Wal-Mart has teamed up with kiosk company e-Play to test automated video game trade-in kiosks in several store locations throughout the Northeastern United States.
The machines, currently being tested in 77 Wal-Mart locations in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, should be relatively simple to use. You scan the bar code on the game box in order to receive a quote. Once you accept the quote, you insert the game discs, which I am assuming are checked for damage before being accepted. Then things get a bit cloudy.
While the Video Game Buy Back kiosk shown in this photo has a Wal-Mart sign that says "Trade in Games for Credit", it doesn't seem to mean Wal-Mart store credit. According to an e-Play representative, the machines only support charging the trade-in value back to a credit card, which takes 2-3 days, according to the instructions on the company's website.
We also asked e-Play who sets the trade-in prices for the games, and are awaiting a call back with that information, as the representative we spoke with did not know.
NeoCrisis had a chance to try out one of the machines this weekend, only to find that most of their games wouldn't scan and the one that did (Mirror's Edge) wasn't in the kiosk's database.
Not exactly a GameStop killer of a trade-in program, really. With no immediate payout, I can't see these kiosks taking any substantial amount of trade-in business from the video game retailer any time soon.
UPDATE: e-Play has confirmed that they themselves set the trade-in prices based on a proprietary algorithm that can change as regularly as daily based on a number of different factors. They also verified that trade-in credit can only be applied to a credit card or debit card at this time, so no Wal-Mart store credit is changing hands.
Also, a representative from Wal-Mart contacted us to let us know that if the pilot program is successful, the company would consider working with e-Play to provide actual Wal-Mart credit instead of a charge back.