Is It Okay to Give Pre-Owned Games for Christmas?

Is It Okay to Give Pre-Owned Games for Christmas?With Christmas just around the corner it can be a tough time buying presents for all your friends and family. There’s mixed opinions about buying second-hand video games for others and a lot of people wonder; is it okay to give pre-owned games as gifts?

Buying a pre-owned game or re-gifting can be a great way to save money, but there are people out there who are totally against it. Often, purchasing a used game for themselves is fine, but the concept of “hand-me-downs” isn’t (whether receiving or the embarrassment of giving).

Personally, I think it’s completely okay, but it may depend on who you are buying for. I’ve put together a few tips and some advice to help you come to a decision:

1. Are They a Retro Gamer?

Retro gaming is going from strength to strength in popularity. If the person you are buying a video game for loves the older classics, then they wont mind about it being pre-owned at all. Try to look out for games which come complete with a box and manual (also known as “CiB”) in as best condition as possible. Be sure to also check that the seller is reputable with good reviews and customer feedback. If you need further advice, please leave a comment below this article or contact me on twitter.

2. Be Open and Honest

If you’ve given a pre-owned video game as a gift, there’s nothing to feel bad about. In fact, honesty can be your best approach. If you genuinely believe the recipient will enjoy it, tell them! This can make the gift feel even more personal. For example, you could say something like “I’ve played this game so many times. It’s one of my favourites and I thought you would really enjoy it too”. To me that feels much less of a “hand-me-down” and more of a well thought out and personal gift. If it’s one of your favourites, then surely that means more to give it away?

3. Be Aware of Online Activation Codes

This is something more suited to PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 games. To my knowledge it doesn’t really exist for Xbox One, Wii U or PS4 games? Basically, during this generation of games consoles there was a move where some games require a code in order to “activate” or “unlock” core gameplay. There’s not too many, some have dropped it through online patches (so make sure your console is connected to the Internet) and some have passes available to download for a small fee (Around £5-£10?). Still, it’s not nice if you didn’t know this upfront, hence my warning. My best advice is to go into a store and ask or get in touch with the online seller before purchase.

What Do You Think?

I really want to know what you think about buying pre-owned video games as a gift. Have you given one as a present before? What would you think if you received a pre-owned game for Christmas?


My first games console was the Mega Drive and I've been in love with video games ever since. Over the years I've owned many systems, which I hope to cover in the future. Most of the things I write and do videos about is considered "retro", but I do enjoy playing my Xbox One and PS4 as well...

Posted on December 3, 2014 | Last modified: 13th September 2015