What To Do Before Selling Or Trading In Your PS4, Xbox One

What To Do Before Selling Or Trading In Your PS4, Xbox One
Photo: Robtek, Shutterstock

A little more than a month from now, next-gen consoles will be out in the wild. At this point, you might be regarding your PS4 or Xbox One as a slowly degrading plastic box that’s doomed to waste space and collect dust. You might have even considered [gasp] getting rid of them.

Of course, these machines are by no means obsolete. Microsoft has repeatedly promised to continue support for the Xbox One, and even some games that seemed like PlayStation 5 exclusives — Horizon Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, for instance — have been confirmed as PS4 releases. But, if you’re planning on parting ways with your current-gen consoles in the coming weeks or months, there’s a smart way to go about it. Here are the preventative steps you should take.

Copy your games to an external device.

Current-gen games will be largely backward compatible on both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. But the fact of the matter is that we don’t know how smooth the process will be at a launch, how accessible your digital library will be, and how long it might take for Sony and Microsoft to iron out any kinks that might pop up. If you already have a reliable external drive on hand, it can’t hurt to copy over your favourite games ahead of time.

Xbox One games will work on the Xbox Series X and S, so long as they’re on a compatible external drive. (External storage drives that work for the Xbox One will also work for the next-gen Xboxes. You just won’t be able to use them to store and play next-gen games. You also won’t be able to make the most of the console’s slick solid-state drive to optimise current-gen ones.) So if you wanted to, say, download all 100-ish games on Game Pass to one Arbiter-sized HDD, you’re well within bounds to do so.

Sony hasn’t revealed how, or if, externally stored PS4 games will work on the PS5. (We’ve reached out to Sony for clarification and have yet to hear back.) But, again, it can’t hurt to be prepared.

In any case, here’s how to copy games to an external drive on both legacy consoles:

Xbox One: On Xbox One, you need at least 256GB of free space on your external drive. Once you’re sure of that, it’s a matter of opening your settings, heading to the System submenu, and selecting the “Storage” option. You can choose the games you want to transfer piecemeal, or select them all, and copy or move them to any external drive plugged into your console. Copying will duplicate the files onto your external drive, while moving will delete them off of your console.

PlayStation 4: With the PS4, you won’t need 256GB of free space, but you will need 250GB. (Three cheers for arbitrary distinctions!) You might need to format your external drive for PS4, too, but you can do that directly on the console. Once everything’s set, go to your console’s Storage menu and click on “system storage.” Hit the Options button and select “move to extended storage.” Then select the games you want to move over and confirm.

Back up those saves.

Creating backup save files on the Xbox One is seamless, so long as you have an internet connection. All you have to do is connect to Xbox Live. It’ll sync your data to your account. What’s more, thanks to the Smart Delivery feature — in short, games you get this gen will work next gen too — save data for cross-gen and backward-compatible games will also follow your account. Conveniently, that’s all done at a platform level.

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Sony, meanwhile, is leaving it up to developers. Only a handful of games have confirmed cross-generation save transfers, so it’s certainly an instance of “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

If you’re a member of PS Plus, Sony’s monthly premium membership, you can store your saves in the cloud. The easiest way to do so is to set your console up to automatically upload your save files whenever you log out or switch over to rest mode. First, you need to make sure your PS4 constantly stays connected to the internet, a setting you can toggle in the Power Save Settings menu, under the “set features available in rest mode” options. Once that’s squared away, go to “application saved data management” and check off the first box. You can store up to 1,000 individual data files in the cloud, which should be more than enough for your purposes (unless you’re the dude who nabs 300 Platinums a year).

You can also backup save files individually to an external USB storage device. Under “application saved data management,” click on “saved data in system storage.” From there, you can copy to a USB storage device, either piecemeal or in bulk, by hitting the Options button and selecting the only option that pops up. Save data tends to be relatively small — we’re talking megabytes, not gigabytes — so you could even put this stuff on a flash drive.

Restore factory settings.

Between save data, account info, friends lists, achievements, and any stored financial information, it’s best practice to simply wipe the slate clean. Just a heads up: Once you do so, there’s no going back. If you’re 100 per cent sure you’re ready to part ways, here’s how to do it for your various consoles.

Xbox One: First, be sure to sync up with Xbox Live; that will ensure your save data and other bits of account info are backed up digitally. Then tap the Xbox button and open up your settings. Scroll down to “System,” open the Console Info submenu, and click “Reset console.” Then hit “reset your console?” and select the “reset and remove everything” option.

PlayStation 4: Open the settings and go to the Initialization submenu. You should see an option to “restore default settings.” Follow the prompts.

Nintendo Switch: Open the settings menu, close the settings menu, put your Switch down, and ask yourself why in the world you’d want to get rid of the only console that will play Super Mario Odyssey.

Don’t immediately sell it to EB Games

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t part with your console at EB Games. But be sure to do some research first. Head into your local store and ask about your console’s trade-in value. You don’t have to commit, but it should give you a good idea about what you’re in for.

