GAME stores no longer taking trade-ins... it's the beginning of the end for physical games

The end of an era

GAME store in Hammersmith, London
(Image credit: Edward Hands)

Major retailer GAME has confirmed that it is going to end all video game trade-ins in its stores, bringing to an end decades as a traditional place to be able to sell your used PS5, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch games. 

The change was first reported by Eurogamer this week, before being confirmed by a statement from GAME to the BBC. 

It will apparently happen in stages, with most stores ending their intake of pre-owned game trade-ins in the next month or so, before they start to sell through their existing stock of pre-owned titles.

That second stage may take a while, of course, but by this summer you should expect to no longer be able to trade anything in at GAME stores or outlets.

This will also mean the end of the GAME Elite subscription, which boosted your reward points earnings for trade-ins. It will also end at some point in the summer. 

There are apparently a few major reasons behind the decision, with one of the most prominent being the clear decline in physical game sales compared to digital in recent years. 

Another is that many GAME stores are now located as smaller outlets within Sports Direct shops, and there are seemingly complications around the different till types required to process trade-ins. It is unlikely to be worth the extra cost in training and equipment. 

Regardless, it shrinks even further the already fairly contracted market for pre-owned games and accessories, with CEX now the only major high street brand that will exchange almost any game or hardware for either credit or cash.

The death of physical video games?

GAME has previously clarified that it remains committed to the sale of physical games, but time will tell whether that can remain a top priority in the face of a changing market. 

This is all echoed by a recent trend in the US, too, where shoppers have noticed that Best Buy is in the process of ending the sale of physical films, removing Blu-rays and DVDs from its stores abruptly. 

The direction of travel for physical media seems pretty clear at this point, sadly, so if you're holding on to a collection of older games that you've thought about selling, it might be worth thinking hard about whether you can instead keep them somewhere. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.