If GameStop and Walmart were cowboys, this is the part where we’d all have to run for safety behind the barber and saloon while they stared each other down at high noon.
Walmart, the world’s largest megaretailer, is getting into the used-games business in the U.S. The company revealed today that it will start accepting trade-ins March 26. The company will give customers gift cards in exchange for old games, and those cards are good for any item at Walmart or Sam’s Club. This strategy could help one of the largest retail operations pick up a bigger chunk of the $13 billion that U.S. consumers spend on games at retail. This may also force GameStop, the huge gaming-specific retailer in the U.S., to offer better used-game prices to keep up with the competition.
“Gaming continues to be an important business for us, and we’re actively taking aim at the $2 billion preowned video game opportunity,” Walmart chief marketing officer Duncan Mac Naughton said in a statement. “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.”
We’ve reached out to GameStop for a comment on this. We’ll update this story with any new information. In addition to Walmart and GameStop, companies like Amazon and Best Buy all accept used games in exchange for store credit.
While the trade-in program starts next week, Walmart won’t begin selling used games until later this year — likely after it builds up an inventory. When a trade-in begins, the stores will examine each game disc to make sure it is operational. The company will then refurbish the discs to sell in a “like new” condition.
“While new releases will remain the focus of our gaming business, we’re glad to give our customers the option to buy preowned games,” Mac Naughton said.
Walmart isn’t new to offering gift cards for old items. The retailer currently accepts tablets and smartphones in exchange for credit at its stores. It also sells those refurbished items on its website. We’ve reached out to the company to ask if this means it will also accept used gaming hardware. We’ll update this post once we have that information.