Sealing the Deal
It feels like local game shops used to be everywhere but now they’re harder to find in some cities and towns. Some of them went under during the recession and others were pushed out by corporate-based stores. Brick-and-mortar retail has been weakened over the years as Amazon’s grip on the market has tightened as well. I live in a smaller town that only has Game Stop, a smaller chain store called ‘Game Xchange’, and one locally owned game store. Larger cities may have more options but even then, buying and selling online is becoming more the norm as time passes. It’s also sometimes easier to find what you’re looking for when hunting for a specific game from the comfort of your desk instead of driving all over your area and to nearby cities. The same thing can be said when selling your games for extra cash, too. It can be hard to find a fair selling price or willing buyers near you but someone is undoubtedly looking for what you’re selling online. Almost everyone’s least favorite game is someone else’s favorite or something they’re wanting to add to their collection.
There are plenty of good places to sell your games online though. You don’t need to find the nearest Game Stop and part with your games for a fraction of their worth. It doesn’t help you and it just means whoever buys it is paying a marked up price and throwing money at a large company. Sometimes selling to a chain is the only option but there are ways to keep games within the community, which helps both the buyer and the seller.
I’ve looked around online to find some good websites where you can trade, sell, and swap your games so you can turn them into another game or that new game system you’re wanting to buy. You may even discover some new favorite games along the way while putting unwanted games up for sale. The Internet has unlimited shelf space compared to my local Game Stop, which used to be a hat store. Midnight releases are always uh, interesting in terms of space and smell.
Let’s start with the most obvious place. You probably buy stuff on Amazon frequently. We all do, despite the companies morally gray behavior. It’s fast. It’s convenient. And it’s typically a good price. But it’s not the first place that comes to mind when selling stuff, despite being a relatively easy process. Everyone knows about Amazon so selling things can often be fast and easy.
When I was in high school I used to put hours into adding legendary Pokémon and rare items onto various Pokémon cartridges with the help of my Action Replay. Then I’d list them on my grandma’s Amazon account and sell them at a fair but marked up rate. Some people have more money than time. I was in high school and so the reverse was true. I was probably selling to people in my current position where I have money to spend and very little time to enjoy the games I love. It was a good system and helped me and the people who quickly purchased the enhanced cartridges.
Amazon makes it easy to sell your stuff. They have an easy-to-follow process and an entire section on how to get started. There are two kinds of accounts and which account you choose depends on how often you’ll be selling. Individual accounts are charged $0.99 for each item sold, along with referral fees and variable closing costs. Selling on Amazon is smooth but they charge for the convenience and the use of their digital shelves. You’re very likely to sell your items quickly but if you’re planning on selling regularly and often, you may need to get a professional account.
Professional accounts don’t include the $0.99 fee for each item sold but do include a monthly fee of $39.99. The professional plan also includes advertising, top placement on product pages, and even give you access to data that may help you optimize your operation. I’d definitely recommend starting with the individual plan first while you figure out your plans, even if you are planning on selling regularly. It can help you get familiar with the basics while earning some income. It’ll be a lot easier to learn without the pressure of a monthly $40 charge.
Amazon may not be the best place to sell but it could be a good place to start and it’s easy to get up and running. They even provide great resources that can help you when you’re starting out.
ebay is probably my favorite big website to buy and sell from. It can require a bit more research so you can buy with confidence but if you’re looking for something, it’s probably on ebay. Buyers know this too which makes it a great place to sell. If you have something that people will want to buy, this is the place to sell it to the right person. The audience for your game or gaming memorabilia will find it. I once sold a Game Boy Advance e-Reader with several full sets of cards that combined to run games, like Donkey Kong, at a local thrift store and they said they would have to give less money on the duplicate cards. I had to explain each of the Donkey Kong cards had to swiped to run the game. I regret selling that for several reasons. And I wouldn’t have had that problem on ebay.
A lot of smaller shops have ebay storefronts too, which is great and works out well for everyone. People physically nearby can still browse physical shelves while others all over the world can buy extras or other items the store chooses to sell online instead. My local game shop has an ebay page that’s regularly updated. People are sometimes more willing to check out your inventory if they can do so without having to travel to your store. And that can apply to you, too!
You can sell one off items if you want or you can create a little operation where you regularly sell extra games you already own or come across at garage sales. You can even buy bulk orders with dozens of different games and sell things you don’t want. It can be really easy to get things going on eBay and the website makes it easy to get started.
ebay has a dedicated help page to provide you with information on getting started, selling more efficiently, and optimizing your time. Their fees are pretty reasonable too. They give you your first 250 listings each month for free and then only charge $0.35 per listing. The percentages you pay vary based on the sale amount but are typically right around 12 percent.
