According to the Wall Street Journal, Walmart will soon start buying used video games from shoppers at 3,100 locations. Of course, this being Walmart, you don’t get cash your old game, you get a Walmart gift card. The value of that card will be tied to the value of the game in question.
Unlike some major retailers who have trade-in programs but don’t directly resell used games back to its shoppers, Walmart will reportedly be selling these old titles at its stores; and the company says it will soon be doing so at lower prices than people pay for used games elsewhere.
For Walmart, it’s a way to get a slice of the still-lucrative, $2 billion/year used game market at a time when an increasing number of game-buyers are getting their new games digitally, thus bypassing retailers like Walmart and Best Buy. Walmart also sees it as a way to let customers cash in on games they aren’t playing — and then spend that “found” money at Walmart.
One might assume that GameStop — until now, the retail market leader in used game sales — would be shaking in its boots at the notion of Walmart stomping on its business.
“We win those market share battles because we’ve been at it a long time,” CEO Paul Raines tells the Journal, presumably while flipping through the help-wanted ads.
Walmart hopes that shoppers will choose it over existing competitors because you can’t trade in a copy of Borderlands 2 for a head of lettuce or a pair of sweatpants at GameStop.
Raines cautioned that big retailers might not understand the logistical nightmare they face when jumping into the used game business, saying, “there are lots and lots of risks when you’re buying a preowned product.”