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Wal-Mart Enters the Used Game Fray 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the publishers-must-be-thrilled dept.
eldavojohn writes "It's a simple model — you buy used games for a third of the price of a new one from patrons. Then you turn around and sell the game for two-thirds the normal price to other patrons that have not yet enjoyed the title. Such has been the model for stores like GameStop. The great part about that business is a recession can sometimes help their market, as gamers look to save a few bucks any way possible. Well, today Wal-Mart launched kiosks in 77 of its stores that vend used video games. Looking like a RedBox DVD kiosk, these automated machines are full of bugs, but spell trouble for businesses like GameStop. This should also pique the interest of used-game opponents and provide a bigger target for them to go after if they get the politicians on their side."
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Wal-Mart Enters the Used Game Fray

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  • Bigger target? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @01:04AM (#28007383)

    This should also pique the interest of used-game opponents and provide a bigger target for them to go after if they get the politicians on their side."

    I have the feeling that even the likes of Blizzard or Electronic Arts would think twice about giving Wal-Mart a hard time.

    • Re:Bigger target? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Supurcell (834022) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @04:58AM (#28008821)
      Blizzard, almost exclusively, makes computer games that have CD keys which make them nearly impossible to resell. Once someone registers their game, especially with their new battle.net system, no one else can use that key.
      • Blizzard, almost exclusively, makes computer games that have CD keys which make them nearly impossible to resell. Once someone registers their game, especially with their new battle.net system, no one else can use that key.

        One of many reasons I don't buy into anything Blizzard is selling.

        • Virtually all products are on their way towards being designed to be impossible to resell. Including automobiles-- and even now, after a few years the computers or batteries or some critical custom part becomes unavailable, and the plastic and rubber breaks down. Why would the car companies want to have to compete with their old models for your business? Of course, it's short sighted-- as the very reason I choose a car is often because I know the old models are still servicable. But businesses are short
        • One of many reasons I don't buy into anything Blizzard is selling.

          I hate to break this to you, but almost all PC software has a CD-key or something similar. Your statement makes no sense.

          If you say that you don't buy Blizzard because of their CD-keys, then you basically should just admit that you either don't buy PC-games, pirate the games, or only play demos, because there are very few companies that don't use some sort of protection like that.

          Sounds like you just hate Blizzard.

      • Does walmart know this....most EBGames geeks might...but the regular counter clerk at Walmart is far from a geek.. unless they force someone to review purchases before they happen...they might get stuck with people selling their wow accounts for more then they r worth.

        • by brkello (642429)
          Are you joking? You think any used store actually makes the employees make decisions? They have a list of all the games and prices they will offer for a game.

          And as an aside, this isn't text messaging. You can actually spell out "are". Considering you spelled everything else out, I assume you can do that word too.
          • Are you telling me you think this business model works at the upper most level?
            Who do you think accepts the used games, the President? Seriously, before coming down
            on someone who has been gaming for years and is a valued member at EBGames which was for the most part the foremost successful store to purchase used games from people, still had a business model
            where the person accepting the used game had to review if there were any scratches or was a cdkey licensed game only.

            Being the avid text messaging geek I

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by db32 (862117)
      Exactly my thought. Give them a bigger target? WTF? I just know oodles of politicians that are willing to go against a company that is so entrenched in nearly every city to earn the favor of MUCH smaller video game industry. You know...that industry that those politicians just love to kick around with their violent video game stuff... I think the *ONLY* argument that could work is "See! Walmart is making it easier for kids to get our Blood n Guts School Shooter Deluxe XVI!".

      A ~$7-10 billion/yr indust
  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The_mad_linguist (1019680) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @01:05AM (#28007393)

    Excellent. With Walmart now financially committed to reducing the amount of DRM that would interfere in resale, the amount of anti-DRM political lobbying money should increase dramatically.

    • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Aranykai (1053846) <slgonser@NOspAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @01:21AM (#28007515)

      Except its only for consoles, which means the DRM wont be an issue. The summary should specify that it is console only, but it doesn't.

      • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @02:05AM (#28007795)

        Except its only for consoles, which means the DRM wont be an issue.

        There's been some rumblings from console devs that they're wanting to put DRM on it to prevent used sales. Seems they're convinced that somehow, because they only profit once, that's unfair if the game trades hands again. You know, just like how car manufacturers couldn't survive if people bought used cars.

        ... I guess now is not the best time to make that sarcastic comment, but before anyone says anything to that end, I think we can agree that the big problem for the american auto industry is not used car sales.

        • Re:Excellent (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kuroji (990107) <kuroji@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @02:39AM (#28007999)

          Yes, but that's not the RIAA's problem either. Their lawyers just claim it is.

          However, if GM were to cry foul on used car sales, everyone and their mother would jump on them.

          • However, if GM were to cry foul on used car sales, everyone and their mother would jump on them.

            Where've you been? It's already happened. I just tried to resell my mom's 10 year old Chevy Lumina, and the rubber gaskets in the engine were made out of such cheap materials, the intake manifold gasket is now shot and they tell me the head gasket will be next in short order. It's worthless, even though it has less than 40K miles on it. Was it intentional by GM or incompetence? Either way, the car is more

        • There's been some rumblings from console devs that they're wanting to put DRM on it to prevent used sales. Seems they're convinced that somehow, because they only profit once, that's unfair if the game trades hands again. You know, just like how car manufacturers couldn't survive if people bought used cars.

          I'm surprised that nobody at GM has yet thought to blame used cars sales for their recent debacle. Or why Freddie and Fannie didn't blame realters for their near-collapse. [sarcasm] Because nothing destroys a business like the selling of used goods! [/sarcasm]

        • ... I guess now is not the best time to make that sarcastic comment, but before anyone says anything to that end, I think we can agree that the big problem for the american auto industry is not used car sales.

          So you say... but it's pretty hard to deny that using DRM to lock down an engine when the car is resold would be a *very* effective way for the car companies to increase new car sales volume -- or at least service revenue, for the $299 "pre-owned authentication fee" that would be marketed as a way of e

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          There's been some rumblings from console devs that they're wanting to put DRM on it to prevent used sales. Seems they're convinced that somehow, because they only profit once, that's unfair if the game trades hands again. You know, just like how car manufacturers couldn't survive if people bought used cars. ... I guess now is not the best time to make that sarcastic comment, but before anyone says anything to that end, I think we can agree that the big problem for the american auto industry is not used car

      • by geekoid (135745)

        These days a console is just a PC with pretty DRM.

  • by landaishan (1537821)
    i would never want someone else to have my serials especially if its an online game, making the second hand purchase useless
  • by NuKeLiTe (418)

    Good news for DRM lovers like Electronic Arts! Eat that!

    It's our right to do whatever we want with our purchased games, included but not limited to, sell them to others when we finished playing.

    • Games will continue moving towards a service model with micro-payments that is far more locked down. MMOs, Steam, XBox Live, show the success of removing the physical media and binding games to hosted accounts.
      In this model it's more difficult to resell a game, since game access is provided as a service of your account. Moreover, the companies can restrict reuse by offering access to certain content only via their servers.
  • Thanks, Wal-Mart! (Score:3, Informative)

    by whiledo (1515553) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @01:25AM (#28007547)

    If you agree that GameStop is bad for gaming, then this isn't really worse. I don't think Wal-Mart doing it is going to increase the overall trade in used games. If you don't agree that GameStop is bad for gaming, then you don't care about this move anyway.

    As such, I'm actually quite happy to hear the news simply because I hope they kick GameStop's ass. I don't buy games from them, but I've read enough of the Penny Arcade to completely [penny-arcade.com] loathe [penny-arcade.com] them [penny-arcade.com] . [penny-arcade.com]

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by elashish14 (1302231)
      I, too, enjoy forming an extremely strong opinion about some person/company from entirely one source. Above all, from a webcomic with no references and no legitimate claim against the group in question. Besides, this is Wal-Mart - I was brought up being taught that they're well, not the best guys around... dunno whether I really believe it though, nor do I care as I never shop there.
      • Above all, from a webcomic with no references and no legitimate claim against the group in question.

