Minneapolis – Best Buy will launch a video game trade-in program in all
stores this summer.
The program, modeled after GameStop’s envied used-game strategy, joins an
existing online exchange offer and follows several years of trials that
included a vending machine pilot.
Under the new plan, customers can purchase pre-owned titles backed by the
company’s return policy, and also exchange their own games for gift cards that
can be used throughout the store.
Select stores will have dedicated trade-in desks within the gaming
department, while the balance of locations will accept and sell pre-played
titles at the customer service desk.
During an earnings call, Americas co-president Mike Vitelli said Best Buy
had worked on a video game exchange model for several years to help offset
traffic declines as demand for packaged media, its traditional driver, has
waned. The chain will reallocate real
estate and possibly staff from the CD and DVD areas to support the program, he
CEO Brian Dunn added that the timing of the rollout coincides with a
number of gaming innovations slated for the second half that will invigorate
the category, including gesture-based motion control and 3D firmware upgrades
Best Buy will also support the gaming category with new interactive touchscreens
that will allow customers to preview and pre-order games in stores, and
recently launched its own specialty gaming magazine called @Gamer. The company
has also developed mobile gaming apps for the iPhone and Android platforms that
provide special offers, discounts and unique content, and will add a gaming app
for BlackBerry this summer.
In a statement, Chris Homeister,
home entertainment group senior VP and general manager, said, “Our commitment
to creating an improved gaming experience begins with giving customers easy and
exciting ways to connect with the games they love. We know how important game
trade-in is in that mix. Combined with the anticipated arrival of new
interactive gaming experiences later this year and strategic investments into
our future digital capabilities that will enable consumers to buy digital
content and downloads, we will provide gamers innovative ways to connect with
current and future gaming titles.”