Flipping Video Games: Is it Profitable?

You might be surprised

How to Flip Video Games for Profit
Reselling 101

By RC Staff

Key Points

  • Video games are a massive industry with billions in yearly revenue

  • From flipping the latest releases to vintage games, there’s room for any reseller

  • Pay attention to reviews and be on the lookout for the next big hit

Here at Resell Calendar, we love video games. They’re fun sure, but there’s also a ton of money to be made by reselling them. Games are a massive industry that has done nothing but grow these last few years, and there are tons of ways to get in on the money. We all know about the potential profits behind reselling consoles and graphics cards, but what about the games themselves? Stick around as we go over everything you need to make a profit by flipping games.

Why should you resell video games?

Well, gaming is a big market. It’s huge actually. When most people think of where the big money in entertainment is, they think movies, TV, and streaming. While those are all big moneymakers, it’s actually gaming that eclipses all of them.

Since 2020, the gaming industry has brought in over $200 billion in revenue every year, and that number is continuing to grow. Mobile games make up a huge chunk of that pie, but live service games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Apex Legends generate tons of revenue every day as free-to-play console titles.

Reselling Video Games in 2023

We’re well past the days of DLC packs and expansions, and now developers have figured out the optimal way to bilk their players with in-game cosmetics and battle passes. Players can and will throw ludicrous amounts of money to have a cool sword or gun skin, and they have no issue purchasing a new game every year even if it’s pretty much the same as the last one.

2023 alone has been absolutely massive for video games. The year started off with huge hits like Hogwarts Legacy and the Dead Space remake, followed up by RE4, Dead Island 2, and the latest Star Wars Jedi game. Even though we’re late in the year, there are STILL more highly anticipated games yet to release, including the next Call of Duty.

The bottom line is that games are big. There are a lot of people playing, and a lot of money being spent. If you’re ready to get in on some of that cash, keep reading.

Reselling video game collector's editions

Collector’s editions are a reseller’s bread and butter. They’re essentially a souped up version of the game with extra trinkets and swag thrown in. Some common additions to a collector’s edition are artbooks, special game cases, DLC codes and passes, special in-game skins, and a some sort of physical collectible.

Prices for a video game collector’s edition tend to fall somewhere in the $150 to $250 range. There are exceptions on both sides, but they’ll usually end up somewhere around here. It’s important for a collector’s edition to be produced in limited numbers as well. Most of the time, these will not be available after the game launches as well.

Here are some examples of profitable video game collector’s editions:

  • DOOM Eternal Collector’s Edition: id Software’s breakout hit in 2020, DOOM Eternal wowed audiences and critics with some of the best FPS gameplay ever seen in a singleplayer game. Collector’s editions were mostly ignored or even returned by resellers, and they’d balloon to several hundred dollars on eBay after release.
  • Breath of the Wild Master’s Edition. The first Zelda game since Skyward Sword and one of the launch titles for the Nintendo Switch, BotW would go onto be a massively influential title. Sealed collector’s editions have sold for $1,000 in the following years, with individual statuettes selling for $200 alone.
  • Baldur’s Gate 3 Collector’s Edition. Nobody could have anticipated the wild success of Larian Studios latest game. Its release was actually moved up a month to avoid competing with Starfield, but it would go on to be reviewed as one of the best games ever released, and is now in the running for Game of the Year. Collector’s editions hit $2,000+ prices in just a few weeks.

So what makes a video game collector’s edition profitable to resell?

For one, it’s the game itself. You’ll notice in the previous examples, all of these games were extremely well-reviewed, and many of them end up being surprise hits.
When a game really connects with its audience, players will want to show their love by buying a collector’s edition.

It also matters what’s included in the collector’s edition. For the games we mentioned, they all included one signature aspect in the collection. For DOOM, it was a replica of the main character’s helmet, while BotW and BG3 both had a unique statue included.

baldurs gate 3 collectors edition diorama

BG3 Collector’s Editions came with this sick diorama

These items were never released separately, and the only way a player could obtain one was through the now-discontinued collector’s editions. When a game includes a piece of unique merch like this, it massively increases the value of the collector’s edition.

Finally, production numbers are critical for success as a reseller. Let’s take Bethesda’s Starfield for example. This game released around three weeks ago, and had over 10 million players at launch. It’s far and away the most anticipated game of the year, yet its collector’s editions are reselling for around $400.

