It's unclear why it's taken Best Buy nearly four years to inch its toe deeper into the lucrative
used games market, but an unstable economy has a way of nudging business toward untapped reservoirs of cash
. In September 2005, the big box retailer reportedly
launched -- and apparently shelved -- a modest trial to buy back and resell used games. This week, Best Buy is rekindling the effort by installing trade-in kiosks in several of its Dallas and Austin locations, blogs
CMO Barry Judge.
Judge explains that the kiosks scan inserted games for "functionality," and then issue vouchers that are "instantly redeemable" for Best Buy gift cards, which can be spent on any item in the store. In addition, some of the kiosks will double as rental stations for games and
movies, and participating stores will also resell used games (presumably those dumped into the kiosks).
Best Buy's new initiative follows similar actions taken by Toys R Us
earlier this year, and as predicted
by Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian. Sebastian continues to view the surge of business ventures into the used games market as an expansion of GameStop's existing foothold (though GameStop shares briefly tumbled today after the Best Buy news, as reported
by WSJ) and argues to Gamasutra
that software and hardware companies aren't necessarily being fleeced by the practice. "While many video game software publishers and console manufacturers view the used exchanges as cannibalizing sales, we note that consumers use a large portion of trade-in credit to purchase new products."
[Image credit: kylemac