Toys 'R' Us tests used-game waters

Several of retail chain's New York locations now buying back and reselling games as part of preliminary program.

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The North American used-game market is currently dominated by GameStop, but it's a lucrative business that continues to draw interest from larger retail chains. Best Buy and Circuit City both ran preliminary used-game programs at a select group of locations for a time, but both ultimately shied away from a national rollout.

Will Toys
Will Toys "R" Us follow through with used-game sales or stop short like other big-box retailers?

Now another retail chain is considering making the leap into the used-game business. A Toys "R" Us representative confirmed for GameSpot that the retailer is buying back and reselling games at "several" of its New York-area locations. In-store signage for the program was photographed and posted on the blog of Cheap Ass Gamer user phear3d.

According to the blog post, the Toys "R" Us in Nanuet, New York is offering store credit for used games as part of a roughly four-month-long trial program. The store requires that all games be in their original cases, complete with artwork and manual, and free from cracks. Furthermore, the sign states that Toys "R" Us will not buy back any games rated "A" by the ESRB, which is presumably intended to rule out games rated AO for Adults Only.

In an exhaustive interview with GameSpot last year, GameStop executive vice president of merchandising and marketing Tony Bartel downplayed concerns of new competition in the used-game market. Although retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City have run trial buyback programs in the past, Bartel said that they eventually discover "huge barriers" to entry in the market. He said that two of the biggest hurdles to entering the market were the necessity for a refurbishing department to fix products that come in broken, and the ability to transfer stock easily from store to store and region to region to ensure that inventory gets to the places where it can sell.

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