5 Tips for Keeping Your New Game Console Safe

Image by mastermaq -- CC BY SA 2.0 via Flickr
Image by mastermaq — CC BY SA 2.0 via Flickr

This post is brought to you by Protect Your Bubble. 

It’s no secret that for many geek households the console has come center stage. No longer do these amazing machines do just one thing—play games—they’re now where we go to watch movies and television, work out, connect with our families, and even let the Internet know what we’re up to. The line between home computer and home console is quickly blurring.

My first console was an Atari 2600. Soon followed by the original Nintendo. And while it was certainly used by my parents, it was most definitely something that my sister and I had lordship over.

But now there’s a problem. My son loves playing Minecraft just as much as my husband likes playing the Witcher games—and just as much as my husband loves Assassin’s Creed. And my toddler daughter soon wants her say when it comes to Blue’s Clues and Signing Time. More people means more of a risk when it comes to what our new Xbox One can handle. And that’s just the beginning!

Game consoles like our Xbox one are so much more immersive than they used to be. The Kinect component—and many other similar movement based controls—means there’s a whole lot more fidgeting going around. We learned once with the Wii and our unfortunate dog that flailing around playing a game can mean some serious damage. And not just for the people involved, but with the consoles and components, too.

Thankfully there’s a few things that you can do to try and mitigate the risk with your consoles.

Keep the console up and away from little hands. That might mean mounting it higher or, potentially, even purchasing some special furniture to manage it. The last thing you want it little sticky fingers or chewing pets getting to your system. This doesn’t have to be expensive.

Make sure all cords and extraneous parts are tidied well. We’ve had great success using cord clamps that stick on the back of our buffet table (which we use to put the television and our various console systems).

Think ventilation. Don’t put the console in a closed environment where it can overheat. Heat is terrible for the inner workings of any computer hardware, and we’ve personally lost two Xboxes to the red ring of death due to this problem.

Get a surge protector. Along with those organized cords, make sure you’ve got everything plugged in well and grounded. Otherwise that investment might go up in smoke.

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Get insurance for your console. Yes, this exists. Protect Your Bubble offers a wide array of Home Gadget coverage, but what’s most pertinent to many of you is their console coverage. It starts as little as $1.99/month, and you have the choice for paying all at once or in installments. That’s cheaper than one game a year, and it includes things like in-home repair, replacement, and coverage for things like mechanical breakdown, surge protection, and a no lemon policy.  Plus a $0 deductible means if you have to be a little more lax with letting your kids get their sillies out, you won’t be shelling out later. They’ve got you covered in ways the other folks might not.

To check out everything that Protect Your Bubble offers, check out their website.

This post is brought to you by Protect Your Bubble. 

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eBay Simple Flow Makes Upgrading to Next-Gen Consoles a Cinch

This blog post was written as part of GeekMom’s collaboration with eBay.

The next-gen consoles are out, which means video game stores are accepting trade-ins on old systems. It’s tempting to go in on these deals, because a quick trade at the GameStop means less cash up front for your new Xbox One or Playstation 4. But resist the temptation! You can get a lot more for your console if you sell it online.

Our son really wants an Xbox One, so we’re looking to make some extra cash by offloading our Xbox 360. In the past, selling electronics on sites like eBay was pretty darn easy. Just snap some photos, grab some specs about your device from the web, and type up a description. But it’s even easier now, with the eBay Simple Flow interface. You just pick what device you’re selling and everything is pre-filled for you, including a stock photograph of your console.

It’s super easy, at this point, to just go through and add custom photographs and descriptions to your eBay listing. With all of the heavy lifting done for you, it’s just window dressing. I’d suggest taking a better lit photo of the device you’re selling than my husband did (see the video above), but honestly, you’ll probably sell your console regardless.

Some other tips for good listings?

  • Lighting is important for the photos, but a clean device and clean environment does a lot to show potential buyers that you take care of your belongings. Take five minutes to wipe the smudges from the screen and tidy up your set.
  • Identify the value of the device in the title or description. How much does it cost new? How much did you pay for it? The inherent savings can be very attractive for buyers.
  • Check current and completed listings to make sure that your Buy It Now price is competitive. And always consider starting your bid at $0.99. If the market is willing, the price will increase to where it should be.
  • Pack your item for shipping before you list it so you can list the package dimensions and weight in the listing. This way, you can advertise the absolute lowest shipping price. Or consider adding a bit to the Buy It Now and listing Free Shipping. Some people prefer this.
  • Don’t forget to ship early! As soon as the auction is over, get that package to the post office post-haste! Good feedback is invaluable, especially when you decide you’re ready to upgrade your other devices with the eBay Simple Flow interface.

Check out the video above where my husband goes through the process of listing our Xbox 360 in—no joke—five minutes, tops. And compared to the $50 or so we’d get trading it in at GameStop, eBay thinks we’ll fetch around $130. Not a bad down payment toward that new console, is it?

So if you’re hoping to snag a new console this holiday season, go sell your old devices now to get the best price using eBay’s Simple Flow.