GAME, the UK’s biggest high-street video game retailer, will no longer accept trade-ins for physical video games starting February 16, 2024. The change, confirmed by staff to Eurogamer and later acknowledged by GAME itself, marks a significant shift for the company. GAME has had a long history of offering trade-in as a core service.
The reasons for the decision remain unclear, but we’d think it’s because of the decline in physical game sales and the rise of digital purchases. The trade-in program becomes less viable with fewer used games entering the market. The change is expected to happen at the end of the month. Existing pre-owned stock will continue to be sold until depleted (thanks Eurogamer).
GAME currently accepts most consoles, games, and gaming accessories, except “retro” systems and games (PlayStation 2 era and older). Its trade-in program offered store credit or gift cards in exchange for unwanted items, something many of us know from Game Stop.
Despite the trade-in discontinuation, GAME maintains its commitment to physical games. Company CEO Nick Arran stated last year, “Gaming is our core business and we will be last man standing selling physical video games.” He believes physical formats, particularly collector’s editions, hold value for customers and collectors.
The end of GAME’s trade-in program shows the decline we were all expecting to see. Brick-and-mortar stores for video games feel like an outdated concept. Game Stop and GAME are relics of a time when developers had to pay tons of money to get their games to consumers in a physical format. Today, it feels like it doesn’t make much sense; we even reported on digital beating physical in purchases.
I would say this is just one step closer to seeing physical stores fad as a thing of the past. Personally, even though I’ve been around for midnight releases, I prefer buying digitally.