Wal-Mart gets into used game sales

E-Play kiosks show up in dozens of retail behemoth's Northeast locations; analyst downplays near-term threat to GameStop.

Rival retailers have jealously eyed GameStop's hold on the used-game business in the United States for years, but shopping giants such as Amazon and Toys 'R' Us are starting to do something about it. Wal-Mart was added to the list earlier this month, as the retail chain began a pilot program that will see game buyback kiosks installed at 77 of its locations in the Northeast by the beginning of June.

Look for it up front, near the crane games and stale-bubblegum machines.

The kiosks are operated by e-Play and have begun appearing in Wal-Mart stores in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, a representative with e-Play told GameSpot. Some of the machines are set up to strictly buy used games, while others are full functionality e-Play kiosks that also sell and rent DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

Customers trade their games in first by scanning the UPC code from the game's packaging and agreeing to the stated buyback price. Users then swipe a credit or debit card and a driver's license, insert the game disc into a slot on the kiosk, and drop the box into a separate bin. Within three days, a credit for the buyback price will be applied to the user's credit or debit card. In the future, e-Play plans to allow trade-ins without the box.

Wal-Mart is not the only place to find e-Play buyback kiosks. The company also has 200 other locations with partners in Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and other markets and is planning to expand operations in short order. Additionally, it hopes to regularly offer customers store credit for trade-ins, an option currently available only at a limited number of its locations.

Signal Hill analyst Todd Greenwald issued an investors note on GameStop in reaction to the news, saying the Wal-Mart program doesn't offer much of a near-term threat to the specialty retailer.

"On the contrary, we believe this is more of a traffic driver to Wal-Mart's stores, and an alternative for cash-strapped consumers, than something that will take meaningful share from Gamestop's core consumers," Greenwald said. "Gamestop customers demand immediate gratification, and typically trade in a used game in order to buy a new game, which is not possible in this pilot program."

The analyst added that while headlines about new competition in the market may hurt GameStop shares temporarily, the company's used-game business is "nearly bulletproof."

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Discussion

117 comments
jjwalker9600
jjwalker9600

Personally, I don't like the who buy-back program at Gamestop. You are getting ripoff and the only the retailer is making money by acting as a third party reseller. Buying it from you at 5% to 10% of what you paid for it and selling it back to the next consumer at 80% of the original price without any overhead what so ever. I sell my games online on sites, such as craiglist. At least, I get about half of what I paid for it. It's worth it.

zinoalex
zinoalex

@Cabal23 Woud that be static or dynamic economics you are sperking of?I doubt if you know the diffference.The point of the article is kiosks being set up in Wal-Mart's. While Wal-Mart provides a service to gamers by selling games, some at reasonable prices, they are ill equiped to deal with the kiosks.What may look good in theory is not workable, at this time, in practacality. Too many uninformed individuals will trade their games into a machine and not get the "fair dollor amount" for their game.Kiosk's are hoping on this.Hence the suckers. Supply and demand may work well on Ebay, Amazon, Gamestop or EBgames.But in a tiny Wal-mart that serves 4-6,000 people.it does not.Smaller towns have swap shops and garage sales where the game seller and the game buyer are treated more fairly. Commerace only works well when there is equitity for both parties.Do you understand this or do you need to repeat 4th grade?

Cabal23
Cabal23

@zinoalex Then I guess garage sales, flea markets, ebay, pawn shops, used cd stores and any place that sells something USED are all BS then too. How is buying or selling something someone wants to get rid of BS? As stated by many posters this is how a free market works. If you don't like what they offer, no one is holding a gun to your head to sell. Selling cars, houses, Brittany Spears's hair, is all based on supply and demand. If there is a demand they can charge what they like and give a payout they deem profitable for the item to the seller. If there is no demand the price goes down and acquisition of the product becomes a moot point. The housing market is a great example. What store is going to give you $20 for game they have umpteen million copies of? Obviously you didn't pay attention in 4th grade when they introduced basic economic concepts.

zinoalex
zinoalex

This is BS!All trade in program rip the gamer off.I hope this fails---but it won't.There are too many suckers out there to let it fail. With all the "dead space" there is in all wal-Mart's(more in Target's)why not just repack the games in shrink wrap plastioc and resale them at the point of return.Who knows--someone may actually WANT your copy of Persona for the PSX and Persona 2 for the PS2.What finds.Wa-hoo!

Cabal23
Cabal23

They make 50% on almost all used games and $7 on a new game or game guide. I have no idea where people are getting 300 - 400%. That must be that new math George Bush invented. All of this is on various economic web sites. Maybe if people pulled there heads out of the sand an did some research and obtained some empirical evidence before coming here blowing smoke they would come off much more intelligent. If you can't prove, then don't say it.