        It isn't a good source for forming opinions, except when we're talking about something as trivial as corporate loyalty (which we are). Also, no legitimate claim? Their criticisms, while not as well referenced as a wikipedia page, are legitimate. Gamestop DOES DO THOSE THINGS. And they are annoying.

        • by drsquare (530038)

          What's annoying about buying and selling second hand games?

          • The foul smelling mouth breather behind the counter.
          • Not that one, I was talking about their policy of "try to punish customers into reserving by not doing a good job of guessing how many copies we need to stock up on and yelling at them in the store." Seriously, gamestop needs to hire a guy to decide how many copies to buy. Games they think will sell great, they buy in extreme excess. Almost every store has dozens of copies of unsold maddens from years past, marked at around $5. On the other hand, games they don't think will be as popular, they get exact

      • by whiledo (1515553) *

        You apparently also enjoy posting uninformed mini-rants. Do you even read Penny Arcade? If you do, you know that every day they post a news post with lots of links. Over the years, they've posted links to plenty of stories of verifiable shenanigans by GameStop/EBgames. Typically they just show up on PA a few days before the other sites I read.

        Wal-Mart is evil, no doubt. But it's kind of a faceless evil. GameStop is evil with the face of a douchebag. So yeah, I'm going to have to root for Wal-Mart on

    • by mochan_s (536939) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @02:00AM (#28007755)

      As such, I'm actually quite happy to hear the news simply because I hope they kick GameStop's ass. I don't buy games from them, but I've read enough of the Penny Arcade to completely [penny-arcade.com] loathe [penny-arcade.com] them [penny-arcade.com] . [penny-arcade.com]

      And I have read enough of your post to loathe them too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      Game stop is bad for used gaming. I wont buy anything at Gamestop or Eb games. They anally rape everyone on their used game prices.

      Every used game I buy is on Amazon.com as I can get it , including shipping for at least 35% less than gamestop is selling it at. Most of the time it's 50% less than gamestop's lowest price.

      It's ridiculous, If I bring them a like new game they give me maybe 5 bucks and then they slap a sticker on it and ask $48.90 for it. I sell it for $30.00 on Amazon.com I'll have it sol

  • New used games suck they are used and not much of a savings in dollars. The only good thing about this is if WalMart sells lots of horrible games that suck so much you can't give them away. At least you have a way of disposing of them and recouping a few pennies.
    Having a place to buy older games like PS1 or SuperNES games is valuable to the gaming community. Places that sell games you can't buy anymore! Our local video store sells these games for $2-$5. Sometimes they are scratched but you don't feel rippe
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BenoitRen (998927)

      Many older games from the 8-bit and 16-bit era are actually quite difficult. Try the first Mega Man on the NES, for example. Or Shinobi for the Sega Master System.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geminidomino (614729) *

      Except the older games are incredibly easy and you end up feeling stupid for taking two weeks to wrap it the first time.

      Do it without save states, and writhe in the eternal fire that is "Nintendo Hard!"

  • I guess they had to get in while they still could, but with digital distribution being the future whats the point in conquering a business model that has possibly peaked? Then again it is only costing them kiosk space and electricity, I'm sure RedBox is paying for much of the hardware. Still, it sounds like Wally World is getting a little slow or at least complacent given that they have conquered much of the US.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      I don't see (official) online distribution pushing out hard copies for awhile yet, and that goes double for consoles (which is what this story is about).

      The primary item is the available connectivity and the sheer size of modern games. For example, I'll take fallout 3, disc size, 5.52GB. Taking a standard fare 768kbps connection, that's about 16 hours. Compared to 1 hour (or less) for me to drive to town, buy the game, and come home. And don't forget that 5.52GB comes out of the ever so trendy transfer

      • by tepples (727027)

        I don't see (official) online distribution pushing out hard copies for awhile yet, and that goes double for consoles (which is what this story is about).

        I see WiiWare and Xbox Live Arcade. Or are you talking about the respective 40 and 250 MB limits of those offerings?

