Last year, one of the biggest names on the UK high street, HMV, announced that it would be moving into the sale of pre-owned games. The move came in the light of continuing decreases in CD sales and a growth in games and technology for the retailer.
Now, supermarket giant ASDA may also be moving into the used-game market. UK retail trade publication MCV is reporting that the Walmart-owned supermarket plans to capture significant market share in games, part of which will come from pre-owned sales. Though not explicitly confirming the move, ASDA category director Fergal Gara told the publication, "If we want to be a serious player in this market, pre-owned is definitely an area we have to watch. It's not top of our agenda, but we're aware that pre-owned is a huge part of the business for the specialist and not one we can ignore."
The retailer also announced it had hired ex-Gamestation staff to help with its gaming push, including former Gamestation product director Andrew Thompson, who will be the new head of business, and ex-senior product manager Jenny Leach who will be taking up the role of senior buyer.
In the US, several high-profile companies have already moved into selling used games, usually the preserve of specialist retailers. Toys "R" Us currently has a pre-owned service on trial in its New York stores, while mammoth online retailer Amazon has been accepting trade-ins since March. ASDA parent company Walmart also moved into the sector recently, setting up automated e-Play kiosks for trade-ins.
The used-game market is currently increasing in popularity, with recent Nielsen figures showing a 32 percent rise in second-hand game sales in the US. Though the service is popular with consumers who are able to buy games at reduced prices, as well as get rid of old titles, it's less popular with the major console manufactures and publishers who see no profit from the sale of secondhand titles.
At this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft announced its "Games On Demand" feature, allowing users to download full games to their Xbox 360 hard drive and effectively stopping secondhand sales as the games cannot be transferred from the original console on which they were bought. Similarly, Sony's new PSP Go ditches the UMD drive and only allows games to purchased via download.