Amazon Jumps Into Game Trade-ins

E-commerce giant Amazon has unveiled a video game trade-in program, offering customers gift cards to the most popular store on the Web in return for old video games.

It’s a move that could position Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to better capitalize on one of the healthier media segments: games. Reselling used games also could be potentially lucrative for the world’s largest online retailer, considering that prices on pre-played titles can still remain fairly high while still representing a discount from the $50 and $60 cost of new products.

Amazon is accepting old games from the major console systems, including Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation. The online retail giant is not accepting PC games, however, a move that has garnered criticism in the site’s discussion forum.

The launch also brings Amazon into competition with similar offline gaming trade-in services, such as Gamestop.

Amazon is offering free shipping for people to send in their games, generating a pre-paid shipping label when a user initiates a transaction. The Web retailer will deposit a gift card into users’ accounts once it received the games.

Amazon is only accepting certain game titles, and insists that games must be in good condition.

As of this writing, the top game titles for the PlayStation 3 on Amazon’s site were Grand Theft Auto IV, with a trade-in value of $11.00, Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09 ($20.00) and Little Big Planet ($29.00).

The most popular trade-ins for Xbox 360 were WWE Smackdown vs. Raw ($19.50), Dead Space ($20.00) and Left for Dead ($26.50).

For the Nintendo Wii, the most popular titles were Super Paper Mario ($13.00), Sonic Unleashed ($17.50) and LEGO Batman ($20.00).

Launched on Thursday, the video game trade-in program is still in beta. Amazon said that it will be adding features and new game titles eligible for trade in.

Amazon is only offering the program to U.S. customers of at least 18 years of age.

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