Wal-Mart Wants In On The Used Games Biz, Too


imageGameStop 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


Jim Troy

The role of kiosks are increasing in the physical retail store space. There is software available that will allow the Walmart kiosk to emulate their POS environment and will support integrated payments; price file management; and customer loyalty. The loyalty model has a preference marketing tool that will identify the customer, his or her likes and interest, thus allowing a presentation loop of the tailored games to the customers interest. Any retailer will be able to provide such a solution.


I don't think this will be long-term, as it says, there is no instant gratification when trading in your game. I'd be willing to bet, 9 times out of 10, someone who trades in a game to let's say GameStop, will make a purchase of a new one on the same trip, with the money recieved from used games.

This kiosk won't do that for Wal-Mart.

Comments are closed.