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Walmart Gets Into Used Games Biz

| 18 May 2009 21:28
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Retail giant Walmart is testing a videogame buyback program that makes use of in-store kiosks that will accept used games for credit.

Walmart, otherwise known as The Official Store of America, has partnered with Ohio-based company E-Play to make a foray into the money-filled world of the used games business. So far the venture is only in a pilot program: E-Play has leased space in a paltry 77 Walmart stores to install "Video Game Buyback" kiosks. The kiosks rent game and DVD rentals at the rate of $1 per day, but, more significantly, also take used games.

The way it works is you step up to the machine (maybe after picking up a 300-pack of Top Ramen for $10), scan the barcode on the case of the game you want to sell, at which point the machine will make you an offer for how much it's worth. If the deal's swell to you, you insert the disc into the kiosk and drop the case off into the attached case-catching bin.

After the machine magically examines the disc to make sure it's in acceptable condition, it'll dole out the agreed upon amount of money to your preferred credit card. Walmart says that if the program is a success E-Play will make it so that machines also provide store credit.

So what happens to your copy of Quest 64 (you can't actually sell N64 games) after you've dumped it into the magical machine? E-Play wouldn't tell when asked by Gamasutra, only saying that there are a "couple different methods" for reselling the games.

Without a clear way to make money from selling these games, it seems that Walmart and E-Play aren't exactly trying to compete with the GameStops and Amazons of the world here.

"I can't see this having tremendous appeal to hardcore gamers, unless the credits are substantially higher than those offered at GameStop," analyst Michael Pachter said. "Even if this takes off, it's not going to make much of a dent in the used market. ... I don't see it being a big deal."

Still, if you happen to be at Walmart buying ammo for your hunting rifle, getting some Dunkin Donuts or just buying a ginormous thing of cheese puffs, doesn't it seem convenient to go ahead and dump off your copy of Madden NFL 2001 too?

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