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Walmart Now Selling Used Games?

Just a few years ago gamers could only buy and sell used games at Gamestop, and it seemed like nowhere else. They bring in over an amazing $2 billion a year in revenue from used game sales – it’s big business! Recently gamers are finding more and more places that offer this service, including Amazon.com with store-wide trade-in credit, and Best Buy; Toys ‘R Us beginning trial programs. There are also several game swapping sites cropping up, including Switch Games and Goozex, which allow players to trade games (and game systems), sometimes for free.

So now Wal-mart has installed automated used game kiosks in 80 stores, and while they apparently have a few bugs to work out, they could become rather popular. This begs the question – is this better or worse for gamers?

Generally having more choices is a good thing for game buyers. Sites that offer trade-in or buying programs on old games give value back for the purchased game, and when they resell the games they are sometimes at a substantially lower price.

So how could this be a bad thing? Well, game publishers complain that they don’t get a cut of anything but the initial sale, and if this causes problems for them it could theoretically result in less games made for the gamers. It seems unlikely that any of the big boys like Activision or EA will be going out of business due to used game sales cutting into their revenues.

There do not seem to be a lot of negatives to these programs – gamers can get their hands on wanted games at a lower cost. What do you guys think?

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I only use Steam and Gamersgate (and Stardock Impulse on occation), So I’m rather indifferent towards used games sale.

    And I would never sell my games anyways, they’re my babies ;P

  2. or says:

    that’s intersting..
    what would the riaa, video games developers and such would say about it ? is is not a place where piracy can thrive? (im not from the us) but to me it seems like a place you go to copy games and return them , no ? we dont have anything like that.

    when you resale a product, the manufactur doesnt see a dime, i guess they would be very much against it…

    the riaa and there friends can go sit on a metal cone on a steaming day with out vaselin for all i care, but i guess they wont like it.. dont you hear anything about it?

  3. Mark says:

    Isn’t this illegal under the (never read) EULA in games? Not that this seems to matter, just saying…

    Also, never buy second hand pc games. Chances are the serial code has already been registered to a specific user/pc and so can’t be used by someone else (anti-piracy measures).

    Also… I like the smell of new…

  4. daniel says:

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  5. Cleo says:

    I’d be very careful in making sure they have a full refund policy if the game doesn’t work. Gamestop/EB games tests everything they get traded in (or they’re supposed to if they’re not too lazy) but something automated like that makes me nervous.
    I mean, knowing how stingy Walmart is about returns already…

  6. Olb says:

    I’m wondering how this would effect DRM…plus quality control is definitely an issue with any automation.

    Some random things off the top of my head:
    – Registered keys
    – Scratched discs
    – Fake discs
    – Documentation/physical things that might come with the game

  7. brent says:

    hey, nixie-

    totally off-topic, but i was wondering if you ever got X-fire working in ubuntu. i bumped across this thread:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=570627

    lots of good info in it! you may also want to see this thread as well:

    http://www.xfire.com/xf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=47703&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

  8. deadned says:

    you make an excellent point about the game devs not catching any profit from resales of the game. BUT, the same is true for any second hand purchase – cars would be a big example of this.

    What is a crime is how LITTLE gamestop buys the games from me for. Even though its a bigger hassle, its much better if you sell it yourself on ebay. you will get back more of the dough that you shelled out for your game!

  9. neek247 says:

    is this only in the US?

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