Wal-Mart, which took the plunge into the used video game business in March, is leveling up.
The retailer on Tuesday announced the launch of a certified preowned program in 1,700 stores nationwide, finally putting those games it has been offering store credit for over the last seven months back up for sale. It's a move that heightens the growing battle between Wal-Mart and GameStop.
Used games have been the bread and butter for the game specialty retailer. GameStop's profits from the sale of used games are roughly 25 percent higher than what the company earns from new titles, and the used game market generates more than $2 billion a year in sales.
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While the entry of a retailer Wal-Mart's size could prove to be disruptive to GameStop's business, investors have so far shrugged off the threat. GameStop share have increased 17 percent since Wal-Mart announced its entry into the used game field.
"Our goal is to buy used video games for more and ultimately to sell used video games for less," said Laura Phillips, senior vice president of entertainment at Wal-Mart.
Certified preowned games from the retailer will carry an average cost of $12 to $30, says Wal-Mart. (A new title for today's consoles typically costs $60 or more.) The company plans to sell them in a separate section of the store or alongside its value titles. Officials say stores will not put used copies of games alongside new ones, as GameStop does.
Wal-Mart is leveraging the upcoming launch of Activision's "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" to give its entry into used game sales a big initial push. The retailer will let consumers pick up the "Day Zero" version of the game at midnight on Nov. 3, giving them full access to the game for 24 hours before it is officially scheduled to go on sale.