Xbox Survey Wonders If You’d Trade In Your Digital Games For Store Credit

Xbox Survey Wonders If You’d Trade In Your Digital Games For Store Credit

Refunds notwithstanding, digital video game purchases are normally a one-way street, but what if they weren’t? A question from a recent Xbox survey asks gamers if they’d part with their digital acquisitions for 10 per cent store credit.

The image below popped up on Reddit yesterday, and the hypothetical it presents is interesting.

Trading in a $US60 ($79) game and getting back $US6 ($8) might not seem like a fair deal. Considering the alternative is a dusty digital locker filled with games you never intend to play again with no avenue of exchange other than selling your Xbox Live, PSN or Steam account outright, it’s not so bad.

Between the three services I’ve accumulated hundreds of digital titles over the past couple of years, and I’d say a good two thirds of those are games I will never touch again. Were they physical copies the collector in me would be compelled to make them look pretty on a shelf. Instead they’re just ghosts wandering an electronic limbo with business that will never be finished.

I think the more important angle of this hypothetical trade-in program is what would the platform holder do with the reclaimed goods?

Despite their intangible nature, digital games carry real value. Publishers sell their product to resellers, who in turn sell access to that product to consumers. So where would that access go once a digital game is traded in? Were Microsoft to offer such a program, would they then be able to turn around and resell those rights at a lower price?

Reading deep between the lines, it sounds like the Xbox survey is kicking around the idea of used digital games. That’s mildly frightening. The rise of the digital download has taken a bite out of used game sales, helping more money into the hands of the folks making the games. If a digital game trade-in program undermined that, I’m not sure I’d be keen.

So my answer to the survey question is currently “Don’t know/Not sure.” No matter how neglected some of them may be, I’d need to know what’s going to happen to my digital games before I’d consider giving them up for small change.

I’d love to hear what you folks think. The comment section is yours.


  • I wish Steam had this. Its a big reason I won’t pay more than $50 a game (The Witcher 3 withstanding). Sure I get entertainment from the game for a while, but than it becomes worthless.
    I’d probably buy more games if I knew later down the line I could “trade it in” for some credit.

    • Oh god I hope this never comes to steam imagine if an account got hacked and they traded in all your games for the dosh!

      • I would hope they would implement some of kind of authentication process. Kind of like you now have to do when selling items via the market in Steam.

    • This. So much this.

      Additionally, I would love it if it became part of a norm.

      3DS eShop titles, PSN titles, XBOX Live titles, heck even mobile games…

  • Not for 10% of its value. I get better than that at EB. Not MUCH better… but better. Make it 20% and we’ll talk.

    • Plus EB has to deal with physical stuff like verifying quality, paying staff, other overheads to stock the 2nd-hand copies in store…etc.

      MS just gets the licence back, which it can resell at full price to someone else. I mean, it would be impossible for MS to sell a 2nd-hand digital licence. It would be selling the same product for two different prices. That would be divisive to say the least.

    • Make it 20% and we’ll talk

      Unless it’s like Suikoden 2 or some bullshit, then I can sell it for 50,000% the original price I paid.

    • I get better than that at EB.I must have missed EB’s new digital copy trade in scheme :p

      • Bahahahaha you know what I mean. But by that right given its digital and doesnt wear down shouldnt it be worth more? 😛

  • Trading in a $US60 ($79) game
    As much as I appreciate the conversions, and I absolutely do, it’s worth a chuckle knowing that even with the conversion, that US$60 game still costs AU$100 here. The $8 trade value though would still likely be pretty accurate.

    To the article itself, it would almost always be better getting a physical copy if you had the intention of trading in games you were done with. Due to a tangible product finding it’s way back to the shelf and being available for resale, better value can be had for a month or so after the release of a new title. If I buy Battlefront for instance and get bored 2 weeks after I can trade it back for about 70-80% of the initial purchase price but that same purchase online would only net me $10.

  • I don’t want physical media anymore- it’s a pain in the ass to have around and I don’t bother reselling- but $99 for a new release is ridiculous so I’d MUCH rather they just adjusted their prices to be in line with retail.

    I buy all my games on the US Xbox Live store using US points cards (since we can’t use Aussie CC’s anymore) and it ends up getting close to parity with Aussie retailers, but it’s still an unnecessary pain in the ass. If I get a US $50 card for $56AU and then buy a new release, as I did for UFC 2 last week, it ends up costing me somewhere in the vicinity of $70AU.

    I’m not paying $30-$45 more on launch day for a download that hasn’t needed to be printed, shipped, shelfed and sold.

    • Far Cry Primal was a recent and outright baffling example.

      The US Steam price was $60US; pretty standard, right? The AU Steam price was like… $61US. So no real ‘Australia Tax’ worth mentioning. So all we had to pay was the currency conversion, putting the title at around $85AU.