EB Games also isn’t your only option. JB Hi-Fi also has a trade-in service, or you can check eBay for the going console rate. If you can sell it online, you might get far more for it.

You could also donate your old console to charity, if you’re in a position to do so. Your local library is a solid option, too. Consider reaching out to these or similar organisations to see if they have a current need for secondhand video game consoles.

Do some housekeeping.

If you’re dead set on bidding adieu to your Xbox One or PS4, pay it forward. Give your machine a good dusting. Make sure everything works properly. Wrap your cables — neatly. (Get some twist ties if you need to.) And make sure to properly sanitise everything. We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, after all.


  • My Ps4 is a release day console, only issue it has is the controllers de-sync with the console every now and then and i have to reset the whole console.
    Otherwise currently just trying to finish a few games before Ps5 is release and i got a couple of release day games coming with it. I still have my ps3 in the spare cupboard along with Xbox 360 and dream cast (all still work)

  • My PSPro will be going upstairs for my partner to use for Netflix so no chance of a trade in there.

    I’m not particularly worried about my games and saves transferring over too much at this stage as Warframe is the only thing that I plan to continue on with in the beginning, everything else I will start new if it’s available.

    • You’re going to use a ps4 pro that you could sell for $400 just for netflix, something that any smart tv, $50 chromcast, or a miriad of other devices can do?
      Massive waste of electricity too.
      You would actually save money getting rid of it and buying something else for netflix.

        • Loads on gumtree/Facebook marketplace.
          I sold my standard PS4 2 weeks ago for $330. I’m assuming my PS4 Pro is going to go for a lot more!

        • Heaps of people – huge demand for consoles since covid, my local eb had signs up for “pre-orders” for second hand consoles because they has sold all of them.
          There’s heaps on eBay and FB etc.
          EB are offering about $350 for trade in, but obviously you get more selling it yourself.

      • She will play some games on it but 90% of the time she’ll just watch Netflix.
        The upstairs TV isn’t wireless and even if we ran a hardline up there it’s absolutely atrocious for running Netflix.
        We tried the Chromecast and even with a booster it’s unwatchable on a wifi connection to the bedroom.

        Fact is the PS4 is the better solution and offers a lot of other options.

    • Yep, these days old consoles make good media players.

      My Xbox One X will be going in another room to become a 4K Blu Ray Player and to cover whatever streaming applications that TV doesn’t have. It’ll be replacing the PS3 that’s been used there as a dedicated blu ray player ever since the PS4 came out.

  • You forgot the most important part – make sure the console is no longer tied to your account – consoles these days are tied to your account, and even if the account is removed that cosole is still assigned to you.
    Xbox can be removed from here – https://account.microsoft.com/devices/
    PS can be removed from here – https://id.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/id/management_ca/#/p/device_management
    Nintendo unfortunately removed the ability for you to unlink, so apparently you need to call them to get it done.

  • It’s worth pointing out that if you’re picking up your PS5 from an EB store, maybe do all of this BEFORE the PS5 is out, so you can bring the PS4 in for a trade-in that reduces the cost of the PS5.

    For comparison, CEX is buying PS4 Pros at the moment for $260.
    If traded for a PS5 disc-based version, EB is giving non-members $301 for it, and l4 members get that boosted to $388.

    That’s some pretty good trade-in value.

    • Yeah. Some part of me is really nervous about parting with my pro, on the idea of trust the 5 WILL be there on the day. Though guy at my local said I can drop it off on the 9th by the latest, which is a bit better than a week before which was there first idea.

  • Don’t trade/sell to EB, worst option you have, you’d be better off burning your console/games than go to EB, EB will give you about half of what you’d get anywhere else If that, pure scum when it come to trading.

    If you must sell do it on FB/eBay/gumtree, way better options.

  • Clarrifications:
    “But the fact of the matter is that we don’t know how smooth the process will be at a launch, how accessible your digital library will be, and how long it might take for Sony and Microsoft to iron out any kinks that might pop up.”
    MS has confirmed all titles (except Kinect) currently running on Xbox One will work on X|S. Library will appear pretty much as it currently does in the dashboard. https://twitter.com/jronald/status/1321437398757072896?s=20

    “External storage drives that work for the Xbox One will also work for the next-gen Xboxes. You just won’t be able to use them to store and play next-gen games.”
    External storage can be used to store next-gen games, but they need to be transferred back to internal storage (or the high-speed expansion) to play.

  • This is stupidly obvious but possibly something that can be easily overlooked in the heat of the moment, but make sure you remove any discs from the drive.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one that has a mix of digital and physical games, and at any point the disc in my system might be a title I haven’t touched for 6 months and could easily be forgotten about.

    • Also in regards to game backups, pay especially close care to anything that has been delisted from digital stores and can’t be downloaded again even if you owned them. PT for the PS4 being one, and I vaguely recall some TellTale titles too fit that category. Most tiles can just be downloaded again so some people may gloss over it. Check if the library has anything you can’t recover again.

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