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Video games go off quicker than tomatoes

Apples cheaper than oranges

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We are grateful to Which? for working out that video games lose value faster than cars.

The organisation bought a copy of COD: Black Ops from a retail outlet for £44.99 - and then tried to sell it three days after its release to seven high street retailers. The buyback offers ranged from £16.70 to £33, with the worst representing a depreciation of 70 per cent compared with the recommended retail price.

Which? is a tireless campaigner on behalf of consumers and has done much good work over the year. But the car-video depreciation analogy is silly.

Cars cost lots of money. People need them and few can afford to buy new. After the initial plunge when the car is driven out of the show-room, demand ensures that residual prices are fairly high.

Videogames, even expensive games, are cheap - and come out of buyers' leisure budgets. Games are considered worth the money if they are worth the while - i.e. something that eats up dozens of hours of playing time.

And when you get tired of the game, you can flog it on the pre-owned price, to get a substantial discount on your next purchase. Alternatively, you can buy a pre-owned game on the cheap, so long as it is not a very recent release.

The pre-owned video games market is massive, and greases the wheels of new sales. This suggests that UK retailers are doing a good job here. But how long can it last? Publishers, what with their downloads, and online plug-ins and DRM and retailer Ts&Cs, could kill it with the flick of a few switches.

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