most of my selling/buying on craigslist (in-person exchange… harder to scam)

    • mac-phisto says:

      @philmin: true story: i was trading in nfs:carbon a couple years back, & gamestop offered me like $12, so i started the usual griping. a guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder, “dude, i was actually just gonna pick up that game & it’s like 45 bucks. i’ll give you 30.”

      sold!

      all of a sudden, mr. manager behind the counter is the one griping, “you can’t do that!” yadda, yadda, “you’re breaking the law & i’m gonna call the cops!” blah, blah, blah, “get outta my store!”

      ok. took the 30 bucks & bought the game i wanted at target instead (on sale for 20 bucks less than gamestop). rock on!

  12. He says:

    Cut out the middle man. Find out what the market rates for your games are and list them on craigslist. You get cash that way too.

  13. Jenkinsbball says:

    No, really, steal a bunch of games and use them to purchase that new LCD tv you’re looking for.

  14. Chris Walters says:

    @ tobedetermined: technically, it *is* just credit in your account. Don’t know why Amazon calls it a gift card–there’s no physical card mailed to you.

  15. TheRedSeven says:

    Anyone else think this might be a good time to turn the tables and sell someone back their Redneck Sh*t?

  16. N.RobertMoses says:

    The only downside I see is that it is Amazon. There is nothing like dealing with people in South Asia when there is a problem with your order!

  17. Outrun1986 says:

    Most of these trade in values were paltry, yeah I am going to give Amazon a Square/Enix DS game which I paid 40$ for and only get 9$ back in credit when I can sell it on ebay for at least 20$. Ok that’s hypothetical because I don’t pay 40$ for my games, but that’s the price they start out with on the market.

    This is good though because it creates competition in the used game market, Best Buy and Toys R Us also announced that they would be starting up used game trades. Gamestop is not the only game in town now so they cannot manipulate the customer into going to them because they are the only game in town. This should really benefit the consumer as you will have several companies vying for your used games and this should made trade in values go up.

    However you have to be careful because most of these stores will only give you store credit for your used game, now if you are buying a brand new release that has the same price everywhere this does not matter. But if you want to buy a lot of older games, you would be best off trading at the place that has the lowest prices on used games. What I am trying to say is even if you get a good trade in value on your games, if you can’t find something in the store that is a good price (or something you want) or if the store is jacking up their prices, then its not really a good deal. You have to take into account the price that merchandise is selling for as well when trading your games.

    Take FYE for example, sure they give more for trade in than most places, however you will be paying more for your games with their jacked up prices. It all evens out.

  18. TheGuinnessTooth says:

    I keep reading the headline as “Amazon Announces Game Trade-In Pogrom To Compete with GameStop.”

  19. tobedetermined says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: I suppose it mostly because of the horror stories surrounding (hidden) fees and expiration of physical gift cards.

  20. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @NRobertMoses: I have no idea what you’re talking about…I’ve never gotten a CSR rep that didn’t sound American, or had a really good grasp on English, and I’ve called them more than a few times with questions, never with actual problems.

    • Garbanzo says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: The time I had a problem with Amazon and tried to resolve it on the phone (because I thought it would be simpler than doing it over email) I got a guy with a thick Indian accent I could barely understand. Maybe when you have questions you get the sales operators in the US, while when you have problems you get the call center in India?

  21. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    @tobedetermined: Well, nothing to worry about now, as Chris clarified that there’s no physical card, just credit to your account.

  22. Corporate_guy says:

    This is great. Gamestop does not publish their prices. Now they will have to. Maybe we can get some competition also.

  23. howie_in_az says:

    One still has to pay shipping for Amazon (right?) and sales tax at GameStop, so is it still a wash?

  24. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    howie_in_az: You don’t pay shipping if you spend more than $25 on products sold by Amazon. It’s not a wash. I can’t avoid sales tax at GameStop because my state has sales tax. I can avoid shipping by being smart about which items I buy.

  25. Joedel263 says:

    are they competing with GameStop or are the supplying them? the fine print at the bottom of the page

    “Trade-in titles are purchased by a third party merchant.”

  26. Anonymous says:

    I just used the new trade-in program at Future Shop here in Canada to get a few $$ for last years baseball game for the PS3 when I bought the new 09 version.
    Very pleased with the process, got $22.80 for MLB 08 that went toward the $59.99 price of the new 09 game. That plus a $40 gift card from xmas left me only out $4.95 cash for the new game.
    I think it helped that I bought on the first day of the release of the game. I am guessing FS’s system was not yet updated and treated my old game like a ‘new’ title, so I got the max return for the trade-in.

  27. edrebber says:

    A small percentage of shipments are either lost, stolen or damaged. Amazon isn’t going to give you the credit if the item is lost or arrives damaged.

  28. Woofer00 says:

    I actually sell my used games through Amazon’s marketplace. It’s a really easy way to get a better value than you’d get on Craigslist or Gamestop or PlaynTrade or any resale system. Granted, you have to wait a bit for the game to be bought, but popular games will get snapped up within a day or two if you nudge out the standing low price by just a couple cents. Buyer pays for shipping, and you can usually buy an envelope and mail it out first class for less than the provided shipping amount.

  29. trujunglist says:

    @tobedetermined

    I did your google trick and I get taken to a 2 sentence crappily designed blog about how Obama is evil.
    Was that your intention? What does that have to do with this article? Is that your blog? If so, it’s complete crap. Why the fuck aren’t you disemvoweled for that retarded shit yet? These are all important questions and I would like some answers.

  30. Justinh01 says:

    Good! I hate GameStop! Not that I will use this Amazon service, but I have so much bitterness towards them, anything bad that happens to them is a good thing.

    I’m still mad from the time I found a PS3 there, and the assistant manager/manager/moron/whatever wouldn’t let me buy it because I made a joking comment about the possibility of profiting off it. She said she wouldn’t let me buy it, and would only sell it to someone with a family that would appreciate it.

    I’m sure the person who got it made a tidy profit off eBay for their “family.”

    I wish I got her name… I REALLY wanted to write to GameStop, but I never did.

  31. AtomicPlayboy says:

    Hey, does anyone recommend a similar service for used DVDs? I used to dump them on GameStop, but they got out of that business, and I’ve got a box of DVDs that I don’t want to waste time selling on eBay/craigslist. Anyone?

  32. Anonymous says:

    i just don’t see these trade in programs working. the trade in value never covers the cost of a new game. There are a number of sites that let you swap games 1-for-1 for other games. I’ve been using Swaptree to trade in my old games for new ones. there are other sites, but swaptree is free and has a pretty good selection.