Last September, Toys "R" Us began buying back games from its customers and then delivering them to an outside company to resell. Today the company announced that it will finally start selling used games directly to its customers.
Toys "R" Us is adding "a dedicated assortment of used video games" at more than 500 of its nearly 850 US stores. Each location will stock a variety of pre-played games that will be sold for no more than $30. However, the chain isn't handling everything in-house. A representative told GameSpot that when games are traded in, Toys "R" Us will send them to a separate company that will test the titles and send them back out for sale on the chain's shelves.
The way the chain's buyback process works, customers are able to bring their games (in original cases) to stores and trade them in at the store's guest services desk for gift cards redeemable at Toys "R" Us stores (including Babies "R" Us) and the chain's Web site. While the company purchases games for dozens of systems dating back to the Atari 2600, it intends to sell used games only for the current generation of consoles and handhelds.
The used game market has become increasingly crowded of late, with Best Buy and Target launching their own buyback programs at stores last month. Recent years have also seen Amazon.com, HMV, and Wal-Mart attempt to carve out a piece of the used gaming market currently led by specialty retailer GameStop.
These used game businesses could face tougher opposition than one another. A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week upheld end-user license agreements (EULAs) that insist customers don't own software; they merely purchase a nontransferable license to use it. Although the software in that court case was a professional utility, it is not uncommon for games to have EULAs specifically stating that rental, sale, or other transfer of the title between parties is not allowed.