Best Buy promotes itself as a place of low, low prices, but that might not be the best way to talk about its latest initiative: used-game buyback. The company's chief marketing officer, Barry Judge, revealed on his blog today that the electronics retailer will be testing game buyback kiosks at several of its Texas stores beginning this week.
As with a recent buyback program started at Wal-Mart locations in the Northeast, customers will feed their games into a kiosk that then scans them to identify them and test them for functionality. Unlike the Wal-Mart program, which gives customers a credit on their credit card accounts within days of the transaction, the Best Buy kiosks will print out vouchers for Best Buy gift cards on the spot.
"It's a pretty slick system and one of the few trade-in programs to provide instant gratification; you get the gift card on the spot and can redeem it on anything in the store--not just another game," Judge said in his blog entry, adding that Best Buy will also test the sale of used games in its stores, and kiosks may also be used to rent games and movies.
In a note to investors this morning, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian downplayed the impact the kiosks would have on current used-game market leader GameStop.
"Expect Best Buy's used game initiative to expand market," Sebastian said. "While we believe that Best Buy's entry into the used video game market will create a new overhang on shares of GameStop, we expect Best Buy's initiative to expand the used video game market rather than take significant share from the specialty channel."