back to article Game stocks shops with Tesco 3DS consoles

As pre-owned 3DS consoles line the shelves of Game, customers could be forgiven for thinking Nintendo gamers were unsatisfied with their purchase. While this may be true in some cases – with complaints emerging about the 3DS effect causing eyestrain – it turns out the retailer has actually had its staff queueing up to purchase …


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  1. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Is this even legal?

    Forgetting prices for a minute, can you really buy an unopened console and then sell it on as "Pre-owned"? The pre-owned badge suggests that you should be getting a bargain as it's used.

    You could even simplify pre-owned down to something as simple as a staff member of Game stands in front of his work mate at the Game till, tells him that he wants to buy 20 3DS, hands a Game store account credit card over, buys the consoles then asks straight away for a refund.

    Ta Da! Now the Game store can advertise the item as "Preowned" and make customers think that they may be getting a bargain.

    If the customers are buying from Game don't bother to check the price first in Tescos then Game's plan has worked and the customer is an idiot.

    Yep, it's not about the price it's getting the "Preowned" badge on the product and I'm sure trading standards will be in touch with them very soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Preowned, bargain?

      You've not been to game much have you?

    2. Cameron Colley

      Why would it be illegal?

      If there's a new console for £200 and a "pre-owned" one for the same price then most people would buy the new one -- how are they suggesting that the "pre-owned" one is better? Whichever way you look at it, unless Nintendo are charging Game more than most, the store is loosing profit selling a "pre-owned" over a new.

      It''s actuality rare in a lot of cases that something genuinely pre-owned and used is necessarily cheaper than you'd get a new one elsewhere. I've seen it on everything from £2000 watches to £1 CDs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why would it be illegal?

        Also compare this with pre-registered cars.

        The car is new but the dealer has pre-registered it to get their productivity bonuses and meet sales targets. Legally the car is pre-owned but the customer gets a cheaper car and nobody complains, so why the big deal over this?

        Nothing illegal and nothing new.

        1. DrXym

          Nothing illegal perhaps

          But it speaks volumes for GAME's profit margins and morals that they buy a console incl VAT from a competitor and turn around and sell it for £45 more. Customers should be disgusted with this.

          Tesco too - they might be selling the console cheap as a loss leader knowing that people usually buy a game or two which would pull the sale back into the black.

          I'm pretty certain Tesco would have the means to hurt GAME in the pocket if they wished to retaliate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            You obviously don't know anything about business, VAT is zero cost/gain. If Tesco wish to sell loss leaders and get their fingers burnt then tough, however I doubt this is the case here.

            Nobody is forcing Tesco to sell anything at a given price and with the power supermarkets have it's likely that they are forcing their suppliers to sell at a price not available to Game or others. In some cases it is known that the large supermarkets can sell at a price that is below the trade price given to small shops.

            If people choose to go to Game to buy whatever then that is their choice, they are not being forced at gun point to spend more than if they went elsewhere.

            If you want to talk about morals then perhaps you should consider the buying practices of supermarkets rather than a relatively small chain trying to survive against such opposition. Or maybe it's just a case of morals don't count for you when you can get something cheaper.

            1. DrXym

              Obviously you don't know

              If GAME are telling their staff to buy 3DS consoles in Tesco and sell them 2nd hand, they're not recouping VAT on them. It's not zero loss.

              As for Tesco, sure no one is forcing them to sell at that price. But they do so anticipating that customers will buy a few games to bring the sale into profit. It's a loss leader in other words. What they do not expect and do not want is a bunch of staff from a rival store buying up their stock, depriving legitimate customers in the process and and leaving Tesco with a loss of pocket. .

              As for morals, what Tesco or others might do in their own domains is irrelevant. GAME's business practices are the subject here.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Obviously I do know

                If you buy something then sell it on as second hand you only charge vat on the margin. In effect they are not recouping the VAT from customs and excise they are recouping it in the retail price they sell it on for.

                In the article it sounds like Game buy from Tesco for 175 inc. VAT then sell it on for 210 (220 - 10 discount.) This is roughly 175 cost + 29.17 profit + 5.83 VAT.

