GameStop has been the only major player in the used video game business for at least five years — but that all changed in 2009. In Q1 alone, *Best Buy*, *Amazon* and Toys R Us have staked their claim to a piece of what has become a billion-dollar industry, and now *Wal-mart* is joining the pile-up.
A NeoCrisis contributor spotted a games trade-in kiosk at his local Wal-mart; the retailer has teamed up with entertainment kiosk-maker e-Play to deploy about 80 units in the Northeast. An e-Play rep told Kotaku that the trade-in values would fluctuate based on various factors (likely demand and rarity), and users get a credit for the game on their credit or debit card within a number of business days.
Find out why GameStop still might not be worried, after the jump.
That cuts out one revenue stream for Wal-mart — at least temporarily — since the kiosks aren’t doling out store credit; the retailer told Kotaku it wanted to see how many people actually used the machines before brokering that kind of deal with e-Play. But Wal-mart is still getting either a space rental fee from the kiosk-maker, or a cut of whatever profit e-Play is making on the value of the games.
Wal-mart faces some of the same challenges as Toys R Us and *Amazon* with these kiosks: the lack of instant gratification and the stigma of selling games back to an “uncool” retailer. There’s also the notion that more game publishers are flocking to downloadable add-on content as a way to keep people from selling old games back (players can’t thrash out to newly released Guitar Hero tracks, for example, if they sell the original disc back; that has kept most people from turning it in).
Photo Credit: NeoCrisis