In a move that was widely expected, GameStop started officially accepting iOS devices for trade-in as of Monday. The game seller will now pay either cash or in-store credit to customers who bring in used iPods, iPhones and iPads in good condition. It’s a sign of the times that a company that is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the sale of games would target the hardware that’s giving dedicated gaming devices a run for their money.
The trade-ins are conditional upon store manager approval, and if you have your device personalized in any way (i.e. engraving from Apple), you won’t be able to sell it to GameStop. Your device is also ineligible if it has dents or “severe” scratches, cracked screens, won’t power on or has water damage. But if you’ve coddled it in a protective case and haven’t dropped it in a lake, you can trade in any generation of iPod nano, shuffle, mini or touch, as well as all models of iPhones and iPads. Trade-in value is assessed by in-store staff, and you’ll get the option to get either cash or store credit for your device.
GameStop and other brick-and-mortar stores are facing a future in which most game purchases are made online via digital distribution outlets like the App Store, Valve’s Steam service and EA’s Origin. Sony has promised that titles for its next-generation portable, the PS Vita, will all be available in digital format through the Sony PlayStation Store. In response to the digital shift in gaming sales, GameStop has been building out its hardware sales to include tablets, and will next year introduce its own GameStop-branded Android gaming slate.
Apple device trade-ins and tablet sales are smart ways to try and ride the digital wave and gaming for a traditional retail outlet. Indigo, a bookseller in Canada, is trying to accomplish something similar and avoid the fate of Borders by heavily backing Kobo and the Kobo e-bookstore, while turning their retail locations into lifestyle stores that sell a lot more accessories and decorative items for the home. Likewise, GameStop can use its retail presence to support the gaming ecosystem as boxed game sales slow down.
There’s no word on what kind of money you’ll actually get for your iOS devices yet, but if you plan on trying out this service, let us know what they’re offering. I’m guessing you can probably get more money online or via private sale through Craigslist, but for impatient shoppers looking to scratch a gaming itch with older Apple devices that are going unused, GameStop’s trade-ins might be just what the doctor ordered.