By Jared Newman | Monday, May 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm
If you need to unload some old video games and don’t care to interact with GameStop employees, consider machines as an alternative.
Wal-Mart is testing standalone buy back kiosks at 77 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, Video Business reports. The kiosks will scan the bar codes of used games and separately swallow the disc and casing in exchange for money transferred to a credit card.
The kiosks will also rent video games and DVDs, but the DVD rental function will be switched off in stores that already have a Redbox kiosk. Games and DVDs will cost $1 per night, and Blu-ray rentals will costs $2 for the first night and $1 per night after that.
As with GameStop and, more recently Amazon, the buy back price is a point of discontent. Wal-Mart’s kiosks will spit out the usual range of offers, from $25 for high-demand games to 50 cents for undesirables. Generally, you can expect used games at those trade-in prices to sell back for double. I’m surprised none of the competition wants to tinker with that formula and see how it affects market share.
It’s not clear what will happen to the used games. Instead of operating the kiosks directly, Wal-Mart is leasing space in the vestibule area, just outside the stores themselves, to a company called E-Play. That company has a “couple different methods” for resale, marketing VP and business development executive Kristen Fox told Gamasutra, but declined to be more specific.
Meanwhile, a writer for Neocrisis has already spotted one of the kiosks (seen above). It lacks Wal-Mart branding, except for the slogan “Save Money. Live Better.” Notably, Neocrisis reported some serious bugs in these early boxes. Most of the games offered didn’t scan, and the only one that did — the fairly high profile Mirror’s Edge — wasn’t in the kiosk’s database. The writer walked away without trading anything.
Maybe humans have some merit after all.