The concept of video game retail chains selling used copies of games to consumers has been a controversial topic for quite some time. For many years, there have existed stores that purchase used titles from consumers who no longer wish to play those games for a significantly reduced price in order to turn around and re-sell that game back to the public for about $10 less than the new versions (though this variation in price may vary.) While stores such as GameStop do big business this way, an estimated $2 billion each year according to the Plugged In blog on Yahoo.com, developers and publishers of games despise these retail chains double-dipping on copies of games instead of continuing to push new stock.
Soon enough, those developers and publishers may have an even greater problem on their hands. GameStop is a highly popular store for gamers and is the most successful video game specific retail chain in the United States. But when you add in more generally known stores like Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R Us, the used video game market is guaranteed to vastly expand. And that is something the industry may very well need to deal with. Recently, those two previously mentioned stores decided to enter the used video game market.
Toys ‘R Us now accepts used games in exchange for gift cards for use on future purchases in their stores or on their Web site. Those who wish to participate in this program may either stop in to a trade-in center (normally at customer service) in their local store, or head online to toysrustradecenter.com for mail-in instructions. Toys ‘R Us does not actually intend to re-sell these used games. Instead, the store has collaborated with Gamers Factory and the games Toys ‘R Us brings in will be sold to them.
Retail juggernaut Wal-Mart could make an even bigger splash considering the large business that store generally rolls in. Wal-Mart starting testing the used video game market back in March in about 80 of its stores. The store collaborated with E-Play in displaying kiosks around the store that serve a dual purpose. First, the kiosks can rent games to consumers for a $1 a day. Additionally, those kiosks would accept used games from those wishing to trade them in and deliver payouts of $25 or less depending on the demand of the game. If successful, that could mean Wal-Mart will place these kiosks in more of its stores nationwide.
Toys ‘R Us and Wal-Mart likely are not the end of the growth for used video games. Best Buy tested a pilot program for the market and Amazon.com has been allowing gamers to trade in their used games for site credit over the past several months. What was once a smaller issue for developers and publishers of games in dealing with GameStop and other smaller specialty retail chains is about to become a much larger dilemma with retail giants now joining the used video game fray.