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eBay – How Much Are Your Games Worth?

eBay LogoHave you ever considered how much your collection of games is worth? How about selling some of your old games to fund a PC upgrade?

I have to admit that I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to computer games. Once I’ve bought a game I never like to throw it away as there’s always that feeling that one day I might want to give it another go.

Of course, it very rarely works that way. There are few games that can stand the test of time, particularly when you look at the advances in graphics quality since 3D cards became the norm, and sometimes it can be a lottery getting pre-Windows XP games to work at all. Most of my collection ends up played once and then forgotten, but some games stand out and have pulled me back a year or two later, where the gameplay or story makes up for the dated graphics.

In my case there have been a few stand out games that I have re-installed on my PC numerous times. Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Fallout 1 and 2 and the Thief series have been played a few times. These games are very similar … at the time of release their graphics were hardly cutting edge, but the production quality shone through, with a rich story, well voiced characters, interactive environments and solid gameplay.

The great thing is, you can also make a bit of money out of some of these games. Because of their quality they have a loyal fan base, often with groups developing fantastic mods to inject fresh life into the game, prolonging its lifespan. These are the games that are highly sought after on the second-hand market, but to get the most potential you also need to find a game that sold poorly on release.

Old Games, New Prices

System Shock 2 is a classic example. At the time the reviews were unanimous in their praise of the game, but that never translated into sales success. As a result there are few surviving copies out there, and very few in good condition. A quick look at completed eBay listings revealed a couple of pristine examples (CD and manual in original box) that had reached £25 (excluding p&p), and there were a few others that were fetching £18-£19. Check out the latest listings for System Shock 2 on eBay.

Final Fantasy VII is another example. I recently spotted this on my shelf gathering dust and was tempted to install it and have another go at completing it. The first time I played it I got a long way into the game before my hard drive died and took the save games with it, and I’ve never found the time to get back into this epic story.

Looking on eBay I spotted that the game is selling for about £18 with just the plastic jewel case, 4 CDs and instruction book. There was even a complete original big box version that had sold for £29.99 plus £3.50p&p. That’s good money! Check out Final Fantasy VII listings.

You can buy a brand new blockbuster title for about £25 online, so for games that are nearly ten years old to be fetching close to that price is pretty amazing.

Market Research

The hardest part is identifying the games that can sell for a high price, but eBay provides an invaluable tool for this in its search options. Take an example from your games collection and type in the name in the search box e.g. “System Shock 2″.

You will see the results of current auctions, which will give you an idea of what’s happening now. However, you can go back a few weeks by clicking on the ‘Completed Listings’ box on the left-hand side of the screen. This is where you will see items that sold (value is green) and that didn’t sell(value is red). You can then look at the details of the auctions to get an idea about what made an item so valuable, or caused it to not sell. You can also borrow ideas for formatting your auction and getting the description right.

eBay Tips

I’ve been selling things on eBay for a few years with reasonable success, but the following are what have worked well for me:

  • The first thing to do is to make sure you include as much information as possible about your game. List what you are including but be honest about the condition. If you’ve got the box but it’s a bit crumpled then say so, otherwise you may find you get some negative feedback from a disappointed buyer.
  • The best thing you can do is to include as many good pictures of your items as possible. If you have a digital camera, or can borrow one, then use it. The better the pictures you provide the more confidence your potential bidders will have in the item’s condition, and that should hopefully push up the number of bids and the final value.
  • eBay give you the opportunity to host a single picture for free and then add additional pictures for extra cost. Have you got any webspace as part of your internet account? Upload the pictures here and link to them and you can have as many extra pictures as you want for no extra cost.
  • Your auction title is important as it is used in the eBay search, but is also the first thing your potential bidders will see in the listings. Include as much relevant information as possible in the 50 characters e.g. “Final Fantasy VII PC CD Original Box Mint”.
  • Don’t forget about the eBay fees, which will take about 10% of your final selling fee. You pay a fee to start an auction, and then another percentage of the final selling price, as well as fees for additional features on the auction. The only one I would recommend is gallery, but if you’re careful about the title you might not even need that.
  • Don’t underestimate the postage fees, but don’t over inflate them either! Weigh your item and check the cost with your mail provider, then add a little extra for packing materials. Don’t double the price in an attempt to make more money, many buyers are wise to this practise and may avoid your listing and eBay may cancel your auction in extreme cases.
  • If you can, offer Paypal for accepting payments. You pay another fee to receive the money but it is most eBayers preferred payment method. I don’t recmmend accepting cash because of the dangers of it disappearing in the postal system, but cheques are great – no commission to pay, all you have to do is wait for it to clear before posting your item.

So go on, dust off your old games and get them sold. You might find that they’ll pay for a shiny new PC without you having to spend a penny from your hard-earned savings.

2 Comments

  1. Another option is to sell on non-ebay auction sites. Places like http://www.phimart.com lets you sell things with no listing fees, so it doesn’t really hurt to try.

  2. Fair comment, and there are other choices – QXL, eBid, Tazbar, CQOut to name a few.
    Personally I’d stick with eBay simply because it’s the biggest site by far, but that does bring with it the possibility of more competing sellers!

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