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The Biggest Little Rule for Gaming on the Cheap

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Since the moment I was handed a Nintendo, my life has been a hazy, unfocused, and pixelated blur. I lived for games, inhaling campaigns, blasting through side-quests and poking and jabbing at my controllers with unparalleled abandon. And it was great. Whereas my father went outside and played “basketball” and “dated women” I instead spent a large chunk of my youth immersed in worlds embedded in microchips. It’s made me who I am today.

But my relationship with gaming has since gotten dicey. I have less time now, but, more importantly, little cash, to spend on games – and it’s caused me to revaluate my relationship with them. In short, playing video games as a young adult has forced me to reconcile playing games with spending money. I started to look at it this way: The tasks associated with playing games – the buying, the selling, and the actual playing – can be evaluated similar to how we play video games themselves: There are winners and losers and sometimes cheaters. Then, I discovered the Konami code of buying games.

Always used, never new.

UK Consumer group Which? recently released a report that basically confirmed what the video gaming populous already suspected: That video games, once bought, lose their value at a precipitous rate. By their metrics, a video game loses its value at a pace that far outstrips the equivalent behavior in cars. They use the example of the recent hit Red Dead Redemption, which lost 70% of its value less than a week after it was purchased.

That should sound crazy to you, but it shouldn’t be particularly unnerving if you have ever attempted to sell a game back to, say, Gamestop. Video game buy-back’s are almost criminally unfair to the gamers, all the while acting as a veritable gold mine for the greedy men behind the counter.

The solution? Don’t buy games new. Assuming you can resist the hype and general “buy now!’ ethic that surrounds the newest video game release, you can capitalize on the already-compromised system by riding out the wave of devaluated games until it reaches a more affordable point. Games that months ago ran a soul-crushing $60 are now less than half that amount, and in less than a year will be in the bargain bin. The tragedy of most blockbuster games is that, after a massive initial growth, their life cycle enters almost instantly into a decline stage. In this stage, people who want to play the newest titles already have them, and game stores have to slash prices to keep potential buyers interested.

This, of course, is where you pounce. If you want to play video games while retaining your livelihood, you essentially have to live six months in the past. Massively popular titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops are what people may currently be buzzing about, but give it a little time, and that buzz will have transferred over to the next big release. This will leave countless copies of the previous big title cheap and vulnerable and largely unwanted. Strike here for massive damage.

Image courtesy of Moe_on Flickr.

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