Used video games sales are a booming business. When it released last week that GameStop’s earnings had risen 4.2 percent to $40.3 million, up from $38.7 million from 2009--numbers which accounted for 31.7 percent of their annual sales--analysts weren’t the only ones eagerly awaiting the figures.
After it was announced yesterday (August 25th) that Target was launching its new consumer electronics services program, including a tech support line, expanded availability of its Target Mobile centers at store branches, and highlighted by the launch of an in-store electronics trade-in program at 850 of its locations throughout September, Best Buy followed suit today by announcing its own used games prerogative.
Starting this Sunday, August 29th, the new Best Buy Trade-In program kicks off at nearly 600 of its retail outlets. As a special promotion, consumers will receive a $20 Best Buy Gift Card for their participation in the programs launch. Trades can be completed at dedicated trade-in counters available in some stores or at the Customer Service desk in all others. An initial 100 titles will be featured for store credit, with more titles and eventually used game sales becoming available once they build up a steady supply.
"The expansion of our trade-in program reaffirms our commitment to consistently pursue new ways to bring a better gaming experience to consumers," said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager for the home entertainment group at Best Buy. "Fall marks the launch of several highly-anticipated gaming titles and new technology, and we're thrilled to provide gamers with innovative ways to connect with the games they love."
The main difference so far between these two programs is that Target will also accept your old cellphones, iPhones, and iPods as well as your used games for trade, where consumers "can receive amounts from a few dollars up to more than $200 per item depending on the product and its condition." While it can only be assumed with the variety of used electronics Best Buy accepts online that they will eventually open their arms in-store cs as well, nothing is for certain at this point. The convenience as well to turnaround and immediately use your credit towards anything in the store--not just video games as opposed to GameStop or sparing yourself the 14-day wait using trade-in services online--coupled with their incredibly modest trade values should take a steady supply of consumers away from GameStop's market dominance.
Amazon was the first major retailer to try its hand in used video games sales last March when it began its mail-in program, offering cutthroat competitive price returns for gamers in comparison to shoddy trade-in values at GameStop and Game Crazy. Best Buy entered the market shortly after, opening its doors to used video games online as well as a wide variety of consumer electronics via online trade-in.
Wal-Mart, second in brick-and-mortar video game sales to GameStop, announced in May that it would test used game kiosks at five of its California locations. Long rumored to make its own impact in the used video game sector, the recent ventures by Target and Best Buy may incite their motivation.