                If they'd bought for 175 from a distributor they would have paid 145.83 + 29.17 VAT.

                This sold as new at 210 retail is 175 + 35 VAT, profit to Game is 175.00 - 145.83 = 29.17

                Same profit

    3. D@v3

      not only, but also...

      on top of that, you have Game reducing a competitors stock, while boosting their own. (something that wouldnt happen if they 'pre-owned' their own stock)

    4. Ben Tasker

      Leaving aside Game's weird pricing for a sec

      If you pay the 'preowned' price and get something that's brand new, I'd say you're getting a bargain wouldn't you?

      That said, where Game are concerned bargain and pre-owned are mutually exclusive

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Why "pre-owned"?

    Title says it all really. Presumably these things were all boxed up and sealed, so why did Game sell them as "pre-owned" and not "new"?

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Warranty, probably

      Responsibility for problems with something you buy in the UK lies not directly with the manufacturer, but with the retailer.

      So, in theory, if anything went wrong with these pre-owned units, the warranty would have to be dealt with through the original retailer.

      It would be interesting to know what Game says regarding warranty on these units (and other pre-owned gear they sell.

      How returns are handled by Nintendo will be interesting too; most of these stores probably just send equipment straight back when it's brought in as faulty, so it wouldn't necessarily matter on the face of it if they were returned to Game or Tesco. But they may need to keep track of where a unit was bought from for accounting and other purposes.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Ah, I get it!

        The warranty thing must be it - if it WAS faulty then normally Game would send the unit back to the distributor. But they wouldn't be able to do that in this case because they didn't buy them directly from the distributor. Mind you, the chances of a unit being faulty is relatively small so they could still sell them as new and if any are returned as faulty then they could just take the hit on it, and probably still be quids-in on the rest.

    2. PsychicMonkey


      a legal thing, to do with the warranty I would guess

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why indeed!

      It's a euphemism for "second-hand", which these hardly are.

    4. Oliver Burkill


      On preowned they only have to pay VAT on the profit they make. this will be worked out on on there overall expenditure and income on preowned not on a per item basis. They will not be ale to claim VAT back on the purchases of courses..

  3. Jeremy Chappell


    Scalpers! Oh that's amazingly low - I imagine someone at Nintendo will go absolutely ballistic with the representative of Game.

    1. James Hughes 1


      Nothing Game have done is illegal.

      The only people who should go balistic are Game at Nintendo, because Nintendo are obviously giving Tesco a much better trade price, or they wouldn't be able to sell them so cheap.

      Why anyone is buying at Game when you can get new at Tesco or Amazon for cheaper is beyond me though.

      1. Greg J Preece

        You're forgetting something

        "Nintendo are obviously giving Tesco a much better trade price, or they wouldn't be able to sell them so cheap."

        You're forgetting that Game are a bunch of rip-off merchants. They were allowed, for some reason, to buy up the two other major high street gaming chains, and since then their prices have been even more bonkers than they were previously. I've seen games in there pre-owned for ten quid more than they sell for NEW elsewhere. Their only other real competitors in the pre-owned market now are CeX, bless their little red socks.

        1. Pypes


          You mean the one with the scratched disks and the "No refunds, EVER!" policy?

          Also their used hardware / dSLR / phone prices are so hilarious it makes Game look positively reasonable.

      2. juice

        Fun with cross-subsidisation...

        I'd guess that Nintendo haven't given Tesco any preferential rates; instead, the most likely scenario is that Tesco/Asda/etc are simply using the 3DS as a loss-leader (

        1. AdamWill

          I doubt it...

 a UKP175 games console would be a _terrible_ loss leader for a grocery store. The idea of a loss leader is that it's something popular but reasonably cheap that you use to get people in the front door to buy other stuff.

          1. juice

            You'd be surprised...

