Every once in a while I go on the prowl for deals. I’m a gamer after all, but also a human being with a car loan and overdue heating bills and a weakness for the artisanal pasta that costs three times as much as the generic store brand. Deals matter—without them I’d be forced to replay The Witcher 3 for a third time. That’s how I found myself on the trade-in page of Gamestop’s website today, face to face with one of the boldest gaming deals of all time.
“GET $200 TRADE CREDIT WHEN YOU TRADE YOUR NINTENDO SWITCH TOWARDS A NEW NINTENDO SWITCH,” Gamestop placed, in all caps, at the top of its current list of “trade offers and values.” I thought it must be a misprint. Surely someone in the deals department forgot to write anything other than “Nintendo Switch” in the second part of that sentence.
I checked the fine-print:
“Offer valid 10/22/18 - 11/11/18. Valid toward purchase of New Nintendo Switch. Not valid toward cash trades. Trades must be in full working condition to receive full value. Defective items may be eligible for trade at a lesser value. Trades subject to manager approval. Cannot be combined with any other offer. See store associate for details. No dealers. Offer valid in the United States and Guam only. Void where prohibited. GameStop, Inc. reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the offer for any reason without notice.”
Nope, still not making any sense. At this point I tried to imagine a stranger coming up to me on the street and offering to clean my Switch for $100, and what song I’d be listening to on my phone as I kept walking right past them.
I asked Gamestop what was going on. Was there some sort of mistake? Who could this deal be for? Here’s what they told me:
“This offer is targeted toward [people] who may want to update to one of the newly release Nintendo Switch bundles such as the Nintendo Switch Diablo III Eternal Collection. They may want to get a new Switch console with a custom feel.”
The Nintendo Switch Diablo III Eternal Collection costs $360, the price of a new Nintendo Switch and Diablo III Eternal Collection. The special edition console has some Diablo art on it, but otherwise it’s just black and grey like the regular version. In short, it is not worth trading in your current Switch and then paying another $160 for. Gamestop trade-in deals are often the butt of jokes, but this really is a defining moment for that particular genre.
I’m all for good gaming deals, but please don’t do this.