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Walmart Testing Used Gaming Shops

6/07/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

BENTONVILLE, ARK.
— Walmart has opened
video game trade-in stores
within five of its Supercenter
locations.

The leased shops ,
dubbed Game Trade, buy
and sell used video games, handhelds
and consoles for all major
platforms, along with
a smaller number of new
titles and products.

Inventory is provided
by a distributor called
Game Factory, and the
stores’ operators plan to
add repair services — and additional
locations — in the near future.

The stores are located along the inside
front wall of the stores, across from
the checkout counters, where Walmart
also maintains vision centers, health
clinics, hair salons and other specialty
shops.

The pilot program is Walmart’s second
stab at the video game trade-in
business, following last year’s aborted
test of automated kiosks in New England.

Best Buy is still testing the trade-in
venders, supplied by Columbus, Ohio based
E-Play, which scan games for
functionality and issue store vouchers
in exchange.

In contrast, RadioShack and Toys
“R” Us developed their own in-store exchange
programs, and Amazon.com began
accepting mail-in trade-ins last year.

Walmart has also extended its online
CE trade-in program, through Gazelle,
to include used video games and
consoles. As with other electronics,
consumers can determine the tradein
value of their gaming products at
http://walmart.gazelle.com; ship the
items using prepaid packing labels
and cartons; and receive payment via
Walmart prepaid Visa cards.

All of the retailers are emulating the
model developed by gaming specialty
chains Trade N Play and GameStop,
which have generated increased traffic,
revenue and profits through the hardware
and software exchange.

Elsewhere, Walmart’s gaming efforts
also extended to the Web, where
it launched a new online gaming center
last month that it described as a one-stop
destination for enthusiasts and families.

The micro site, called Gamecenter
(www.walmart.com/gamecenter), provides
previews, exclusive footage, content,
special offers, promotional incentives
for pre-orders, and 97-cent
shipping (per game) for all titles.

“Walmart Gamecenter combines incredible
savings with exclusive gaming
content all in a compelling and interactive
experience online,” said Kelly
Thompson, merchandising VP for
Walmart.com. “Gaming enthusiasts
will be drawn in by the exclusive content
and developer interviews, while moms
will appreciate the special savings.”

Indeed, Walmart offered shoppers
a $50 e-gift card with pre-orders of at
least three select titles to help promote
the launch of Gamecenter, and will
provide gift cards and other special offers
each month on a new selection of
soon-to-be-released games.

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