Used Game Market Growing, Amazon Enters the Fray

Posted by | March 18, 2009

Just as the retail video game market shows no signs of slowing down, the used game market is coming up from behind to devour all obstacles in its path. The latest entry into this whirling pit of resale is Amazon.com, who has recently opened up a trade store offering online credit. That news hit the established players in the used industry like a back-alley mugger with chainsaw arms, slicing off a good and bloody 20% chunk of GameStop’s stock value. Other used merchants reacted in a similar way, setting off a small spike in gun, rat poison, and noose-worthy rope sales.

However, a report by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, a company that monitors the video game market, has discovered that the used game segment of the industry is more likely to grow to match Amazon’s hunger, rather than cannibalize itself as many stores fear. The main deal is that local shops like GameStop allow gamers to trade in their old titles and walk right out with the latest and greatest, while Amazon’s service, being slower and reliant on shipping, is more appealing to people who would rather trade in their old games for other products, say, movies or books.

Game publishers, on the other claw, have looked at the news with a different sort of emotion, namely scorn. But for the moment, retailers control the gaming industry, and until consumers prove willing to give up a physical product for a completely digital download, that doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon.

Either way, I just found Planescape: Torment, one of the best RPGs ever made, at a used store for $8. Until the game producers can match that kind of value for the money, I’ll be over here championing the second-hand shops with my cash.


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