            It sounds excessive, but Asda/Tesco do appear to be happy to take a hit (or at least sell at cost) on high-visibility, high-value items - the key is the fact that they're high-visibility. After all, if they can get you to do your weekly shopping at the same time, they'll pick up a large chunk of revenue - the average family weekly shopping spend is around £100. And I'm sure they can wangle some sort of tax-deduction for using a loss-leader...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Why anyone is buying at Game when you can get new at Tesco or Amazon for cheaper is beyond me though."

        Possibly because Game have bought all the ones at Tesco? You say what they are doing isn't illegal, but it's low. Buying up competitors alternatives and then reselling them with a markup. Tesco are probably doing the deal at a break even, or even a loss, price to tempt people into the store.

  4. Carol Orlowski

    I think you got it right first time...

    "As pre-owned 3DS consoles line the shelves of Game, customers could be forgiven for thinking Nintendo gamers were unsatisfied with their purchase."

    Everyone I know says it's crap, not just the 3D effect, which at best is minimal and fades quicker than you can say "move you hands or head"... And if you are lucky as an adult, it may just cause temporary eyestrain, but in developing kids, it may cause much more permanent problems....

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Someone I work with got one one the day of release...

      ...and proceeded to parade round the office waving it in front of everyone in a 'look what I've got' kind of way. I have to say the only impact it made was to consolidate my opinion of him as a tit. I was distinctly underwhelmed by the console. The next-gen PSP sounds more impressive to me.

      1. AdamWill

        Giant pink unicorns sound more impressive as well...

        ...and they're equally non-existent.

        Aside from the 3D gimmick, the 3DS is a perfectly decent rev of the DS with significantly more powerful hardware, aside from the rather awkward drawback of appalling battery life. But it's certainly not terrible. Build feels rather more solid than the DSi, too.

        I'd wait for the second or third model, though, at which point they'll probably figure out the battery life issue somehow.

    2. BingBong

      If ("God"|deity|pink-fluffy-fairies) had meant us to see in 3D ...

      s/he would have given us 2 ey... oh wait, scrub that.

      In the land of the Nintendo, the one-eyed person is King or at least they don't get eye strain.

    3. M Gale

      I'll probably get one.

      If only to replace this DS lite with the knackered hinge/shoulder button. Not at this price though, might give it a little while.

      Say what you like about Ninty's later-gen consoles not having a bajillion shader pipelines or being able to render things down to subatomic accuracy. Nintendo are first and foremost a game company, unlike any of the competition. They are undeniably good at what they do. The games tend to be cheaper as well, which in my eye is a double plus.

      This coming from someone who always bought Sega consoles...

      1. Greg J Preece


        "Nintendo are first and foremost a game company, unlike any of the competition."

        My arse! Nintendo in recent years have done nothing gane-wise but milk their now-ancient cash cows of Zelda, Metroid, Mario, etc. What's one of the big games everyone's waiting for on the 3DS? Oh yeah, Ocarina of Time! No ta, I bought it the first time round.

        At least the wealth of sequel FPS games that flood the other consoles are new games, rather than paper-thin updates/remakes/re-releases of their old stuff.

        1. LinkOfHyrule
          Paris Hilton

          squeezing cash from those polygonal udders!

          "milk their now-ancient cash cows of Zelda, Metroid, Mario, etc"

          Urm, that's a good thing if you ask me! And they're hardly unique in doing so - remind me how many GTA, Halo or COD games there are now? The game industry is all about squeezing cash from those polygonal udders!

          Also how is one FPS not essentially a remake of all the ones that came before it. COD is basically Doom with bad voice acting and prettier graphics.

          Paris, 'cus I mentioned udders.

          1. Greg J Preece

            You missed my point

            Did you read my post beyond the bit you quoted? I actually agreed that the big franchises out there are all about the sequels, but they're still new games. End of last year Nintendo were charging people £30 for MARIO ALL STARS. A bloody SNES re-release compilation, re-released again on the Wii! Thanks Nintendo!

            And it's hardly alone. The 3DS is getting Star Fox 64 and Ocarina of Time, and that's just to kick us off. Rayman 3D? Rayman 2 in fancy pants. And we both know that Mario Kart 3D will be Mario Kart DS. Almost every other game on the 3DS could be prefixed with "yet another."

