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Best Buy moves into the used game market

In an move that surprised many in the industry, Best But yesterday announced that it would begin accepting used video games in exchange for Best Buy gift cards, which can be spent on anything in the store. Other retailers also trade in used games, but until now the activity has largely been confined to custom gaming outlets like GameStop, rather than the big box electronics stores.

The entry of Best Buy into the used game market is significant in a number of ways. First, with close to 600 stores participating in the initial trade-in program, it will revitalize the entire used game market, bringing thousands of additional games into circulation. Secondly, the Best Buy price list is likely to become the standard for the industry. Online prices will match those in the stores, so anyone will be able to determine the market value of their used game with a click of a mouse.

Lastly, Best Buy’s move threatens to bring serious complications to the exploding world of online gaming. Most top-selling games such as Red Dead Redemption, Modern Warfare 2 or the Halo series contain a significant online component. However, developers and publishers are going to be less willing to make the online content available to someone who paid less than full price.

Game publisher THQ’s Cory Ledesma put it bluntly this week: “If used game buyers are upset they don’t get the online feature set I don’t really have much sympathy for them. We hope people understand that when the game’s bought used we get cheated.”

Of course, there is a strong alternative view. Many gamers feel that the price of new games is out of control, with most of the top titles now costing $60. Also, having played through a title that they own, most gamers feel that they should be able to do whatever they like with it.

Whatever the issues, it looks like Best Buy’s program is here to stay. To celebrate the new offering, customers who trade in their games beginning this Sunday, August 29th will receive a $20 Best Buy Gift Card on more than 100 popular titles.

Best Buy didn’t announce a date when gamers will be able to purchase new titles, but we can assume that sales will start as soon as they build up a significant inventory.

What do you think? Is selling used games cheating the publishers or should we have the right to dispose of them as we wish? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom! 

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