Cabal23
Cabal23

Amazing how little people understand about capitalism, supply and demand, and free trade. Every couple months there is an article about GS and people come out of the woodwork to share how much they dislike the most profitable game retailer company on earth. Frankly they provide a service just like any company. use it or not. Doesn't change the fact that they are very successful at what they do and the fringe kooks out there aren't going to affect their P & L at all. Everyone can share their anecdotal stories all they want, it doesn't change the fact that until widespread digital distribution becomes a reality(very soon), GS is the king of the hill.

dzimm
dzimm

To add to what I wrote earlier, I just traded some games to Gamestop for Punch-Out!!. Now here's where it gets interesting: Grant Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Gamestop gave me $23.34 for it; the average selling price on eBay is $20 Endless Ocean Gamestop gave me $12.84 for it; the average selling price on eBay is around $14 So it's a break-even; only I didn't lose chunk of the final transaction fee and the entire process took less than 10-minutes, so I actually came out ahead. When are people going to stop thinking that eBay is some magical place where you can get an inflated price for everything you sell? (And, no, I have no affiliation with or vested interest in Gamestop. I just think they're unfairly maligned by clueless fanboys.)

steveroger
steveroger

The biggest problem with this device is the 3 day waiting period for payment. This seem really stupid. The thing has a disc slot. Why doesn't have a reader to check the disc for consistency. All it needs to do is determine if the disc has integrity. Sure it wouldn't be perfect, but would spit out scratched, dirty, unreadalbe discs. But not this machine. For example if I buy a coke I am not going to pay for it and wait 3 days to get it. Dumb and dumber. The machines will fail, big time.

dzimm
dzimm

imprezawrx500: "use still can just not at ripoff gamestop, ebay them and get twice what gamestop would ever even think of giving you." eBay's fees for sellers have reached the point of exorbitant, so that whatever extra profit you might have made disappears at the point of sale. Not to mention the hassle of putting your item up for 7-days then waiting for the buyer to send you the money and hoping they don't suddenly back out of the transaction at the last minute, etc. In contrast, Gamestop's trade-in policy is convenient and instant. Yeah, it's a bit of a rip-off, but I don't care because it's a quick, easy, and hassle free way to unload games I don't play any longer and get cash that I can put towards a new game.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

Well if all these stores getting into 2nd-hand game sales doesn't bug Gamestop, it will developers/publishers. The next generation most certainly will move to download distribution.

SecularSage
SecularSage

@angelGP32: I somehow doubt the police would show up at my house because I mis-used a game kiosk. It would be too easy for me to say it was a mistake, that my friend borrowed my ID without my knowing, or some other lame excuse, and there would be no reason to doubt me. The police have better things to do with their time. At the very worst, I'd get no credit and my "game" wouldn't be returned to me. My point was that this system seems to me like it has very few controls against fraud, and that the people at the distro facilities who will be checking the games will probably be as easily fooled by fakes as the part-timers at GameStop. I heard that Best Buy tested a trade-in program, and they gave way more for games than they should have, with no quality controls whatsoever. As a result, they wound up with hundreds of scratched-up copies of Madden, demo discs and burned copies that couldn't be resold.

enragedrenegade
enragedrenegade

Interesting but why not just sell used games instead of having customers trade in their games. Its better that way not that the trade in method is bad.

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

"Bah... I miss the good ol' days when you could buy and sell used PC games." use still can just not at ripoff gamestop, ebay them and get twice what gamestop would ever even think of giving you.

dzimm
dzimm

Bah... I miss the good ol' days when you could buy and sell used PC games. Anyway, I don't see this being a serious threat to Gamestop's used games business. I think the waiting period before you get your money is going to turn off a lot of people, particularly when they can go down the road to Gamestop or a local software retailer and get instant gratification for their trade-ins.

Takuzi
Takuzi

I'm not really interested in used games...why not pay $5 for a brand new one?

blazey09
blazey09

who wants to wait 3 days to get there credit for there game they are trying to sell? lol usally if you are selling a game you want to buy a game also so that game that you are selling takes off the price of the game you want to buy. And this is why I dont shop for games at places like walmart or best buy they are just idiots.

Niccara
Niccara

Anyways, the only way a serious threat will be posed is if a major retailer, you know.. is "actually" serious about being competitive. With all the spotlight on Gamestop's shady business practices(such as selling used games at new prices).. a major electronics store like Best Buy doing price matching as well as trade value matching could be devastating to Gamestop IF done properly.

teamfear
teamfear

For some reason I just can't buy used games. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because i used to buy and sell them at a game store i once owned or maybe I don't see any worth in saving $5 to buy something used. I would rather just wait for a sale or a drop because it will be cheaper then used. I don't shop at Game stop either because there is no incentive to do so besides 10% off used crap. At least Best Buy has Rewards Zone Points and i get 10% coupons for new games quite often too.

