There comes a point in every gamer’s life when your cherished video-game collection isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Life’s demands take over, or a new gaming system comes out, or you simply outgrow them.
Whatever the case, the games that once brought you hours of entertainment now sit on a dusty shelf, begging to be played.
Instead of dooming the discs to an eternity in cardboard boxes, consider selling them. Depending on how well you took care of them, they could make you a lot of money. Where you sell them is just as important.
Here’s a rundown of the best places to sell your video games.
Sell Video Games Online
Online marketplaces are likely to earn you more money for your video games. There are downsides, though. It takes time to learn the best practices for each platform, and each one has a slightly different customer base, which could affect the selling price. Decisions, decisions.
Amazon is the largest e-commerce website, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing for small-scale sellers.
According to an NPR study, 44% of online shoppers now start their search on Amazon. To cash in on that action and make money as an Amazon seller, you must register for an Individual Seller Plan or a Professional Seller Plan.
- Individual seller accounts are free. They have a selling limit of 40 items per month, and Amazon deducts a 99 cent fee per sale. That means no up-front costs to list your games.
- Professional sellers must pay a $39.99 monthly subscription fee. Professional accounts have no selling limit and are exempt from the 99 cent fee.
Both types of accounts are subject to additional selling fees, which range from 3% to 45% of the sales price depending on the category of the item.
For video games, it’s a flat 15%. If you have tons of games to sell, Amazon may be a great choice. But there are other websites better geared toward one-time sales.
What started as an email list comprised of Craig Newmark’s San Francisco friends snowballed into a newspaper-killing-online-classified-ad behemoth that boasts more than a billion page views per month.
It also doubles as a great place to sell your unwanted things to locals, without any listing fees.
To create a listing, no registration is required. The site will prompt you to answer a few questions about what type of item you’re selling and will ask you to specify your county. After that, describe your video game or console in detail, post a few photos and leave your contact information — if you don’t want to correspond through anonymous emails.
Then the replies will start rolling in. Be prepared to haggle.
Decluttr makes selling your used games easy. Thankfully, no photos or for-sale listings are required here.
To get a cash quote for your devices and consoles, enter the model of the item you want to sell into the search field on the website or app. Then select what condition it’s in (good, poor or faulty). A cash quote will appear immediately.
For CDs, Blu-rays or other discs, scan the barcode with your smartphone for an instant quote.
In The Penny Hoarder guide to selling on Decluttr, Matt Wiley scored more than $50 for some old movies and a few PS3 games. He got paid the day after his order was accepted via direct deposit, meaning no dealing with cash or checks or multiple buyers.
Compared to other marketplaces, Decluttr’s shipping policy is a great deal. The company handles shipping costs and sends you the shipping labels via email. All you have to do is pack the items in a box, tack on the label and mail it off.
There are multiple tiers for paid accounts — starter, basic, premium, anchor and enterprise ― with subscription fees that range from as little as $4.95 a month all the way up to $2,999.95. Each tier comes with a slew of benefits and discounts, which are listed under eBay’s subscription and fees section.
A well-lit photo (or five) is one of the easiest ways to set yourself apart. Good photos make your listing appear much more legitimate and trustworthy, too.
What’s unique about eBay is the option to create an auction listing, where buyers can bid on your games, or a fixed-price listing, where you can specify the price.
When your item sells, eBay charges a final-value fee, which is a percentage of the selling price. Usually 8% for items $50 or less, including shipping costs. And shipping is the seller’s responsibility.
At Gameflip, you can sell video games, gift cards, rare in-game items and movies all in one place.
To become a Gameflip seller, you must either register a credit or debit card (no prepaid cards allowed) or submit your ID for verification. You can sign up using an email address, Facebook or Gmail account.
For each item sold, Gameflip charges a processing fee of 8% of the sales price, plus an additional 2% digital-item fee (if applicable). Frequent sellers can join the Gameflip Club to reduce or eliminate selling fees. Memberships cost between $1 a month and $15 a month.
All income from your sales is stored on your Gameflip profile and can be withdrawn through PayPal.
What doesn’t Facebook do these days? (Protect your data. Ba-dum-tss.)
In 2016, the social media giant launched an on-site feature called Marketplace. It works a lot like other local-listing websites, except there’s the added benefit of looking through the profile of the buyer or seller.
Anyone can browse the marketplace anonymously, but to bid on or create a listing, you will need to sign in to your Facebook profile, which of course, is free. Creating a listing is also free.
Big-town universities usually have very active marketplace groups, due to the constant flux of students.
A perk to using Facebook is that the Marketplace feature aggregates relevant buying and selling groups in your area. Posting in these groups is a good way to advertise your video games to a specific audience.
Another useful feature unique to Facebook is the ability to send and receive money through Messenger for free.
Sell Video Games In-Store
While you’re likely to get a lower cash offer overall, going in person has its perks. You can often get the cash the same day, and you don’t have to worry about scammers or shipping costs.
It’s worth noting that several retail stores, such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart, are now accepting video games as trade-ins. They are not included below because they don’t offer cash.
Here’s where to go instead.
Selling games or consoles to GameStop is pretty straightforward. You take in your gear, and an associate appraises it. They’ll give you varying quotes depending on the demand for the title (which is constantly changing).
To get your payout, you’ll need a valid ID and will have to fill out a simple application, similar to those at pawn shops. A fingerprint is required.
If you’re not in need of the money immediately, don’t accept the cash quote. Store-credit offers are higher — in my case, 54% higher. In my guide to improving your GameStop trade-in value, I walk you through the process of gaming the system by taking the store credit on a Shell gas card, then swapping the gas card online for more money, or a better gift card.
My initial cash quote from GameStop was $72.40, but I turned that into $101.32 on an Amazon gift card, or $95.58 in cash.
A local pawn shop could be a good bet for a few reasons: You don’t have a GameStop nearby. You don’t have the patience to go through your massive collection and sort the good from the bad. Or your video games are a little dated but haven’t yet re-entered the mainstream as retro.
Most pawn shops don’t have sophisticated databases where they can punch in the titles of your video game and generate an offer. So if you have boxes full, you might get an offer like 50 cents per game. Because of the lax pricing policies, be ready to haggle.
To accept cash on-the-spot, you’ll need to fill out an application, give your fingerprint and show a government-issued ID.
Or you can always opt to take the trade-in credit and walk out with some newfound tchotchkes to fill all that shelfspace where your Xbox used to be.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.