In what many are considering a puzzling decision, Gamestop will now accept trade-ins for used iOS devices. If you're unfamiliar with Gamestop, they're one of the most popular video game stores in the country. Their business model is built around the tried-and-true pawn shop ideal. People can trade in their old games for cash, or store credit. They take these trade-ins and then generally sell them at double what they paid for them. Simple and sweet.
Gamestop issued a press release, announcing their plan to give cash/store credit for iOS devices. They've provided generic information and have left out some important details. For instance, will they plan on selling these devices?
Here's a quote from Gamestop president, Tony Bartel, "By trading in iOS devices, GameStop customers have yet another source of funds to put toward the purchase of new and pre-owned games, DLC, digital PC games and more"
One important statement comes from their official iOS trade-in page: "You also release GameStop from any claim for loss or unauthorized access, use or disclosure of any personal or private data or information stored on the iPod, iPhone or iPad."
So be sure to completely empty out your device's memory before taking them in, if you plan on trading anything in.
Looking around on their site, there's no information as of yet if they have plans to sell their purchased devices. Digging a bit further, I gave my local Gamestop a call for further information. Was able to find trade-in values for these devices:
iPod Touch 3rd Generation 32 GB: $100 Store Credit/$80 Cash
iPhone 4 16 GB: $135 Store Credit/ $120 Cash
iPad 2 32 GB Wi-Fi: $300 Store Credit/ $240 Cash
I asked the gentleman if they planned on selling the devices and how much they would be, here's his response (paraphrasing), "Umm, let me ask my manager...He said there are no plans right now, but probably in November"
So take that for what you will. Not that I suspected the store managers to have the information, but you never know what internal memos Gamestop sends to their employees.
To put the figures I listed above in perspective, here's the cheapest (realistic) prices I could find for the devices above in used condition:
iPod Touch 3rd Generation 32 GB: $125 - From a random classified ad in Tennessee
iPhone 4 16 GB: $300 - Another random classified ad, device has cracked screen
iPad 2 32 GB Wi-Fi: $407 - From a site called Electronics Emporium
If Gamestop were to sell at these extremely low prices, they'd still be making a lot of money from every trade-in. Will be interesting to track the price point they actually sell them at, if they get around to it.
Their decision to buy these devices is perplexing, because they've simply been about buying and selling video games and systems. It wasn't too long ago that they offered the same trade-in system for DVDs and Blu-Rays, but they ended up doing away with it, focusing solely on video games. If they don't plan on selling the devices from the outset, then where is the profit coming from? Perhaps they just want to build their stock first, before they actually sell them. Only time will tell.
Gamestop has taken a lot of heat from gamers, who complain that their trade-in values are too low and are simply taking advantage of desperate people. Not only are the game values low, but their system hurts video game developers and publishers. The used market does nothing for the people who actually create these games; the profit is enjoyed by Gamestop only.
It will be interesting to see how the iOS community responds to this news. Would you sell to Gamestop for the trade-in values I posted above? Will there be a response from Apple, who like the developers/publishers will see no returns on their items sold as used?