            Sorry, but the modern Nintendo hasn't made anything that's impressed me in a long time. The DS was crap, the DS Lite was a badly made follow up, the Wii is a joke, and a huge portion of the games catalogue available for both is shovelware and shit. And from the time I've spent with a 3DS thus far, it's more of the same. To hell with that.


            Back in the day, the SNES was one of the best consoles ever made by human hands. All the Wii is is basic, friendly and stupid, and it treats you like you're equally thick. (5 minute unskippable movies showing you how to assemble and hold a fucking Motion Plus...)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Greg J Preece

              You'd be surprised at how many people there are out there who actually liked old games, and would love more of them to be released for modern kit.

              Just becase Call of Duty is new and shiny, doesn't mean it's better than the old Super Mario, or Zelda, games. There were some great snes games, that i'd love to be able to play without having to dig out the snes and set it up on a modern tv, or muck about on the net getting emulators.

        2. AdamWill


          Right, because Mario Galaxy is just a dull retread of Super Mario 3.

          Seriously, you might want to play the games in question before making a tit of yourself.

    4. Peter Kay

      Have you actually used it?

      I've now used two - one in GAME and one owned by a friend.

      The 3D effect is quite impressive, although I did turn it up to maximum. Whether it's worth it depends on the game - I played Streetfighter 3D in GAME and I wouldn't buy it based on that - the 3D effect was excellent, but putting the game and the 3D on a screen that size made it a little too small.

      On the other hand, the Augmented Reality features work quite well. It's a great idea to use the cameras and special cards to overlay images on reality. There was a bit of blurring on that one, explained by the fact it'd been configured for my friend.

      Plus it'll run all the DS games.

      I'm not sure if I'd buy one, but that's down to a lack of time and a preference for using a Kindle when I'm out and about, rather than a statement against the 3DS.

    5. Kevin 6

      what a load of Bull....

      "Everyone I know says it's crap, not just the 3D effect, which at best is minimal and fades quicker than you can say "move you hands or head"... And if you are lucky as an adult, it may just cause temporary eyestrain, but in developing kids, it may cause much more permanent problems...."

      Dunno I sat playing mine for 3 hours straight (wow its over the reported battery life), and had no eye strain. BUT I also read the manual on the 3d section that says only adjust it to the point you feel comfortable. People like my sister turned it up to "max"(which does not mean more dept), and strain their eyes.

      Also had no issues with the 3d from slight movement of my head. seems after 5-10 degrees of change is when it starts to fade out.

  5. MojoJojo

    Not as Crazy as CeX

    Who for a short while were offering to buy 3DSs for £215 - about £28 more than Tesco were selling them (at the time). They stopped doing it pretty quickly.

    Evidence here

    It looks like the retail shops have all been anticipating a big sell out like the PS2 slim or the Wii and were hoping to move in on the enterprising eBay sellers who made a good profit out of it.

    Which seems to show they are a bit out of touch - while there are plenty of fans willing to queue up on launch day, the online buzz has been pretty muted (too expensive, only a gimicky upgrade from the DS, battery life not good enough, no good games). It's not surprising that most shops still have plenty in stock.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Someone was telling me

      They regularly buy cheap games on offer in HMV and flog them to cex at a profit.

    2. Bill Fresher

      Expecting Sell-Out

      As far as I remember, Nintendo issued a press-release stating that there wouldn't be a sell-out as there was a huge amount of stock available.

      1. Bill Fresher


        I might be sick, sick sick, because I was right.

  6. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    I realise there is the issue that it's not fair that little Johnny can't have one 'cos 6 people from the GAME store have gone into TESCO and bought 5 each, but when did businesses ever play fair with the consumer.

    The thing that would make my day would be that the 3DS doesn't sell to bursting and TESCO have plenty of stock to satisfy demand, GAME are left with a load of second hand stock they can't shift.

    My mate at work fancied one last night, wandered past a shop, not GAME, and got one for the going rate. Seems happy enough, doesn't really interest me but I can imagine my rugrats at home saving up the pester-power to bug me for one for Christmas+next 6 birthdays!

