GameStop is one of the best-known video game retail chains around the world, and its unique business model as a local marketplace for buying and selling pre-owned game consoles, titles and accessories has been a staple of video gaming culture in the 21st century. GameStop was essentially unrivaled as the leader of this particular retail segment until the Wall Street Journal reported in May 2014 that Wal-Mart stores across the United States would begin accepting used video games as well.
The amount of money that GameStop exchanges for used video games depends on the demand for the title and its general condition. The video game world is similar to the passenger automobile market in the sense that the value of newly issued titles tends to depreciate very rapidly. In Sweden, for example, GameStop will take 70 percent off from the listed value of the game when customers trade them for cash. This situation is similar in many of GameStop’s U.S. retail locations, where price listings are constantly updated and customers can expect to get 30 percent of the value when they request cash.
One interesting aspect of GameStop’s business model is that each of its U.S. stores makes an effort to entice customers to exchanged their used games or merchandise for store credit. For customers, this is a 20 percent advantage; for example, if an older version of the popular first-person shooter Call of Duty (COD) listed by GameStop at $30, a customer would get $9 for his or her pre-owned copy. Instead of opting to get cash, the customer could turn that used copy of COD into $15 worth of store credit. In general, the cash exchange rate at GameStop is 20 percent less than store credit.
Gamers who enjoy playing sports titles may be disappointed to learn that their prized copies of NBA2K and other major sports video game franchises such as FIFA and NFL tend to lose their value dramatically. The rule of thumb in this regard is that franchises that put out seasonal or annual versions tend to lose their value quite rapidly. Blockbuster video game series that come out with a new title every few years, such as Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto from Rockstar Games, tend to be more resilient in terms of holding their value.
Would-be traders of used video games may be better off trying to get more cash on their own via private sales; however, this is something that require more work and patience. GameStop transactions are instant and satisfying in the sense that they entice gamers to check out other video game titles in stock.
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Author: Jay White
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