Amazon Fires Up Video Game Trade-In Program

Everything Amazon seems to touch turns to gold, so why should this initiative be any different? In an effort to rival GameStop's highly successful trade-in business, the online e-tailer has launched its very own Video Games Trade-In program. Of note, the program is still listed as "beta" for the moment, but it's completely live and ready to accept any of your mildly stale titles.

The process seems simple enough. You select your games that are in "good condition," print a free shipping label and packing slip, send 'em off to Amazon and get an gift certificate in return (which is as good as cash, right?). The problem, however, is just how viable is this model? Industry spectators will certainly remember that GameStop itself attempted an online trade-in method a few years back, but it quickly canned the trial in favor of its in-store only approach. The drawback that killed it? Slowness.

You see, gamers willing to give up a used title for a fraction of what it could fetch on eBay or Craigslist generally get the urge to clear out old games and get a new one at around 6:00PM on a Friday evening. When this phenomenon occurs, users now have three major options: 1) list it on Craigslist and miss out on immediate gratification; 2) ship it to Amazon and miss out on immediate gratification; or 3) wheel out to a nearby GameStop and enjoy instant gratification. It's not difficult to see the easy choice, now is it?

Amazon's trade-in rates are right in line, if not a smidgen better, than GameStop's rates, though Amazon does let you take 10 percent off of new games and accessories when using trade-in credit to buy them. It's tough to say if this venture will be a hit or not for Amazon, but honestly, we're betting that it doesn't care one bit if it never overtakes GameStop as the go-to portal for trading in games. After all, this is just a tiny part of what makes up Amazon, and we imagine the additional costs to run this operation are slim. So long as a relatively small chunk of GameStop users divert their trades to Amazon, we suspect Bezos and company will be pleased as punch.