It’s a natural part of the video game lifecycle. You’ve purchased a new game, played it for hours on end, unlocked all the extra content, then — it sits on your shelf and gathers dust. Eventually, there comes a time to sell your once beloved video games. Maybe you just need to free up space in your house or are trying to earn a quick buck to buy the next hit title. No matter the case, selling old video games is a common occurrence for anyone who owns a gaming system.
There are several ways to go about the process, but not all of them are equal. Some can be done within a day, however you might be disappointed at offer. Others are more labor intensive and reward you with a higher selling price. From buyback programs at major retailers to listing them on your own, here are the best ways to sell your old video games.
Sell ’em back: Yes, GameStop is still your best bet
Sure, you’ve probably heard people complain about GameStop’s trade-in values in the past. While the business can justify sometimes marking up games 3x more than trade-in values (Mario, Zelda), it’s also understandable why this bothers some people. The bottom line, however, is GameStop generally offers a higher price per game than other major retailers.
Companies like Best Buy, Target, Amazon, and Walmart now buy and sell used games, but no one beats GameStop on the one metric that counts. GameStop is also the only major retailer offering cash for used games — all the rest offer store credit. You get 20% less if you take GameStop’s cash route rather than store credit, but even then, you’ll most likely wind up right around what you would receive for a pile of games at any of the other major retailers.
While selling your old games and consoles to GameStop won’t maximize your dollars, the convenience factor at least partially makes up for it. While we recommend using GameStop for convenience, that’s not to say that the company always gives the best value on every game. If you are only trading in one or two games, it’s best to do some research before choosing a place to sell your old games. GameStop, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy list their trade-in values for each accepted game online. Amazon trade-in values are listed on product pages.
If you are selling older games from the pre-Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 era, GameStop is the only major chain that accepts “classic” titles. That being said, if you have a bunch of classic games to sell, you may want to consider our other options listed below, as you might possess, unwittingly or not, a rare title or two.
Don’t forget about local retailers
Chances are, you probably live near a GameStop or big-box retailer that will buy your old games. There’s also a chance you live near a local retailer that specializes in multimedia products, like used games and DVDs. Not everyone has an independent game shop in their area, but if you do, these shops want to buy your old games for more money than what big-box retailers offer. Local retailers are also more likely to take older generation games and cartridge-based games off your hands.
Eliminate the middle man
If you don’t need to unload your unwanted games right away and you are willing to put a little extra effort into the process, becoming the seller yourself will almost always get you the best price.
In terms of online secondhand marketplaces, the first two that come to mind are eBay and Amazon. Both venues let you set your own prices, but you are responsible for packaging and shipping. For some, this may be more hassle than it’s worth. However, there is a considerably more convenient option that still allows you to set your price.
If you’re on Facebook (who isn’t?), sell your used games on Facebook Marketplace. Just create the listing, add photos, set the category, set your price, and publish.
You can also join a Facebook group dedicated to buying, selling, and trading. Given the local nature of each group, you can talk on Facebook, agree to a price, and meet up to exchange cash for games. You don’t endure nearly as many steps as it takes to list games on Amazon, let alone eBay. Facebook groups are also less sketchy than making deals via Craigslist. Always meet in a public space, however.
If you’re moving, perhaps it’s time to Decluttr
Sometimes you don’t want to haul games to your local store and sell them. Sometimes you just want to box them all up and send them on their way. We get it. That’s where Decluttr comes in. It’s particularly useful when you are preparing to move, when you already have moving boxes and plan on downsizing other personal items as well, like books, DVDs, Blu-rays, electronics, and more.
Using the Decluttr app for iOS or Android, you can scan your games’ barcodes, print out a free shipping label, and send them off. When your games are received, the quoted amount for your lot is deposited into your bank account the following day. How much money can you expect per game? We found that while Decluttr doesn’t give the best rates for newer games (compared to GameStop), older games tend to fetch comparable amounts.
While we know Decluttr works well, there are other online options that may work better for you. NextWorth, which specializes in a wide array of electronics, is a reputable alternative that pays you via check or PayPal roughly a week after receiving your games. NextWorth doesn’t have a quick and breezy app, but if you aren’t selling a large collection, you may be able to get a few extra dollars, depending on which games you sell.
Another site, Cash For Gamers, also pays via PayPal or by check through the mail and offers hit or miss rates that sometimes exceed those found on Decluttr or Nextworth.
Donate and recycle
Let’s say you want to part with games that have little monetary value, or maybe you just want to clear some space, and don’t mind whether you get money back or not. In these situations, you may be tempted to just toss unwanted games in the trash or relegate them to a dark corner in the basement. Fear not: There are better options available.
First, if your games, consoles, and accessories are in working order, consider donating them to your local Goodwill. You can either visit a store to make donations or deposit your games into one of Goodwill’s many donation bins. There are also a growing number of gaming-focused charities that supply consoles and games to communities in need. These include Gamers Outreach, which donates consoles and games to children’s hospitals, and Operation Supply Drop, which sends consoles to men and women serving in the U.S. military overseas.
Your other alternative, if you so choose, is to simply throw away your games. We think it’s always better to find a new home for your collection, but if they really aren’t worth anything or they’re defective, throwing your games away is the logical conclusion.
As previously stated, throwing them in a dumpster — or even your recycling bin — isn’t great for the environment. If you want to dispose of your games properly, we recommend a few different options.
First, check e-Stewards, a company that has a high standard for recycling electronic products for both consumers and corporations. Look to see if there’s a recycling location near you that follows e-Stewards’ guidelines. Unfortunately, compliant locations aren’t found in every state, so there’s a chance that you won’t find one near you.
You can also recycle old video games and consoles at Best Buy. Bring them (or any electronics) to a local store, and they will discard them in an environmentally friendly way.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention Nintendo’s free Take Back program. Nintendo accepts used consoles, games, and accessories for recycling. Nintendo will even recycle competitors’ consoles, as long as you have proof that you previously purchased a Nintendo console. That’s pretty cool.