Walmart's Finally Doing a Pre-Owned Game Trade-In Program

Next week, you'll be able to take your old games to Walmart and trade them in. You'll get credit for them—good for buying socks, giant liters of soda or cat food—but you won't be getting cash.

3,100 stores across the U.S. will be kicking off the new trade-in program, Walmart announced in a conference call today. Exec Duncan Mac Naughton said that the focus is "is to pay more games and sell them for less." Representatives said that the range of trade-in value changes with game age—just like at Gamestop and other retail outlets— but anticipate that $35 will be most common price point.

In a Q&A session after the announcement, the topic of giving cash back for games came up. Mac Naughton said that "[customers] would get a credit at Walmart which I would argue is just like cash." The program comes on the heels of a smartphone and tablet trade-in program and will be also handled by CExchange, which implements similar programs at Radio Shack.

The mega-chain will be taking in just games, not hardware, and will be refurbishing the games for sale in stores and online. Walmart says they want a chunk of the $2 billion pre-owned video game "opportunity" but after-market sales of games is something that tends to rankle the publisher who supply store shelves with new-release titles. When asked in that Q&A session how publishers have reacted to their plans, company reps said "they're excited," followed by a friendly directive for journalists to ask them how the publishers in question felt.

Walmart's a huge retailer with ridiculous reach so—while the EAs and the Microsofts of the world may bristle at the idea of their titles getting resold without getting a cut—it's tough to imagine any kind of real pushback.