The Average Gamer

What Is Trade-In Detectives?

Trade-In Detectives Logo
Ben Grant and Matt Precious are both veterans of video game retail, each having spent 18 years working in various roles across the industry. Earlier this year, they set up Trade-In Detectives, a site that compares trade-in prices for games across dozens of UK retailers, online and around the country.

Thanks to their work at GAME Stores Group, the pair knew that pre-owned was a massive segment of the UK market, with an estimated annual value of £800 million pounds. Grant was the European Commercial Manager, who went on to become GAME’s Marketing Director in Australia during 2010. Precious spent five years leading on Preowned Development for GAME Stores Group before becoming the Commercial Director in Australia.

During 2012, both left the company to set up their own industry consultancy venture, Rubber Road Ltd. “When we came back [from Australia] we realised that there’s a massive pre-owned market that’s not particularly talked-about,” said Grant. “One of the biggest things that shocked us was the amount of comparison sites that are out there – Go Compare, CompareTheMarket,, etc.

“You can compare anything these days. If you take out car insurance, house insurance, broadband, energy bills, there’s a comparison site that does it.

“It just seems to be an every day part of life. What was missing, we found, was that you can’t compare trade-in values that each retailer is offering for your old games, consoles and accessories.”

Trade-ins are an important part of many gamers’ lives. Plenty of people will take a chance on a new game because they know that they can recoup much of the cost a few weeks later, but the best deals are more than likely not in your local shop. Trade-In Detectives allows you to search by title and compare the best trade-in prices at a glance for your unwanted game.

Trade-In Detectives Ghosts

But how does this affect publishers? According to the guys, trade-ins can only be a good thing. “Where people are trading in, the majority of the time, it’s to buy a new release,” said Precious.

“Looking at a GTA title, 50% of the people purchase that title from a specialist or an independent where you can trade in. I would suggest a minimum of 50-60% of people that bought GTA traded in their old games. They use their old games as currency to be able to afford to buy GTA. So the success of GTA, I reckon it sold what, 2.2 million in the first five days in the UK? I Would suggest about 1.3 million games were traded in, in those five days, as currency for people to be able to afford to buy GTA.

“And it’s not just GTA. You say well, the majority of people would have bought GTA anyway. Yeah but by buying GTA and trading it in, it allows them then to be able to afford other games like Battlefield, or Ghosts. It’s an endless list. The customer that trades in, buys more games than the customer who doesn’t.

“I know from our stats and our knowledge of the industry, a customer that never trades in their games on average will buy 2.9 new games per year. The customer that trades in will buy 6.4 new games per year.” Assuming that they spend at least £35 per game, that’s over £210 extra spent on new games per customer. Not bad at all for publishers.

Polygon are reporting today that trade-ins quadrupled over the weekend leading up to the US launch of the PlayStation 4. “On Sunday, we had people bringing in hardware and whole libraries,” said GameStop’s senior vice president of merchandising Bob Puzon. “We had some reports of stores staying open late just to get those trades done.”

According to Puzon, many of those people were looking to fund the purchase of the new console. “Most of the people trading in [on Sunday] were already pre-ordered and they were paying off their order.”

With the Xbox One launching here at the end of this week and the PlayStation 4 coming on the 29th, now might be the perfect time to start comparing those trade-in prices. Pop over to Trade-In Detectives to see what you could get for your soon-to-be-last-gen games.

[Hat-tip to MCV for the GameStop story]