Remember back when GameStop was just another games store, eking out a living by peddling all types of games from nearly every console?
Remember when the chain was in its infancy stages and sold NES games for $1 each, and allowed you to trade in your old-school SNES for shiny new PlayStation 2 games?
This was back before GameStop became the tremendously exploitative chain it is today, before it dominated and absorbed every local game store, hungrily shoveling in competition, money, and all of your traded in games into its gluttonous, hungry maw. We’re talking about a time before GameStop turned into the Wal-Mart of video games.
Now the games retailer wants to tap into that market again, and has announced that it’s returning to its early retro roots.
Starting April 25, over 250 GameStop locations will begin taking in trade-ins of older consoles like the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast–along with the huge assortment of games for each system.
As per its usual pawn-like scheme, GameStop will sell the consoles and games traded in to consumers, increasing the number of games by an estimated “5,000 titles”.
The company affirms it won’t be selling any broken games or consoles, and guarantees that all products will be shipped off to its “Refurbishment Operations Center” for “inspection, testing and repair”.
GameStop estimates that a 2-month inspection and repairing window will be necessary before the products are ready for store shelves.
When you’re dealing with systems that are upwards of 20 years old it’s easy to see why so much time is needed.
And GameStop most likely won’t take in broken machines as that’d add a considerable workload to the refurb centers, which would effectively be recycling and repairing just about every system it comes across.
While it’s neat to see the retailer return to its original focus and gamers will undoubtedly like the idea of purchasing old nostalgic games, this will likely exterminate all of the local mom and pop game stores for good.
Most local stores make a living by peddling older games, one of the things that GameStop just doesn’t do any more. And now that GameStop has decided to embrace old-school retro games once more, these stores (my local store is called GameForce) will be wiped out.
Plus there’s a major issue on trade-in value.
Some older games are exceedingly rare, and command eBay prices in the hundreds of dollars. Will GameStop adjust its trade-in values based on these established prices, or is the retailer betting on those desperate souls who really want a new PlayStation 4 and will trade in every old console they have to get it?
GameStop isn’t welcome here any more, and honestly, they’re not always welcome in their current space. Retro gamers are staunch defenders of their games and their local game stores, and many see the retailer as a blight that only continues to erode and cannibalize the very soul of gaming.
Hopefully this trend dies out, as I personally don’t want to see mom and pop gaming stores to bite the dust. They’re few and far between, and this new plan could make it so the only game stores around are GameStops, and that frightens me.