The Internet broke the other day when GameStop announced they were going to sell retro games and even accept retro games to buy back or use as trade-in credit. Outside of the few tidbits, there really wasn’t many questions answered beyond that. What would happen if you bought Legend of Zelda and the battery didn’t work? What happens if you bought a game, thinking it was a legitimate copy and have it turn out to be a reproduction (or repro)? How are they going to price their games? Fortunately, I was able to get many of these, and more, answered by senior director of pre-owned merchandising, Jon Haes. Here’s what I was able to find out.
RIGGS: This couldn’t have been an overnight decision. How long has something like this been in the works? How long has people been asking for something like this?
HAES: We’ve been discussing it for a while, but working diligently on it for at least the last 4 – 6 months. Customer interest in retro categories has continued to be strong for quite some time. In fact, 20% of the unique searches on GameStop.com are related to retro product categories like Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, etc.
RIGGS: What frame of retro gaming will GameStop accept? Between Nintendo to Playstation 1? Further like Atari 2600 through to Sega Dreamcast?
HAES: We will be taking trade and ultimately making available for resale products from NES, SNES, Genesis, PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast.
RIGGS: In today’s competitive market with other retro gaming stores popping up daily and online sites including ebay, how is GameStop going to base their prices?
HAES: We expect that our trade pricing and our retail pricing will be competitive. For all of our preowned products, pricing is based on supply and demand, so expect to see higher prices on more rare and in demand items and lower pricing on more common titles that are less in demand.
RIGGS: How will warranties be offered for games that are 30 years old. (ie. battery won’t save in The Legend of Zelda)
HAES: All preowned products purchased from GameStop can be returned within 7 days for a full refund with no questions asked. For the first full 30 days, GameStop offers a defect free guarantee. If at any point after the first 7 days through the 30th day after purchase, GameStop will gladly exchange any item where a defect is found for the same item or for store credit if a replacement is not available.
RIGGS: Now that reproduction copies of rare games exist like Little Samson and Hagane, will GameStop employees open every cart to make sure it’s a legitimate copy or is there anything in place for this, yet?
HAES: Stores participating in the test program were provided materials to help them identify illegitimate copies of retro games. After the product is traded, it will be sent to GameStop’s central refurbishing facility in Texas where each item will be thoroughly tested, inspected and repaired (where needed) to ensure that quality product is made available for customers to purchase.
RIGGS: With games sold via online, will there be options to buy games using your reward points?
HAES: The PowerUp Rewards program allows customers to redeem points for $ off coupons. We welcome the use of these coupons from customers wanting to purchase retro products once we have the available for sale, or for any other product that GameStop sells. PowerUp Pro customers will also receive an additional 10% trade value for trading retro games and accessories and they will receive 10% off of the purchase price once we have them available for sale.
RIGGS: Please tell me someone at the corporate level, at least once, mentioned re-opening FuncoLand to cater to just the retro gaming community.
HAES: The Funcoland name has come up several times in conversation as we’ve discussed the retro program. While we wouldn’t brand stores under that name, we recognize the nostalgia tied to the brand for many people (including me) and we’re exploring opportunities around use of the name. That said, branding around the retro business is still to be determined.
I went on to ask if they had ‘Battletoads’. I never received a reply, but I bet chances are likely that it will be in stock.
If you have more questions you’d like me to ask, place your questions in the comments below and the next time I’m able to get a few more moments with Jon Haes I’ll do my best to ask him for you.
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