Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart will follow GameStop’s lead and begin buying used video games next week.
Store credit will be given for the trade-ins, which can be applied to any purchase at Walmart or Sam’s Club, either in store or online.
Walmart will begin selling pre-owned games this summer.
“Gaming continues to be an important business for us and we’re actively taking aim at the $2 billion pre-owned video game opportunity,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S. “When we disrupt markets and compete, our customer wins. They’ll save money on video games and have the flexibility to spend it however they want.”
GameStop pioneered pre-owned game trading on a national level, and was later followed by Best Buy and Toys “R” Us to mixed results. For the No. 1 gaming specialty chain the strategy helped drive traffic, build a loyal customer base, and buttress sales and margins throughout the recession.
In a blog, Walmart entertainment director Justin Williamson pegged the number of gamers in the U.S. at more than 110 million, and the number of unused titles sitting idly in homes at nearly 1 billion. He said the discounter already has the second-largest market share in the video game industry, ostensibly behind only GameStop.
Walmart will begin accepting used games in exchange for gift cards starting next Wednesday, March 26, at “GameCenters” within the CE departments of 3,100 stores, and launched the program in-house today for sales associates. Titles must be in working condition and in their original packaging. The items will be sent for refurbishing to restore them to “like-new” condition, and will be re-sold beginning this summer as “Certified Pre-Owned.”
“While new releases will remain the focus of our gaming business, we’re glad to give our customers the option to buy pre-owned games,” Mac Naughton added.
The program builds on Walmart’s existing in-store and online trade-in program, which accepts tablets and smartphones. In-store trade-ins can be applied to the purchase of a new mobile device, while online exchanges provide credit for a larger range of products including MP3 players, cameras, laptops, smartphones, tablets and video games.