Believe it or not, gamers now have a new way of trading in their gently used games: Walmart. The company follows Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target and others that take trade-ins for store credit.
Starting Wednesday, March 26, the company will accept trade-ins and apply that value immediately towards the purchase of anything sold at Walmart and Sam's Club, both in stores and online. In turn, the traded game will be sent off to be refurbished (polished, rewrapped) and made available for purchase for a low price.
"Gaming continues to be an important business for us and we're actively taking aim at the $2 billion pre-owned video game opportunity," said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S. "When we disrupt markets and compete, our customer wins. They'll save money on video games and have the flexibility to spend it however they want."
How to Trade Games in Walmart
- Customers bring their working game, along with the original packaging, to the electronics department.
- Walmart employees then scan the UPC code on the case and evaluate the game for obvious damage such as deep scratches or cracks.
- After the evaluation, customers are provided with a trade-in value to accept.
- The total value accepted by the customer is awarded immediately and can be applied at checkout in a Walmart store or Sam’s Club, or online at Walmart.com or SamsClub.com
Presumably, PC games are out of the question, but Walmart's PR stated that more than 3,100 stores will participate in the program. They will also accept thousands of games for popular consoles like the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 and so on. Hardware will not be accepted.
Customers won't be able to purchase used games at Walmart's online and local brick-and-mortar stores until later this year. The video games will be labeled "Certified Pre-Owned," which means the product is fully refurbished and in like-new condition.
The news shouldn't be surprising. Walmart is a one-stop-shop for nearly everything. The company even estimates that more than 110 million gamers will be interested in this new trade-in program. If that's the case, GameStop could see a drop in sales if Walmart manages to undercut the popular gaming retail chain.
"While new releases will remain the focus of our gaming business, we're glad to give our customers the option to buy pre-owned games," added Mac Naughton.
This new trade-in program is Walmart's second attempt at selling used games. The company previously experimented with this part of the gaming market by installing small kiosks in a limited number of stores. As with the trade-in program for phones and tablets, CE Exchange will also handle this new game trade-in program.
For consumers, the used games industry is a real money-saver, depending on the title; some are bargains and some are downright laughable. However, for developers and publishers, the used games industry seems more like a thorn they can't pull out. They're not making a dime off secondary sales unlike GameStop, Walmart and other retailers.
Despite the complaints, it seems that there's no stopping the used games market. There's also no stopping GameStop who doesn't appear to see Walmart as a potential threat… yet.
"Our goal is to continue to be the world's largest multichannel retailer of new and pre-owned video game products and PC entertainment software and expand our business into the mobile device category to provide the best video game content to our customers anytime, anywhere and on any device," it said in its most recent 10K regulatory filing.