News that *Best Buy* planned on getting into the $2 billion used video game business leaked a few months ago, but details on how the retailer’s program would work — and whether it really stood a chance of competing with GameStop’s — weren’t clear. CMO Barry Judge revealed today that Best Buy is going the kiosk route, with self-serve units that will give gamers back a voucher they can instantly redeem for store credit.
Judge acknowledged how important this “instant gratification” was for a video game trade-in program to be successful (one of the major advantages GameStop claimed when its challengers first started eying the market), but he also highlighted the fact that gamers could then use the store credit for anything — “not just another game.” Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian gave the announcement a favorable nod, saying that it would “expand the used video game market rather than take significant share” from GameStop.
The company is testing the kiosks, some of which will also rent games and movies, in Dallas and Austin. This follows news that Wal-mart started testing game trade-in kiosks in some Northeastern markets. One big difference is that Wal-mart’s units currently don’t give back store credit — gamers get the monetary value of the title they traded in back on their credit card — and the processing takes a few business days; that kills the instant buzz. Meanwhile, Best Buy plans to sell used games in-store; it’s not clear whether Wal-mart will do the same.