      But you could buy it retail for $78 at most major retailers that aren’t EB. So even when the yanks AREN’T being unconscionable assholes and ramping up the Oz-tax, they were still getting undercut by retailers cutting their margins.

      • It’s the high profile major releases that are the worst. Competition at retailers means you get some really good deals on those titles.
        You could get Fallout 4 $36-46 cheaper on launch day than you could on the Aussie XBL store.

        The stupid thing is that when they put a sale on the deals are often good value and match the best of retail (by console game standards), it’s just the full-retail prices that have the ridiculous disparity.

        • I know. It’s crazy. Imagine….if somehow we could buy a disc copy from the retailer of our choice, at whatever competing price they’re selling it for – and have it work as a digital copy once installed – giving you full digital ownership of the game – allowing you to access it on whatever console you signed into , without needing the disc ever again , except maybe to reinstall if you’ve deleted it (and quicker than redownloading it). No being locked into paying whatever digital marketplace price is set – and being able to choose between whichever retailers exclusive content / pricing etc.

          Who could come up with such a brilliant plan? And who couldn’t think it had significant merit to the consumer? Hmmm.

          • I wish I could up vote this comment even more. Xbox One original plan was amazing until the great unwashed revolted and put us back 10 years.

    • You realise that the US price is Pre Tax right? And you’ve noticed the current exchange rate?

  • I wouldn’t as a matter of course sell back my digital titles once I was done with them, but a couple of dollars back on games I definitely don’t intend to play again that are otherwise just cluttering up my “ready to install” list, sure, why not?

    • You can always just remove them from the ready to install list, just means that you’d need to find the game again on the store to redownload it

      • That used to be the case, as far as I can tell this option has been removed. Several games I removed previously have reappeared and I can no longer find the option to hide them.

          • I’ll have to look again myself. I don’t really need to reinstall The Division beta anytime soon…

          • The option to hide games was added back in with the update a few weeks back. From memory there is a hotkey to “unhide” all hidden games too, both triggers and X perhaps?

  • Interesting read, maybe Xbox plans to bring back their hugely unpopular Xbox One concept of DRM? with the bonus that locked games don’t mean lost value?

  • I wish this was functioning right now. I’d trade in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5

  • I’d be curious to know if the 10% of the purchase price that you get refunded… is that 10% of the price you paid at the time (say you paid $100 on day 1, so you get $10 back)? Or 10% of the price at the time you trade it (say it has dropped to $50 by then, so you get $5 back)?

    • I’d assume it’d be 10% of whatever the current sale price of the game is, otherwise they’d need to keep detailed stats against your account of what you paid for a game and then what you should receive back. Seems like a lot of extra computations

      • Yeah, although you’d assume they’d have that info on record anyway in case of refunds etc?

        • The real potential is waiting for a “game with gold” is back to the normal $20-30 it normally is. Then trading it in for an easy $6 a month!

  • I’d like this feature, moreso for Steam though. Have bought so much crap there, most of it won’t even play on my PC anymore.

    • Steam is a more difficult concept, more than half of the content I have in my library is bought through humble bundles, meaning I paid well under what they retail in the actual store

      • I know – they have the option now to delete items from your list, which would delete the whole bundle. The only way a Steam refund would work is if the title was purchased through the Steam marketplace, that way they would have record of your purchase price. Refund would have to be based on what you bought it for otherwise you’d get people buying games at 95% off, refunding them for profit!

  • $10 for a $100 game? Get stuffed. Bloody con artists!

    Buy at retail for $60 on release and resell for $40 om ebay. People can’t possibly be so stupid as to go along with such a scam.

  • Does it make a difference that they’re only talking about offering store credit?

    I’m willing to bet Microsoft would eat the reimbursement if that money is guaranteed to stay in their ecosystem.

  • 10%? Pffft. I’d rather just keep the games, thanks … even if they aren’t all that amazing. At least I would still have something to show for the money I originally spent. I’d never feel that hard up for money that I’d be prepared to loose entire games off my library for a handful of dollars, especially when the item has no physical representation (all that is taking place is the press of a button to revoke a digital license, it’s not like the item needs to be physically handled or assessed for its condition … as Zambayoshi has already stated above). Weresmurf is right – it would have to be 20% to start to make it feel worthwhile, otherwise I feel like they are insulting people.

  • I’m not so much interested in the trade-in part, but I would love to be able to gift away some of my steam library, so many awesome games that I won’t/don’t have time to play, somebody else could be playing them

  • I really wish the Xbox store was useful, but it’s usually at least $40 more expensive than retail – and with a physical disc, I can get well over 10% back (100%, if I decide I don’t like the game within a week). I’d love to download games in the middle of the night and get playing if the prices were vaguely reasonable, but a 10% trade-in doesn’t come close.

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