Niccara
Niccara

@DarkNeoBahamut - LMAO damn right. :lol:

xiaolanyi
xiaolanyi

eventually, walmart will challenge and replace gamestop for better or worse

alosborne
alosborne

This can't even touch gamestop. LOL

GCwasthebestsys
GCwasthebestsys

Blockbuster Gold Member: pay a tiny bit each year, get to keep games as long as you need to finish them

GCwasthebestsys
GCwasthebestsys

b.t.w. some of you need to understand the economics of a SMALL BUSINESS. actually, every business out there is getting 300-400% on what they give you. fast-food-bone-burgers are starting to cost 3-4 dollars now, and probably .50 cents to make. if you don't like it use the internet and you will get a better return for your game. IMO you should only buy games you intend to keep forever DUH. rent the others, it's life after late fees DUH

GCwasthebestsys
GCwasthebestsys

as long as they always accept DVDs and pay comparable OR BETTER than gamestop store credit i'm interested. though it sucks you can't get instant cash. sounds like they just want you credit card number and info to give to telemarketers and such.

sonic-boom
sonic-boom

I couldn't see myself using this...

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

Big Ripoff....people can put the wrong game in the box, the disc itself could be scratched beyond repair, its difficult to return a defected game into an automated machine, and it takes three days for the credit to appear!? Plus, many people steal from Wal-Mart's bargain bin of video games...now all they have to do is use that kisok instead of worrying about how to get rid of the games. I'll still go by Gamestop purely because its ACTUAL PEOPLE SERVICE

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

@vividnightmare: Find a way around it? How? You don't get cash out of the machine, it puts the money on your credit card. So unless you plan on stealing someone's driver's license and credit card to go spend money, you're not going to gain anything.

Minishdriveby
Minishdriveby

Depends on how bad these kiosks try to rip you off. But yeah I think it could be better to trade in your games here. Not sure about buying them since you don't actually see the case of the game, and I like the case and everything...

whitetiger3521
whitetiger3521

The majority of games do not hold their value anyways. So you might as well just keep the game instead of selling it for way less than you paid for it. Every single one of these companys that buy back your game will rip you off.

madmanborg
madmanborg

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Well, I'd say that Todd Greenwald's analysis is wrong, at least in terms of customers like me. When I think of trading in a game, I want the best price possible, and Gamestop's buyback prices are -insulting-! So much so that I usually find myself trying to sell something online, and if I can't sell it there, I shop around for the best price before I sell something. I suspect that others will start doing so too, especially since Gamestop's insultingly low buyback prices are kind of beginning to gain a reputation.

CharlieFubar
CharlieFubar

lol why dont people just take thier beaten games back to wallmart and get your money back like i always do when i dont want to keep it?

Tr5978
Tr5978

The state of used games has really declined. I remember back in the day, they used to inspect every inch of the game disk, and play test it into a nearby console before they accepted it. Then they just started giving the disk a quick wipe with a cloth. Now, they just blow the dust off the case, pretty much.

ItsBriskBaby
ItsBriskBaby

To Vividnightmare Did you even read the post!? It will be hard to pull off fraud like that seeing you have to enter your I.D. info along with a matched credit or debit card to the name. Then several days later after it all checks out you get the money credited to your account.

Soldier1990
Soldier1990

meh i hardly ever sell my games, unless i havent touched them in months then i may give them up, but i hardly ever buy games from walmart unless i cant find the game im looking for then ill try walmart.

fritigoerd
fritigoerd

Mhmmm...... wallmart will have tons of problems with this service....I mean who stops someone ditching a retail box with a fake/blank disk inside? Yeah there's id scan but I dunno.... people do all crazy stuff

PhilWil92
PhilWil92

Gosh I'm going to check out this thing for sure. I wanna see how it compares to Gamestop's trade-in prices. Maybe instead of giving me $12 for my GTA IV Walmart might give me a $20. Worth a try.

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

So, whats to stop someone from buying a DvD case, sticking a blank DvD in there and getting a high res print of the Bar Code from the real copy of the game? I suppose it's the use of a credit card/ ID... but I have a feeling someone, because someone always DOES, will find a way around it.

Gastman
Gastman

I nerve buy video games from Walmart anyway.

edgewalker16
edgewalker16

@accessdenied It depends on what you're looking for. If you want vintage games (PS2 included) then those are the stores to find them in. However, don't go to a mom and pop shop to buy next-gen games and/or new releases because their prices are jacked up. Case in point...my friend and I found a little-known place in our town other than the gamespot to see if we could score some of the older PS1 games. We got Twisted Metal for dirt cheap, but games like Resident Evil 5, Bioshock, and Halo 3 were far more expensive than Gamestop.

baystatethrashr
baystatethrashr

while i would never ever consider giving walwart business it is nice to see that GameStop is lessening its monopoly on used games

edgewalker16
edgewalker16

We don't require "immediate gratification". Christ, we aren't 5 years old. Greenwald and Wal-Mart can shove those comments and their "pilot" program right up their asses.

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

see i never trusted Wal Mart after 3 things 1 .They didnt give me a Receit wich i complained bout because the item I purchased was broken ;( 2. My Ghost Recon AWF didnt work for my PC and after I got the same game from target after getting my Money back it worked 3. Lousy Service. I was looking for a certain item for a friend of mine when I went to Pay Woman looks down and sees a line of People, She just sighs and takes here lunch break with only 5 of us in line with under 10 Items So this wont affect me because they will prob give me game With SCRATCHES