There are many reasons why you might consider buying a used games console. Brand new current generation systems are expensive, so buying second-hand saves you money. Or, maybe you want a retro console for nostalgia purposes.
Whatever the reason, there several things to consider before buying a used gaming console.
Let’s take a closer look …
1) The Price
Price is obviously a key factor when it comes to buying a used games console. Before parting with any money, make sure you have researched an average range of prices by looking online. Avoid those that are oddly cheap (there may be something wrong with the console) and those that are overpriced.
The nature of online marketplaces like eBay means you’ll usually only come across consoles at a reasonable price, but don’t forget to look at the seller’s feedback and to take the usual precautions.
2) Which Model?
There are usually multiple models of the same console on the market. Knowing which model you’re looking at will inform you on whether the price is fair or if there’s anything else to worry about.
A common distinction is between an original full-size PS3 and the most recent Super Slim models. The super-slim might be more expensive, but because it is newer it is less likely to die on you. Likewise, older models may be cheaper (which might be what you’re looking for).
You will also need to look out for hard-drive size or other features, depending on the console you’re considering.
3) Online vs In-Person
Buying a used console in person has the obvious benefit of seeing it before you buy it. However, unless you’re in a reputable retail store, you’ll probably be asked to pay in cash. This will give you limited options if you get the console home and it stops working in a day.
You will be able to pay with a credit card with most online purchases, meaning you’ll be able to reverse the charge if the seller tries to scam you. However, you won’t be able to see the console in-person.
4) Available Games
If you only know you want a console, but aren’t sure which one, then the first place to start is the list of games available. We all have our own tastes, so this is down to you. Personally, we’re glad we’re no longer arguing over the PS3 and Xbox 360, but knock yourself out.
Particularly old original consoles and their original games can be quite expensive if they’re in mint condition—such as the original Atari 2600. Others are just rare and fetch a high price because of it.
If you’re getting on the collector bandwagon, you might want to consider a $5,000 loan from an online service, to get started.
5) Physical Wear and Damage
Obviously, if you see massive exterior damage to the console that’s a strong sign that it wasn’t looked after very well. However, a bit of exterior wear and tear doesn’t mean it functions any less reliably. In fact, it could mean you get a bargain because visible damage will lower the price.
Of course, if you get the opportunity test that the console is in full working order regardless of what it looks like on the outside!
6) Seller Honesty
If the seller is honest enough to mention any visible wear or other issues and gives a full breakdown of the console’s history, you might be in a better position than a plain listing with stock photos and a blunt “like new” description.
7) Is it Refurbished?
The refurbished segment is a growing area of the used console market. Refurbished simply means the console has been returned to the retailer and repaired and/or upgraded to fully-working order if necessary. This could mean anything from having a new hard-drive and disc lens installed, to replacing a damaged outer shell. It could also simply mean a brand-new console was returned because it was unwanted or it’s an ex-display console (sitting out on the shelves or as an in-store demonstration machine).
The point is that the console has been tested and has a retailer’s guarantee.
8) Freebies and Bundles
Keep an eye out for used consoles that are being sold with a bundle of games and accessories. They will usually work out cheaper than if you bought all of the same items separately. Such bundles are often sold by people who need cash quick and/or just want to get rid of the clutter, so a bargain can be had. Facebook buy/sell pages are good for these.
As long as you use some common sense and know what you’re looking for, buying a used console makes good financial sense.