Is Wal-Mart Going After GameStop

I think I’ve stepped into a Wal-Mart maybe once in my life, and I doubt I’m missing that much. I can’t vouch for their gaming selection, but there are now reports that Wal-Mart could be getting into the used game business, and this could really end up hurting Game Stop.

At this point, there have been reports that even with gaming doing pretty well, Game Stop could eventually go out of business because the future could be moving to gamers streaming their favorite titles, and now Forbes tells us that Walmart has rebooted its game trade in program. As Forbes reports, this is “a move that positions the retailer to take a huge bite out of GameStop’s core business strategy.” 

And indeed, once this news hit, GameStop’s shares went down 6%. Wal-Mart is letting people trade in their games for gift cards, and we bet this could cause trouble if the market is indeed moving away from physical game cartridges. (GameStop also does a lot of business in pre-owned games themselves.)

An executive at Wal-Mart told Forbes that the company is “actively taking aim at the $2 billion pre-owned video game opportunity. When we disrupt markets and compete, our customer wins. They’ll save money on video games and have the flexibility to spend it on however they want.” 

Wal-Mart apparently did this before as well back in 2009, but it didn’t work. Can trading in video games for gift cards truly take a bite out of the gaming biz? Stay tuned…