New is sealed

It’s not often these days I find myself buying new games in a shop. Sure, I’ll pick up the odd Xbox 360 release on impulse during a midnight Tesco trip between buying discounted cans of Pepsi Max, but by and large I’m an online shopper. Part of the reason lies with the fact that it’s simply cheaper in the majority of cases, but another significant reason is sealed games.

You see, if there is one practice on the retail high-street I hate, it’s breaking the seal on games and sticking the disc and manual in a drawer at the back of a store. I detest the practice. I loathe it. Of course, I understand that there are perfectly valid logistical reasons for it; not only does it free up storage space for games and consoles – something that is becoming increasingly valuable in an age of bi-annual plastic peripheral releases – but it also greatly deters the age-old issue of theft, preventing some cheap so-and-so from stuffing the latest gaming blockbuster into their coat pocket and slipping out the front door. This makes sense for the most part. What I take issue with is labeling these games as new when they can be in as good or bad condition as used titles.

Admittedly, this is part of the problem.
Admittedly, finding space for these is part of the problem.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problems buying games in “as-new” condition… if they’re priced as such. But when I walk into an enthusiast store such as GAME or Gamestation and they try to charge me more for a title (often considerably so!) than both the independent game shop down the road and a supermarket giant like Tesco, I start to take issue with what I’m getting for my money.

Some of you reading this might think me incredibly pedantic, and that’s completely fair. After all, if the game disc isn’t scratched to all-heck and plays fine, what does it matter? Unfortunately, for better or worse, I grew up in an environment where piracy was the norm, and this has had the effect of somewhat evangelising the packaging on legitimate games. The beautiful, high-resolution art cover! The shiny plastic case, free from scratches and greasy fingerprints! The fresh-from-the-factory instruction manual, packed with colourful game illustrations and screenshots! A disc which has more than an illegible two-word title etched onto the surface in black-marker pen! And they’re all mine!

Delicious sealed games. I have no shame! Disclaimer: I have played most of these.
Delicious sealed games. I have no shame! Disclaimer: I have played most of these.

Ahem. OCD-tendencies aside, I can’t help but think I have a serious point here. Would you pop into a WHSmith or HMV to buy a DVD box-set and expect the DVD seal to be broken? So why it is acceptable for games? At what point do we to start to separate the condition and value of new games versus used titles when they’re both treated equally? For years, we’ve heard retail chains cry foul of customers abandoning them for online shopping. Can you really blame them when they can get the same product cheaper, delivered right to their door and in an arguably better condition?

I’ve always been a proponent of supporting brilliant games and talented game developers. Despite what I’ve said about grabbing a bargain, I have no problem paying the full RRP when a game is worth it. But games are an expensive hobby, especially for those of us who don’t trade-in or sell our growing collections. For my money, a new game is a sealed game.







11 responses to “New is sealed”

  1. Laura avatar

    Agreed! Totally agree! I don’t want anyone else opening my games.

  2. asamink avatar

    I couldn’t agree with you more. If I don’t order online, or buy second hand, I normally go to Sainsbury’s where they have a dummy box on the shelf which I have to take to the cigarette counter to exchange for a sealed copy of the game. They are always cheaper than Game and I have never had a broken seal from them. I also love the feeling of forcing my fingernail through the cellophane wrapping; full of anticipation, expectation and hope. It’s just like Christmas.

  3. Duncan avatar

    I am with you 100%!

    Quite often I’ve been in a Gamestation and when they start putting the disc into the case I tell them not to bother and just move on.

    Unless it’s rare, hard to find, or priced well I won’t do it!

    I LOVE the idea of being the person in history to play MY disc. I paid for this disc, I’m the first, and if it’s good enough I’ll be the last. MINE!

    Simply – you aren’t alone. >.<

  4. Razgate avatar

    I guess you’re not a Pro Evo fan then, they never come sealed and I guess you never bought Metal Gear Solid 4 at launch cos yet again Konami let you guys down and never sealed a single copy of the game.
    Unfortunately when dealing with the public i have to actually give them sealed games and it really pisses me of when they bring it back with a big fucking laser burn on it and claim it was like that when they opened the box, I know it’s a lie but there’s no way I can prove it 100%. 🙁

  5. Markatansky avatar

    It doesn’t really bother me too much – so long as it’s cheaptacular. I generally wait until games are prepwned if it’s worth holding back on it for a while anyway.

  6. devot avatar

    Preach it, brother.

    I’ll still settle if and when I have to, but more and more often I find myself asking at the counter if they happen to have a sealed copy on hand before I buy. And I’m certainly not going to pay full brand-new release-date price for an opened game no matter what the circumstances.

  7. GraeXZ avatar

    I recently bought Dragon Age: Origins from a Gamestation store, picked up the case of the shelf from the new games section, girl stuffs it in to the bag quicker than my eyes can see. I don’t think twice about looking at it til I get home where I find: an unsealed game, and a £29.99 sticker on it (I payed £39.99)

    I felt so ripped off it was unbelievable, I honestly thought I’d paid full price for a traded in game, I was worried as hell the codes wouldn’t work, luckily they did, but it’s totally put me off buying from them.

  8. Danny avatar

    Mmm… 11 boxes of new games smell!

  9. John avatar

    I have to admit it’s a simple thing but almost all of my ‘360 games have the edge sticker carefully removed and then relocated, intact, into the inside of the case. I don’t know why I started doing this but when I get a game now where this sign of virginal gaming has been cruelly defiled I feel somewhat cheated and denied. Am I strange.. really?

  10. John.B avatar

    Must say I couldn’t care less, a game is a game and regardless of condition so long as the disc is playable I’m fine with working to store policy. If I REALLY wanted it sealed I’d buy online, if I go into the store I accept this is a risk.

  11. Simon avatar

    I’ve never thought about it before! I suppose I do prefer it when I get to open the seal myself.

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