The only problem I encounter with selling on ebay is there are so many cool things to buy that it’s easy for me to spend more than I want on purchases before I close the window. From modded consoles and handhelds to refurbished games, ebay has everything, which makes it a perfect place to sell your games!
I haven’t used PlayNSwap yet but I intend to use it for purchasing and selling in the near future. It’s been around since 2010 and was created by people frustrated with how little trade games were fetching compared to how much they were then being sold for at the same places. We’ve all sold something at Game Stop for $15 only to see it on the shelf for $45 the next day. It stings. Local game shops used to be everywhere and were a lot fairer but many of them were wiped out by places like Game Stop. It’s hard to compete against stores that can run on thinner profit margins.
PlayNSwap looks like a great place to sell though. One unique thing that I especially love is the ability to swap with people, like the name suggests. People can purchase the games you list or send you a swap offer. Maybe you’re trading in Pokémon Sword, Days Gone, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for money toward Breath of the Wild and Final Fantasy VII Remake and someone will trade you those games! PlayNSwap can cut out the middle step sometimes when just wanting money to get different games. It’s a pretty neat concept.
And if your games don’t sell or get a swap offer then you can always try again or lower the price. But at least you’re listing it for what you think is fair and people have the option of buying it. I’ve worked at Game Stop seasonally several times (it’s hard to beat that holiday discount) and would sometimes see people offer to buy things for more than Game Stop was offering in trade credit. We’d politely have to ask them to do it outside but it was kind of nice seeing both parties happy from a transaction. And it looks like that’s essentially PlayNSwap’s mission statement. It’s good to see and it’s a place I’ll be listing some games on in the near future.
LeapTrade is similar to PlayNSwap but with a few differences. It’s still people selling to other people, which keeps prices lower and also makes things more fun but there’s a social component at LeapTrade. They have a blog, forums, and groups available next to buying and selling. There are also no fees. Sellers only pay for shipping. LeapTrade doesn’t have the swap feature of PlayNSwap but it still looks like a great place to sell and buy games.
You can also sell and buy older titles on LeapTrade so you can sell retro titles you’re not playing anymore. Hopefully you would use the cash on other retro titles because they’re rad but maybe you’re getting rid of some older games you don’t like to get something cooler like Condemned: Criminal Origins. Regardless of what you’re wanting to sell or buy, LeapTrade looks like a good place to do it.
Mercari has hundreds of thousands of items listed each and every day and is a great place to sell your things. You can use their app to take pictures and list your items within minutes. All you need is their app, a government-issued ID, and a debit card. You can also use a checking account if you want to avoid fees. Sales over $10 don’t have a fee when doing direct deposit. It takes up to five business days over the instant debit pay but Mercari lets you choose between a $2 instant fee or paying in patience. It’s up to you.
This process really sums up the Mercari experience. It’s all about selling things you don’t want to people that want it in an easy and user-driven experience. It’s as simple as that and Mercari makes it easy to list, sell, and get paid.
The process all takes place online too so you don’t have to do anything other than listing and shipping. Mercari even offers insurance up to $200 if you use their prepaid shipping labels. They sell everything from games to toys to handmade items so you can even list other stuff besides games while you’re staring in pain at copies of Too Human and X-Men Destiny you found while cleaning your attic. Don’t sell X-Men Destiny though. Put it in the trash and weaken the game’s evil power. There are some incredibly reasonable prices on here for older game systems because it’s not a game-specific website. You may even be able to grab some stuff on here for much less than they’re worth and then run over to ebay and sell it for its true value. Like Mercari, it’s your call.
Video games are magical but you need money to buy games and cat food. Whether you’re selling games you don’t want to buy different games or to put your cat through college, it’s important to make sure you’re on a website you know and trust. It’s also nice doing it from the comfort of your home. I used to get stressed out changing my mind on trades at Game Stop. Walking from the register and out of the store with a full backpack of stuff just made me feel like everyone thought I was cheap. In reality, I just knew the value of my stuff and didn’t want to throw it at Game Stop or other similar stores for pennies when someone like me would cherish it and give me a fair price. Selling online removes the pressure and puts you in control. No one is watching you and there’s no stress involved. You pick when you list and you ship it out. You have to do a little more but you’re also gaining more money and having fun in the process, which beats being stressed in a smelly secondhand shop. You also won’t get silly offers online since you’re choosing your price. I will never forget when Game Stop told me they would take my copy of Mass Effect if I gave them $3.00. It wasn’t worth anything to them anymore and that’s what their computer told me to offer me. It was an offer I resisted quite easily. I sold it on ebay for $25 later that night with the help of my dad.