Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Clearing the Clutter: Beyond Gamestop

If you have been a gamer for very long at all, you have a stack of old games you just don't play anymore. If you don't yet, you will. So, what can you do about it? A bonfire might be fitting, illegal in some areas and resulting in a giant mess anywhere, but fitting. Garage sales never seem to make much money unless you live in one of those 'reality' shows on daytime cable. If you have a younger sibling / niece / child, just giving the old stuff away could be tempting. But... if you can get money for the old stuff, why not?

And so we come to the obvious answer. Thousands of gamers every month truck their old games to their nearest Gamestop and allow Gamestop to make billions. Compare the amount Gamestop buys old games from you to the price they sell those games to other gamers. Consider that nearly half of their corporate profits comes from used game sales. If thousands of people are willing to buy a used game from Gamestop for $5 less than the brand new price, why on earth would you want to sell Gamestop that same game for less than half that price? If we can find a way to skip the middle man and move a game directly from you to He Who Wants To Buy, we could potentially double the return. Ideas anyone?

Friendly local, independent game store? Awesome. If you are lucky to still have one of these, treasure and cherish that relationship. You are likely to get more for your old games and spend less on used titles than at Gamestop. These little businesses may not give you the best money for your games, but when you consider that the local neighborhood gaming store probably hosts a number of gamer-centric activities each year, that lack of dollars is made up in other ways. Sadly, most of America has no friendly local neighborhood gaming store. I've lived in five cities across four states, and I've only had one. So, for those of us not so lucky, what else can we do?

Online auction? Interesting. Ebay is The King of this market. There are major advantages to Ebaying your used games. Ebay draws millions of visitors a year and hosts an obscene amount of auctions. This can work in your favor, if you are lucky enough to be one of few people selling a sought after title. More likely, this huge crowd will never see your auction.

Video games, particularly used games, are not destination shopping items. Sure, we all buy some games because we set out to find and buy that one particular title. But how many games have you bought just because you were browsing through a shelf of boxes and something caught your eye? Ebay is horrible for that sort of browsing. And as a result, unless you just happen to be selling what people want, you are not likely to get many interested buyers, and that means lower prices. Not to mention Ebay will eat up to 15% of what ever money you do get from the sale.

What we need is an auction site like Ebay so we can sell our used games directly to people who want to buy them. But unlike Ebay, we need a site that won't bury us with fees and that makes it easy for our fellow gamers to browse the selection and find our game. In other words, we need an auction site dedicated to video games and game products that is visited regularly by thousands of gamers.

And Chase the Chuckwagon fits the bill. The fees are low, so we really can maximize our return. Since the site is dedicated to games, you know actual gamers will be seeing your listing. When you factor in the thriving community, you could almost think of Chase the Chuckwagon as the internet equivalent of the friendly neighborhood gaming store.

So start shoveling into that clutter of old games. But instead of just driving down to Gamestop, stop for a minute. Look around for an independent gaming store and rejoice if you find one. But if you aren't that lucky, consider bringing your used games by the Chuckwagon. And bring your friends with you. The more gamers buying and selling, the better for us all.

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