For the Ranters that prefer to save a few bucks and purchase their video games used, it looks like another major retailing chain is going to be joining the ranks of brick and mortar stores that seriously offer pre-owned product. According to Colin Sebastian, an analyst at the Lazard Capital Market group, Walmart is going to get serious about making used games available in stores as an option for their customers.
GameStop undoubtedly comes to mind first when thinking about where to get used games, but other well known retail chains have been dipping their feet in the used market for a while now. Toys 'R Us, Target, and Best Buy are all experimenting, and Walmart is eager to get a piece of the pie. Mr. Sebastian spoke with Industry Gamers about the iconic department store's interest in the used market:
"According to our industry checks, Wal Mart recently began in-store sales of pre-owned video games, we estimate in 500+ stores across the U.S. – joining big box competitors such as BBY, TGT, and TRU. We believe that selling used games is a natural extension of retail game sales, and is clearly popular with consumers. We expect sales at Wal-Mart to focus on the deep-value end of the market (e.g., games under $20 ASP), which suggests there could be less overlap with GameStop, and ultimately expand the market for used games."
Back in February, the method of offering used games in kiosks was put to a halt in big box retailers. Colin continues, explaining that while Walmart will be focusing on used games, they don't want to directly compete with GameStop, at least for now.
"We believe that the barriers to establishing a robust and profitable used video game business are fairly high, including dedicated systems to track and manage used inventory and pricing, the ability to refurbish products and restock stores to balance supply, and compliance with numerous municipal codes. While some third-party distributors may have these core competencies, we note that they will not be as tightly integrated as GameStop’s network of thousands of stores.”
There's been quite a fabled argument amongst those in the industry and gamers alike about the importance of used games and the effect the sales have. Some believe it hurts the publisher as they aren't seeing profit from used game sales, and others simply believe sales of used games have no effect on the publishers whatsoever. Only time will tell who's wrong and who's right, but one thing is for certain: if the barrier of entry to play games is lowered, then more people are playing more games - and that's a good thing. This hobby is too fun to not share with friends and family.
Do you agree, Ranters? Do you buy a lot of used games, or do you buy new? Will Walmart find success in their latest effort? Sound off in comments section, you know you want to.
Source: Industry Gamers