Is Swapping Video Games With Other Gamers a Better Way to Play New Video Games?

Every gamer goes through the process of buying a new video game – playing it to boredom or completion and then moving onto the next game. For some, the retail value of £40 (~$60) for most new video games makes moving onto the next game a tricky task, making gaming an expensive hobby! This article will discuss several methods of buying/getting new video games available to gamers and consider whether video game swapping sites represent the best possible value to a gamer when moving onto a new video game.

Trading in Video Games

Trading your video game in at a local store is one method – this will often mean losing over half the value of the game you paid in the first place. And the local store is probably going to sell your video game at a markedly greater price. So the trade in value they offer you isn’t going to get you very much at the store so you’ll still have to contribute some extra cash to get a new game. However, this process is convenient and you have your next game in hand as soon as you’re in the store!

Advantages:

1. Convenient

2. Instant

Disadvantages:

1. Low trade in value

2. Hefty mark up by retailer means you pay more cash for the next game

Video Game Rental

Joining a games rental service, such as Boomerang or Lovefilm, is another option. You typically pay a flat monthly subscription fee and receive a limited number of games which you can keep for as long as you wish. The quality of such services varies greatly and the major drawbacks here are that you must keep a list of games you desire – resulting in you receiving which ever game the rental company has in stock when they receive returned games. So the danger here is that you may not actually get the game at the top of your list. Other drawbacks include waiting a long time for that one game you want – or receiving games that are scratched to the point where your console won’t play them! Most importantly, you hand out all that cash each month and you don’t actually own anything in the end – it’s arguable that there’s better value in buying a game, keeping it until you’ve finished with it and then trading it once you’re done.

Furthermore, the value in this service varies from game to game. Some games can be completed within a few days of playing, and so the effective cost of playing this game is a fraction of the monthly subscription fee. And some games will be played for many years, making playing these games via rental very expensive! So in this sense, rental has the advantage of letting you try out a large number of games for a monthly subscription fee. If you think the game has long term value, then you could simply buy the game safe in the knowledge that you’ll be playing this game for a long time to come! But then PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers can try out new games by downloading them, muting this point in their case.

Another game rental option is often available from a local video store. The rental cost is typically 5% to 10% of the cost of the video game for up to 7 days worth of play. Using a local video store to rent games is definitely convenient and the value of the service to you depends on whether you actually finish the game or decide it’s not your thing (i.e. you’ve gotten the most out of them) before the game is due back.

Advantages:

1. Large collection to choose from

2. Easy to get new video games as you complete old ones

3. You get to try a large number of games for a nominal subscription fee.

Disadvantages:

1. May not get the game you want

2. Could be waiting a long time for games depending on rental companies stock levels

3. You don’t actually own anything in the end

Selling your video games

Another route is simply selling you video game. One of the most convenient ways to sell is by auctioning your game on eBay or TheGameCollective. If the game is a recent and popular one, you’ll probably get a good price – potentially much more than a local store would pay, and all you had to do was wait a few more days for the auction/sale to complete and then send your game through the post. A little less convenient than a local store but for many the extra value in the video game is worth it.

The draw back here is that eBay will take a cut of the final sale price currently 8.25% of the final fee and if you accept payment via PayPal, you’ll have to pay an additional fee (~4%), representing a loss of up to 12% of the final price (unless you’re cunning and build this into the P&P price – but that’s a bugbear for many!).

Advantages:

1. Can receive a good price for your game

2. Quite convenient

Disadvantages:

1. Must wait several days for sale to be agreed

2. Commission on final sale price

Video Game Swap

Swapping video games via an online game swapping network is another method. These sites include TheGameCollective, gamejam or hitflip and for a small/no fee these sites will allow gamers to agree swaps and then exchange home addresses and mail their games to each other. This service provides gamers with the opportunity to play new video games at about the cost of posting a game. So in this sense, the game swapping option offers great potential for the value conscious gamer.

Game swapping isn’t currently widely adopted and so unless a game swap site experiences heavy traffic a gamer may have to wait a little longer to get the video game swap they want. This could take a short while depending on a game’s popularity and so in this regard game swapping is not as convenient as, say, trading. But as game swapping becomes more popular, the process of moving onto new video games is set to become a much better value experience.

Advantages:

1. Can be obtained at the cost of mailing a game

2. Easy to get new video games as you complete old ones

Disadvantages:

1. May have to wait a long time to find another gamer willing to swap

John Dunne has been an avid gamer for over 20 years and has setup the video game swapping website TheGameCollective to help gamers swap and sell their video games free of charge to help us get the most out of gaming.