According to Bloomberg.com, video game hardware purchases like gaming consoles reached their highest peak in three years. And in the last year, hardware sales increased 28 percent to topple $1.37 billion in sales. Whether you’re a gaming addict or just love to game, there’s always a new console or system coming out ready to master. Create a plan of action to get rid of your old console before you add a new one to your list this holiday season. Don’t simply throw it out; this entails a risk of identity theft and a missed opportunity to earn a little money or give back to your community. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of what to consider when getting rid of your old console.
Back Up Your Old Console
Consoles like the Xbox can be backed up with their cloud storage system or USB. Their cloud storage requires a paid subscription to start. For USB back-ups, you’ll need a large drive with 1GB or more of space. There’s no rule you have to back-up your old system, but it can keep important games and information at your fingertips to possibly transfer to your new console as needed. Currently, Xbox doesn’t replace MP3 songs you download, and recommends burning them to a CD or hard drive instead.
Check your gaming console’s online support to find out how to back it up. PlayStation’s Backup Utility feature can back-up all of your data from your system Hard Disk Drive on a USB, memory stick or other removable storage device. But PlayStation makes it even easier. Unless you purchased videos, all other content purchased through its store can be re-downloaded and doesn’t even need to be backed up.
Get Rid of Personal Information
Your gaming console has personal information stored that could be compromised. Wipe all of your information off the old console before getting rid of it. For a console like PlayStation 3, go to the “System Settings” and click on the restore system option to delete everything on your system’s hard drive. Connect your gaming console to your computer and run a program like “Eraser” to get rid of all personal information. The fact is, personal information is plastered on the internet, on all your devices and is easily accessible. If you still feel uncomfortable getting rid of your ex-gaming system, you might find peace of mind with a service like Lifelock, which keeps an eye on credit, finances and sends up a red flag when anything is suspicious.
Unload your old console and get some cash at the same time. Sites like CashForGamers.com, Craigslist and eBay all regularly sell consoles. Check the sites to see what similar consoles are going for and set your prices accordingly. Don’t forget about calling small retailers in your area and pawn shops to see if they’re interested in a trade-in for credit or cash.
Believe it or not there are deserving charities that will gladly accept gaming consoles and video games. The Get Well Gamers Foundation serves hundreds of children’s hospitals to bring its young patients entertainment and fun. The idea is that while many children’s hospitals have the best in cutting-edge technology and research, they lack real fun for the kids. Tax-deductible receipts are also available upon request.
Simply throwing away your old console in the trash can have disastrous effects on the environment. Instead, find a qualified recycler who will properly dispose of your gaming system for you. Sites like e-Stewards.org offer information on registered recyclers meeting specific qualifications. If you come up empty, remember that sites like Craigslist also have a “Free” section. Post an ad offering it to anyone willing to pick it up and get it out of your house to make room for a new one.