GameStop Turns Old iPods into Gold


The U.S. game retailer reports that iDevice trade-ins for store credit have exceeded expectations.

Part of the problem with being a technologically advanced society with baby’s toys having more advanced electronics than the astronauts brought with them to the Moon is what to do with all those gadgets once they become obsolete. Case in point: the iPods that revolutionized music a mere ten years ago are near worthless to those of us with fancy new smartphones. Heck, even the first few iPhones are garbage now. After investing $500 or more a few years ago, most people feel bad that previously-prized devices will just collect dust in a drawer (or worse, poisoning a landfill) and that is where GameStop comes in. In September, the game retailer began offering a way to trade in old Apple devices for in-store credit to pay for games. So far, the ploy has worked.

“The velocity of this trade program has exceeded our expectations,” said Tony Bartel, the top banana at GameStop. “We expect to see strong post-holiday traffic as customers trade in older models that were replaced by gifts.”

While the amount of credit that GameStop offers is significant, the devices it accepts for the program is limited to recent models. GameStop will give credit worth “$180 for an iPod Touch, up to $300 for an iPhone and up to $400 for an iPad.” The “up to” language is troubling: I wonder if truly old models get nothing or how much the value varies based on the condition. An iPad with a crack in its screen ain’t worth 400 bucks worth of games, that’s for sure.

And that brings up the question of what GameStop does with these models. The release doesn’t say, but the whole trade-in scheme doesn’t work if you can’t move the old product. Who is buying these old iPads from GameStop? Are they being shipped to developing countries to be sold on some kind of black market? Can I head up an investigative task-force to find out that all these devices are being melted down to form a giant mecha-destro-robot armed to take over the world?

‘Cause that’d be awesome.

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