Still profitable, but a far cry from Baldur’s Gate 3’s Collector’s Editions going for $2,ooo. The difference between them is that Bethesda made a ton of Starfield CEs because they knew the game would be popular. Even with more people playing Starfield, its collector’s editions are less rare.

As a reseller, you’ll probably be dealing mainly with collector’s editions. That said, there are other ways to make money by flipping video games.

Reselling vintage video games

Older, discontinued games are popular with certain collectors. In particular, older Nintendo titles for the NES, SNES, GameCube and Game Boy, Sega Dreamcast, and Sony PlayStation are some of the most popular.

Vintage consoles in working condition are also profitable to resell. There’s even a market for arcade cabinets and pinball machines.

The last few years have seen a tremendous increase in prices for vintage games. What used to be lowkey hobby for collectors has exploded, and now sealed copies of games have sold for tens of thousands of dollars in the past. Even bog standard Game Boy cartridges can sell for remarkable prices.

Vintage Video Games Reseller

Now, as with any sort of older or discontinued item, reselling vintage video games requires an entirely different workflow. Instead of buying games online as soon as they release, you’ll need to hunt for them in person.

Check the usual haunts: thrift stores, yard sales, local listings on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Your local game stores likely won’t be a help, as they’ll be selling games at the prices you would want to list them at. You’ll need to be lucky and knowledgeable to make a profit here, which is why the line between video game collector and video game reseller tend to blur.

Reselling video game accounts and items

While in-game economies are not a new trend in video games, the last few years have seen a surge in the amount of real world money circulating through them.

It’s possible to make some serious profits by reselling in-game items and skins, or even your whole account to another player.

Let’s look at CS:GO. There are variety of ways players can earn money in this game, primarily through trading weapon skins. As you play CS:GO, you have a chance to earn crates. A player can either sell these crates, or buy a key to open them. Each crate has a chance to have a rare skin inside, and these can be sold for hundreds, even thousands.

Within the game there are a ton of different factors that go into a skin. Rarity, the level of wear, whether or not the item is associated with a particular tournament, etc. It’s entirely possible for a player to buy and sell skins on the aftermarket, trading them in a similar manner to the stock market.

Of course, this kind of investing requires pretty sizable knowledge of the game, and if you want to try selling in-game currency or accounts, you’ll need to spend time building up those accounts. You could think of it like getting paid to play video games, although the amount of time spent will be pretty significant

Where to resell your video games

Fortunately, it’s never been easier to flip video games for a profit. For physical goods like collector’s editions or vintage consoles, you can have plenty of luck listing them through eBay or Amazon. They can be bought and sold like any product.

For digital goods you have more options. If you’re trading in-game skins, Steam already has a built in interface for exchanging goods, although you’ll need to figure out a method for transferring money. Krakatoa is a simple solution to integrate both skin trading and a way to pay for them in a single platform. If you’re serious about CS:GO skin trading, check it out.

Questions and tips for reselling games

As you can see, there’s a ton of potential in flipping video games for profit. With so many people out there forking over cash to developers, it only makes sense that they’d be willing to throw a little extra at you. Before we wrap up, let’s look at some additional bits of advice and questions that might come up:

Is it legal to resell video games?

Generally, yes. Physical goods can be freely resold through pretty much any platform. The only issues you might run into are reselling digital goods outside the bounds of the game’s TOS. Some might allow you to transfer items for money, others might forbid. Even if they do, it’s unlikely you’ll run into any major issues.

Selling cheats or trading hacked accounts is a different issues. Developers have actually sued cheat developers in the past, and won. Reverse engineering a game to develop these tools is a violation of their TOS and copyright, and also hackers just suck.

Nothing is ever certain

While games are a big industry, they’re also volatile. Even huge projects with massive budgets can flop, and highly anticipated games may end up being a disappointment. For this reason, we always recommend being cautious when it comes to new video game releases. Just because there’s hype before release doesn’t mean it will last.

In fact, some of the most profitable releases for resellers have come out of left field. Don’t be afraid to bet on dark horses, just be careful not to put all your money in one particular titles.

If you want to learn more about reselling, subscribe to our newsletter. We cover everything. Video games, clothes, even vintage whisky. No matter what it is, we’ll talk about it if we can flip it.

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