Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Welcome To Used-Mart

I guess my local morning news was right. Wal-Mart will soon start accepting video game trade-ins starting March 26th, with a full inventory of used games available by this summer in every store within the United States. That's a lot of used games. And the merchandising chief, Duncan Mac Naughton, was not shy to say that they want a piece of the GameStop pie in the used market. But then again, who wouldn't? The majority of GameStop's billion dollar sales are from second hand sales of games and consoles, where the publisher gets zero kickbacks and it's 100% profit.

Here's the kicker: Wal-Mart will not offer cash for your games like GameStop or BestBuy. Instead, it's all Wal-Mart credit, which also works at Sam's Club locations. Which, according to Mac Naughton is the key difference between what Wal-Mart has to offer, and what everyone else is currently doing. Why? Because you can use that credit for anything in Wal-Mart. Trade in 40 games for $200 dollars and you're on your way to that new big screen tv you've been eying. Or groceries. Or whatever. It's Wal-Mart. They have everything. That's something BBuy and GameStop can't offer you, which makes sense. They're specialized electronic retailers, and even when you trade in something at BBuy, they tend to restrict your credit to only future game purchases.

The company will also accept almost any game that is handed to them, provided that they are not scratched or damaged beyond repair. And just like everywhere else, if you have the case and manual, you'll get more money from your trade. Refurbishing discs will be sent to a third party company and re-sold with a label denoting that the game is a used product. "Certified Pre-Owned" indeed. They also want to give you more for your trade-in then anywhere else. And to that I say good luck. Mac Naughton stated that they want the average trade in to be $35. Already I can see that not happening. When you consider an influx of inventory with new products, no one is going to give someone $35 for the last Madden release when there are thousands more sitting in stock at the same price for brand new. Wal-Mart makes no money from that trade. Pricing will vary and I highly doubt that $35 model will last.

So other then offering Wal-Mart store credit and a potential higher trade-in value for your game, there isn't much of a difference between what they want to accomplish and what everyone else has been doing for years. Wal-Mart needs something else that will set them apart if they want to capitalize on the used game market.

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