Trading vs. Buying
For most gamers, the conventional approach towards sustaining a fulfilling gaming lifestyle, begins with a roughly $60 purchase from a vendor, and ends roughly two weeks later with a $20 sale on eBay. Alternatively, many gamers take advantage of trade-in services offered by the same vendors, who can offer you up to 75% return on your purchase, but in most cases, that return is around 20 - 30%. Say you had a change of heart and later that day wanted to re-buy that same used game from the vendor, you would find that it costs as much as a new copy, or roughly 30 - 40% more than you received when you did a trade-in earlier that day.
It's a conventional practice employed by used car salesmen for generations, where the resale value is justified by the upkeep, taxes and regulations that vendors have to keep up with in order to render the product to the customer. This point is mute though, when it comes to digital media, as there is little to no upkeep or regulations pertaining to the resale of used video games. This means that the 30 - 40% price increase is mostly pure profit. The only reason why most gamers concede to this practice is convenience.
Alternatively, there are a few conspicuous sites that offer points for your used games, and offer you the opportunity to purchase an array of games for various point values. This practice, unfortunately, isn't much different from the physical store practice of trading games for cash or credit.
Of course, the concept of trading games either for points or for money is wholly centered on Used titles, and this presents challenges for both gamer and vendor alike. It is a fact that for the vendor/publisher, there is little to gain in selling used games, as this limits the number of new titles exiting the shelves. For the publisher, a single title can be sold, then resold over a dozen times without yielding any profit beyond the initial sale. As a result, crafty product managers have devised systems that either provide incentive to new purchases, or devalue games once they have seen a single use. For gamers, this means that any used title is immediately less valuable than a new one.
While the used game still offers many of the same features as a new one (Campaign, Local Play, Achievements/Trophies), the advent of online gaming has birthed an entire secondary experience for gamers. Many developers/publishers have devised a practice whereby a one-time usable code for either online play, or unlock-able assets means that most used games promise a reduced experience, versus their new counterparts.
For many gamers, this poses no problem, since they are satisfied with the core features available to them. However, a growing number of avid gamers would consider this enough to deter them from acquiring used titles for their favorite hobby. Despite this drawback, the difference in price between used and new titles sold by the same vendor, still does not sufficiently reflect the difference in potential gaming experience. Given that the online gaming experience is both unrated and unpredictable, it may never be possible for one to fairly assess the true value of a used verses new game.
While it may never be possible to accurately assess the value of a used game, it may still be possible to propose a fair trade that leaves a gamer satisfied with what resembles a balanced deal, via what we call Barter - an ancient practice whereby, although, say a loaf of bread wasn't comparable to a single fish, one could find satisfaction in trading one for the other. The practice gave birth to more sophisticated forms of trade, which lead to the creation of intrinsic values that were mostly arbitrarily placed on goods and services, ultimately manifest in the form of promissory bills/money.
Most gamers surveyed, agreed that they would prefer to trade a used game worth $30 for a different title that is also worth $30 on that same shelf, essentially balancing out a trade. However, no vendor out there allows you to bring in an equally valued game as a fair trade for an adjacent title on the $30 row.
GamerBarter has taken the challenge of assessing the Barter Value of every used game listed for sale at www.gamerbarter.com. Updated regularly, the barter value of any title reflects the approximate cost in acquiring that used game, for the platform indicated. This translates to a system that mirrors traditional barter, allowing gamers to send in one or more used games, and in return, select from a plethora of titles of equal barter value(s). As it stands, this is the most credible solution, that any vendor has offered, for an actual fair trade for any product.
While there is a Trade (Hold Fee) to ensure the integrity of the customer, the completion of the trade/barter in good faith will see the return of that Trade (Hold Fee). More information on GamerBarter trade protocols can be seen via www.gamerbarter.com.
What's your take on the Trading vs. buying, new vs. used, monetary vs. barter. We would like to find out.