    1. DrXym

      Definitely not sold out yet

      I saw them on sale on Sunday in several places and indeed a quick check shows I could still pick them up from both my local Argos branches right now. It may well be they sell out in the next week or so but it certainly is not the case that they're flying so fast off the shelf that stocks have sold out.

      Since I don't know how many stock Nintendo supplied I can't infer much more than that. Perhaps they're not selling, or perhaps Nintendo wanted to ensure they had enough supply to meet demand. Maybe Nintendo were unfortunate in picking the same weekend to launch as the iPad 2. Even people not affected by the recession have the money floating around to justify two purchases in so short a space of time.

  7. David Neil

    Claiming expenses?

    I wonder what the turn around for paying the staffs expenses is here, and are they allowed to claim ancillary costs like the fuel etc.?

    I'd hate to be waiting 2 weeks for an expense claim to clear when the store have already sold the gizmo and have the cash in hand.

    1. Xander

      Re: Expenses

      Nil. Read the document. It specifically states no expenses can be claimed with this.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Not as Crazy as CeX

    Someone on a forum I was reading said CeX had the same "problem" of buying for more than some retailers were selling at when the PSP came out ... he admitted that when he saw this we went into the relevant shop (? think it was VirginMegastore), bought up all the PSPs they had on sale an walked round to CeX and sold them there and came out ~ £200 up on the deal.

    As for pizzas etc in Game ... I have read in the past of small corner stores buying bread etc in bulk at Tesco to sell in their shops since Tesco prices were lower than the wholesale prices available to small retailers.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Corner shop

      My local corner shop usually has single items on sale marked 'multipack only' but I guess once Tesco has sold the item it's down to the corner shop to do as they please.

      Mind you, the veg and bread at the corner shop is cheaper than Tesco.

      Game also had shop personnel pre-ordering 3DS as they were given unrealistic shop targets to meet. The shop managers were also screwed over and had to resort to such tactics.

    2. LinkOfHyrule

      we aint got any as I ain't been to tescos yet

      A certain newsagents outside a railway station somewhere on the Portsmouth to Waterloo line buys their fags at tescos and sells them over the going rate! Well at least did a couple of years back, not sure if they still do. I know because I asked for twenty Bensons' once and the lady behind the till said "sorry, we aint got any as I ain't been to tescos yet!"

      1. AdamWill

        Going rate?

        The going rate is whatever anyone's willing to pay for 'em. If people are willing to buy the cigarettes at a price that gives her a reasonable profit over her cost at Tesco's, what's the problem? No-one's forcing you to buy from her. Right now you can choose to buy expensive cigs at a convenient location, or travel somewhere else to buy cheap ones. If she stopped doing it, your choice would somewhere else to buy cheap ones, or no cigs. How would your situation have improved?

  9. Domus
    Paris Hilton

    The odd digit goes here

    I can't work out if this is brilliantly devious or scummingly naughty. Seen a few people come out of the local Game store, wonder what they'd think if they knew (assuming it happened here of course)...

    Paris, because I've seen her get screwed too.

  10. Alex Walsh

    fairly sure

    GAME did the same when Sainsbury sold the Xbox 360 Arcade for £99 a while back.

  11. Pypes
    Thumb Up

    Pre-owned consoles

    I've been told by game employees that a significant fraction of their pre-owned consoles are trade-ins from people who have been given them as a sweetener for signing up for horrendous mobile phone contracts (You know the whole "we'll give you an iphone and a PS3 if you sign up to £35/month for 24 months") and thus are effectively new.

    Seeing as how there employees are generally pretty nice folk in my experience, anyone in the market for a console would do well to ask them to pick you out one of the BNIB "2nd hand" ones. Worked great for me anyway.

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge


    Just go on ebay, i bet nearly all the 3DS on sale on there have been bought new from tesco or other places selling them for £175 but on ebay they won't even say they are pre-owned they will be sold as new for £200 (which essentially they are as if the unit hasn't been used or the box even opened i'd say its still new)

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