On Monday the gaming press, including GamePolitics, was abuzz with news that Wal-Mart had apparently entered the used game business in direct competition with category leader GameStop.
However, Ars Technica's Ben Kuchera dug deeper into the story and reports that the game trade machines currently located at dozens of Wal-Marts in the Northeast actually belong to Ohio-based e-Play. Although it's not stated, one would assume there is some type of financial arrangement between the companies. e-Play CEO Alan Rudy told Ars Techica:
Walmart is providing vestibule space to e-Play at 77 of its Northeast region stores. Some stores have Video Game Buy Back only kiosks and some kiosks are full-functioning, but e-Play manages all aspects of kiosk operations for both types. While we have over 200 other retail locations, this is currently a pilot program with Walmart, but we are optimistic of its success and future expansion.
Rudy believes e-Play is well-positioned against newcomer to the used game trade, Amazon.com:
The e-Play trade method does not involve printing shipping labels or waiting on snail mail to deliver your games or to return your Amazon gift card. Soon, e-Play will also post their buy-back pricing online so customers can preview this information before going to a kiosk.
Check out the Ars piece for some fascinating details on how e-Play machines keep traders honest.