Feeling Worthless

I’m broke. Okay, so I’m not flat broke. I can afford to eat this week and for the weeks in the future. Okay, so I actually have a lot of money squared away. But never mind that. For the purpose of the next ten minutes, let’s just assume that my monetary funds aren’t exactly stellar. The fact of the matter is, I want more money.  Of course, I could just go out and get a job to help supplement my life of (not) boozing and (not) socialising, but there must be easier ways. Like, I have a crap load of games clogging up my shelves that I don’t play anymore; maybe I could sell those on eBay and use the money to buy some more, freeing up cash elsewhere for food? It’s a sound idea (if you ignore getting screwed over by fees and such), but it’s here we reach the point: games just aren’t worth much anymore.

This is all relative, of course, but let’s face it, making a fiver from something just isn’t going to cut it when you want to buy newer, better games. This is typical in a lot of areas, that the older a mass-produced item is, the cheaper it gets. Take FIFA 09 as an example. Once it was brand new and forcing you to shell out £40 or more to partake in its activities, but now you can wander round a car-boot sale and trip over cardboard boxes full of copies for a quid each.

This sort of thing is expected, but, recently, even the big new games are having their prices slashed dramatically before they’re even a month old. I recall seeing Mass Effect 3 dropped to around £20 on Play, barely two weeks after its release (although this probably had a lot to do with the fan backlash), and I personally experienced a moment of agony when I realised that no more than a week after I’d shelled out £38 for the latest SSX, those same bastards at Play were selling it for less than half that, brand new.

And while this is a pisser when buying, it sucks more when you decide to sell on your acquisitions. Having decided that SSX just wasn’t for me (to put it nicely), I opted to flog it on eBay, the same place I had picked it up no more than two weeks ago. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself listing it for about £17 just to compete with other sellers. Over the course of a fortnight, I’d made a loss of over £20 just because I’d been foolish enough to buy a game I was excited about close to its release date.

This isn’t true for all games, naturally. The rather brilliant Catherine has only recently had its price marked down on the majority of sites, and still goes for almost full price in stores (but who goes to them anymore?). But, weirdly, it isn’t just the obscure gems that still hold value, but the games with mediocre reviews that have somehow retained worth for some time.  Take, for example, Naughty Bear, which came out almost two years ago to reviews that called it clunky and repetitive and won it a “Worst Game of the Year” award. Surely a game of this age, with these reviews, would be found in your local bargain bin? But try and track it down for less than, say, £15, and you’re a miracle worker. That may not sound like much in the long run, but when you consider that (at the time of writing) the yet-to-be-released Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 can be pre-ordered for the same price on PC, suddenly it seems a little bit silly.

Of course, the argument goes that if you were actively hunting down games of that calibre, you’d probably just go ahead and pay that amount anyway (like I did). And if people are going to pay £15 for Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 or something equally as horrific (again, like I did), then why not charge that much? There’s no reason why people shouldn’t make money from other people’s stupidity. And most normal people won’t feel so violently ill every time they look at the awful game infesting their shelves that it takes all their strength not to simply set it on fire and forget they ever bought it, so they’ll be more willing to wait for a buyer to snap it up.

I’m no economist, but I’m aware that what I’m getting all mildly annoyed about is just business. The big games get huge numbers of discs published, which drives down worth as everyone has one, while the smaller games will retain their worth simply because there just aren’t enough copies for everyone. Really I should just shut up and get a job like every other self-respecting adult. But part of me just wishes that I’d get more money selling a genuinely good game than feeding off people’s bizarre curiosity for the absolutely atrocious.

Last five articles by Ric


One Comment

  1. simonjk says:

    I get the same problem now and again, by the time I get round to playing and getting borded of a game, go to trade it in It’s farily worthless. In saying that i was tempted to pick up the first Lego Starwars again to get the only achvmt across the genre I haven’t got and saw it on pre-owned but it was £25 so I passed. Occasional I have noticed the trade-in price it comparable to how many the store actually has in stock in Gamestation so sometime the return you can get on obsure older games is surprising, I got £15 for Darkstar 1 when I finally ditched it.

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