Best Buy is rolling out its online used game trade in to retail.
Best Buy is rolling out its online used game trade in to retail.

AUG. 26, 2010 • Despite game publishers intent on discouraging purchasers of used titles by charging for DLC, Best Buy Stores took its online game trade-in program to 600 retail locations. The retailer will roll the program to the remaining 489 stores by October. In related news, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the First Sale Doctrine that permits legitimate owners of copies of copyrighted works to resell those copies is unavailable to those who are only licensed to use their copies of copyrighted works. If the decision stands, by extension, games that are licensed copies may not be resold later.

Impact: The used games business, currently dominated in the U.S. by GameStop, has been a lucrative component of the industry for years. Other major retailers have made efforts to get into used games but have not had much success.  In 2005, Best Buy started a used game test program but it never went out on a large scale.  Another test program started in 2009 to use kiosks from e-Play.  These kiosks were removed from both Best Buy and Wal-mart earlier this year.  It now appears that Best Buy is going forward with a plan to offer trade-ins for Best Buy gift cards. Overall we think that the potential threat Best Buy and other retailers pose to GameStop’s used business is limited.  The First Sales Doctrine, if upheld and enforced around used games, could be a much more serious threat to GameStop that retail games publishers would generally welcome.