        • by compro01 (777531)

          Exactly. Neither of those is the main method of getting games, and additionally, they're not trying to be. They're simply a way of getting smaller simpler games, but not the big A-list titles.

  • by bugi (8479)

    Does this mean wal-mart will start carrying games that aren't hunting simulations? Deer Hunter, Deer Hunter 2, Deer Hunter 3 is about their entire stock of PC games.

    I exaggerate, but not by much. What's up with the poor selection?

  • Ok, just think for a minute people. How convenient is it to go to a GameStop? They're usually in malls, or sometimes in small shopping centers. Those are two places you only go to when you need to buy crap you don't really need.

    Now with Walmart, they already have an entire store full of everything you could find at a strip mall but cheaper, plus groceries.

    So this means there's a lot of people that go there on a weekly basis. Not just any people, but people that can't afford the rip offs at the mall. Th

  • The great part about that business is a recession can sometimes help their market, as gamers look to save a few bucks any way possible.

    I'm always looking to save some bucks, as the money I can spend on games each year is limited due to the lack of a job. However, I don't do it by buying used games. I wait for the price to go down, and for promotions.

    Ever since I got a Wii, and am planning to buy a DS Lite, I've been buying lots of games at half the price or even less as older games for those systems I have

  • With Steam infesting every game that comes out nowadays forcing you to tie a game to an account and forcing you to activate online for the sole purpose of killing the second hand market off I'm guessing this'll be a fairly short lived venture for PC games at least.

    Still it's not a bad idea for the console market and I guess that's where most money is now in this anyway?

    • With Steam infesting every game that comes out nowadays forcing you to tie a game to an account and forcing you to activate online for the sole purpose of killing the second hand market...

      Yeah because the $50 Half-Life PC game CDs I bought when it was new has such a high resale value...
      http://store.steampowered.com/app/70/ [steampowered.com]

      You can always try to get the non-Steam version too if Valve isn't the original publisher. I always check the title-specific forums on steampowered.com and look for people complaining about bad patches or poor 3rd party + Valve support. Some games don't work well Steam, easiest to just stay away from those.

      With PC games, the prices fall too fast with many titles

    • No problem here. If you plan to resell the game, make another steam account just for this game and go for it. You could even easily sell it on EBay, all you have to do is transfer the account data to the buyer, he can download it from Steam, no need to send the media.

      • by Xest (935314)

        I guess it depends how many games you have, but having one e-mail address per game is a bit over the top, people really shouldn't have to deal with that.

        Also, afaik, as part of the EULA you're not allowed to sell on or allow accounts to change hands, so Valve can also easily get eBay to pull such auctions, it also prevents you selling to places like Walmart etc. because they wont deal with this sort of thing.

        • EULAs ain't worth the electrons used to display them, at least where I live. Next case.

          • by Xest (935314)

            Yes, unfortunately so far eBay would disagree with you, hence why they no longer allow auctions of virtual gold and so forth meaning regardless of what you feel about EULAs, eBay will still pull auctions on request for that sort of thing and Walmart etc. will still refuse to deal with electronic accounts and keeping an e-mail address per game is still a ball ache.

  • by tiggertaebo (1480739) on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @04:23AM (#28008645)

    IMHO game publishers are coming at this from the wrong angle - they should be looking at the second hand market as an opportunity rather than a threat. Over the last year or two there has been a growing trend for games to have paid-for DLC (see Guitar Hero/Rock Band as prime examples). Since this content doesn't get resold when the game does the new owner may well then re-buy the DLC.

    So although yes they might miss out on the profit from the original game sale (assuming that the person who bought it second hand would otherwise have bought a new copy) they ARE still making money.

    Also don't forget trade ins - many console owners I know (myself included) will trade old games for money off new ones, often allowing us to buy more NEW games then we would have done otherwise. Why not embrace this? Publishers could offer incentives if people trade in one their older games for a sequel, or a direct competitor to their game - say trading in Guitar Hero for Rock Band etc.

    When the music market changed under them (i.e. the internet) the industry tried to fight the change rather than embracing it as a new opportunity, that didn't work out too well did it?

