When it comes to the used games market, Gamestop has long been the reigning champion over other electronic stores, such as Best Buy and even Amazon. However with the recent announcement that Walmart will be stepping into the ring as of March 26, Gamestop might have a real fight on their hands. With their new policy, Walmart as essentially thrown down to gauntlet to their primary competitor. Will Gamestop stay on top or will Walmart take the used video game market by storm?
While its still to soon to know for sure, Walmart has made a major step forward. Though they will not be exchanging used games for cash, the game’s value will be put toward store credit in a eGift card. Which will count for items not just in the electronics department, but the entire store. The used games are then refurbished and repacked to be sold. Given the wide variety of merchandise that Walmart has to offer, the options of what to spend with a used game card is going to be expansive. Comparing that to Gamestop smaller but focused selection, its no surprise that this year is going to be tough for Gamestop to keep up.
In my personal opinion, while this will prove to seriously challenge Gamestop for top billing in the used games market, I don’t believe Walmart’s new policy will put them out of business. Gamestop has a lot more going for it, due to its main focus as a video game retailer and loyal customer base. Whereas Walmart will have to do more to get the word out, if their policy is going to take off. However, its all going to come down to pricing in the end. How much customers are going to get back for selling their used games in exchange for other store items?
In hindsight the idea to give credit for all items in the store was a smart business move, but, how much customers will earn for returning X amount of games will be the clincher. Whatever the price, this serious competition should at least get Gamestop back into the game and offer new policies of their own in order to stay ahead. However, as the approximate 5% drop in Gamestop’s shares have shown, Gamestop has been complacent for too long.
With any luck this challenge will only serve to help it and perhaps even Walmart, continue to grow and better serve the video game community.