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Random Game Codes

Whether a gamer is gaming on PC or on a console, digital download of games are becoming more popular as technology supports this trend. Technically speaking, a fast download connection speed provides a gamer with a complete RTP (Ready To Play) video game (average of about 40GB) within just a couple hours. Pre-ordering typically allows what is called “preload” to get much of that downloaded content several hours before launch so that it is ready to be played the moment the launch moment occurs.

Digital downloads are also great for those games from a year or two earlier that are either tough to find or simply out of print.

Digital downloads have also created an idea that is intriguing and cool, all while a bit of a pain in the behind. This idea that I personally just became aware of is the idea of buying random codes. The general idea behind this is that you buy a random game code for a particular platform. Most likely this started with people having codes for games from the massive Steam library for those PC/Mac gamers and, just a side-note, XBoxOne and PS4 consoles are not left out of this phenomenon. After purchasing a “random code” you then redeem this code for a surprise game.

To me, this is a little weird, if it’s not just for the simple reason that I may already have the game my random code is for. Random in this case is only that the buyer doesn’t know what it is. The seller probably knows, so it’s not like it’s a Random Number Generated code at the time the buyer redeems it.

Setting that aside for a moment, let’s look at an example. I find a reseller with a “Random XBoxOne Game Code” for sale for $10.00. First of all, you hope that the game is worth at least $10.00. Who wants to buy a game valued, at say $7.00, for $10.00, right? But for the sake of this story, the game behind the random code is going to be worth at least $10.00 at the time of the purchase. Is there a chance the game might be worth more than $10.00? Yeah, I suppose so.

Now the buyer gets this random code and gets a “surprise” game revealed. (Each platform has a “redeem code” process to accomplish this task.)

I think it’s clear, the buyer hopes for a “deal”, which will ultimately be a game worth more than the game title is selling for normally. It’s just as clear that the buyer hopes that the game revealed behind the code isn’t a game they have, one they’ve had and already played or a game they have no interest in playing. But that’s the risk in buying random code. All of the above are completely possible.

So I gave it a try. I bought a random code from a seller for XBoxOne. My “surprise game” was one I had never had or played before. So far so good. The game was selling for $14.99, so $10.00 was a pretty good deal. Now I’m thinking this random code thing is pretty awesome. Then the same game title went on sale 2 days later for 80% off. So what was $14.99 is now $3.00. Now my $10.00 deal doesn’t feel like a deal so much. It just makes me ponder if resellers may get heads up that a game will be dropping in price and it’s a last push at selling digital codes for the game title for 30% just before the price drop or bigger sale. I was able to purchase the same game title for XBox 360 for $0.56. Yeah, 56 CENTS! So… I’m just sayin’.

But that’s a new risk-lesson I learned giving it a try. I purchased another random code and got a game I already had. I turned around and resold it for a loss of a couple dollars. Then curiosity got the best of me and I purchased yet another random code and got the same game I got the first time. Which reminds me, I still have that code that’s not used and I need to give it to a friend because it’s no longer worth reselling.

Overall, it is fun to get a game or two via random codes and it’s kind of like opening a loot box and finding out what’s inside. But, just be prepared to get games you might already have, have had or may not like.

Let me know if you’ve bought random codes and what you experienced in the comments of this post.
Thanks for reading.

by Tom, The Loot Box Podcast
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