    • Also don't forget trade ins - many console owners I know (myself included) will trade old games for money off new ones, often allowing us to buy more NEW games then we would have done otherwise. Why not embrace this?

      I'm not taking any side here, but I think the way they'd look at it is as follows. Some person goes and spends $40 buying a used game. In exchange, the store skims off $20 and passes the other $20 to you so that you have an additional $20 to invest in the new games market. However, if the used market didn't exist, presumably that person would only buy games 2/3 as often (as he'd have to spend $60 each time instead of $40) but it would be invested in the new games market. Granted you'd also only buy your new

  • This post [arstechnica.com] has a response to the reported bug issues as well as some further information about how the trade-in process works.

  • You make games that are very replayable and epic.. Then people won't trade them in. I haven't traded in ANY of my GTA series or Fallout 1 & 2, Nor have I traded in Battlefield 2 or Company of heroes or Men of War..

    If a game is too easy to complete and only fun on the 1st play through of course I am going to trade it in once I have completed it, there is no incentive to keep it.

    Don't release DLC (Downloadable Crap) that I have to pay for instead release expansions.

    Another point is don't charge s
  • What make this used games sound so immoral is the tremendous profit made by the used game resellers.

    Their margin isn't related to the added value of their service, but with the value of the game in a new condition.

    They are effectively stealing the game industry.

  • Due to ludicrous Florida laws, all new used media stores are to be treated as pawn shops. In other words, you have to fill out paperwork and, I believe, give a thumb print to be able to trade in a videogame...

    • Don't be so negative. This could be the first step in undoing that idiocy. After all, we know how much Tallahassee just luuuuuurvs WalMart

  • Two Thirds? Really? (Score:4, Informative)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday May 19, 2009 @08:13AM (#28009929) Journal

    Two thirds of the price? In what gamestop? If you're lucky, you'll get a whole $10 off of the game is still retailing at release price.

    Otherwise, you're getting $5 off retail until the game is so old its out of print and everyone who wants it has it so they're overloaded, when you can get it for $2.99... Yay Jak and Daxter!

  • Trade your games directly on craigslist. It works everytime for me. You don't lose 70 percent of the value by trading it in and you can just keep the cycle going...
  • Walmart has pushed its suppliers year after year to reduce their prices, and they have done so.

    They have done so by making a cheaper and cheaper product. Walmart is now a place where you go buy disposable Chinese junk. They pushed too far.

    Thus it's no surprise to me that they are entering the flea-market business.

  • Using DRM to prevent resale of games is a dangerous path for publishers that could lead to a judgment of copyright misuse, which leaves you with no copyright.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

    The doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e., sell or give away) a particular lawfully made copy of the copyrighted work without permission once it has been obtained. This means that the copyright holder's rights to control the change of ownership of a particular copy end once that copy is sold, a

  • Money for trades is charged back to the trader's credit card up to three days after the transaction.

    DarkSaber
    Up to 3 days later? The hell with that, if I'm handing over my game in store, the store can damn well give me my credit/money there and then.

    DC191
    It seems like a perfectly reasonable measure to prevent fraud. The kiosks are completely automated so there is no way to immediately verify what you actually give the machine.

    Yeah, it's not like the disks are digital media that can be read electronically and compared against a known digital signature for the title.

    (GamePolitics' registration captcha won't display in my browser or I'd be posting my response there. Is it a Flash-based captcha?)

  • Here's some ways it could be improved, though: the system only takes discs, and tests them when they're fed in. If they don't pass, it spits out the disc and tells you to go fuck yourself. The machines are on the internet, and you can find out in realtime the closest location with the game you want, what games are inside your closest kiosk, et cetera. Finally, put one in my neighborhood. We have no gamestop.

  • Do you buy and or sell used games?

    - I buy used but never trade in my old games

    - I trade in my old games but only buy new games.

    - I trade in used games and purchase used games

    - I never trade in old games and only purchase new games.

    - Donde esta la vacca?

    Id be curious to see what the final statistics look like.

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