Ever the source of ridicule and the butt of many an internet joke, the GameStop trade-in program is notorious for allegedly not giving enough in return for the games we trade in every day. It seems the company has heard our laments, as they've reportedly overhauling the trade-in system throughout the company, promising to give more money for trade-ins.
Basically, they've been listening to some hippies.
Kotaku reports that the new initiative begins Aug. 18 and is essentially a complete simplification of the trade process. No longer will the company offer higher percentage trades at certain times, nor will they link higher percentages to particular game pre-orders. Now each game will earn a flat rate, affected only by if the customer has a Power-Up Rewards Card or if they want cash or credit. Initially the idea of cutting our trade promotions sounds bad, but as a result every game will receive an increase in value of "about 20 percent," which doesn't say much for your old copy of Madden 06 on the 360 but might entice you to trade in new games faster.
"By eliminating the higher end price of products we buy and raising the lower end, we are able to raise the overall value the customers will receive," according to a internal GameStop company document. "With this program, we will not have complex multi-tiered trade promotions for the associates to remember and less math for the customer to understand what they are getting for their games."
This all sounds peachy, and considering the way GameStop's business model has been going recently the change seems overdue, but we can't help but feel that the wool is being pulled over our eyes a bit here. The 20 percent increase across the board sounds great, but think about this:
GameStop says their new average trade-in value will be $11, right? So with this initiative a $20 game now becomes $24 on Aug.18. However, if you traded that game in toward whatever the Power Trade games are right now, a promotion that will discontinue in two weeks, that $20 would turn into $26. Yes it's only two dollars in extra credit, but when you take those two dollars and multiply them by the hundreds of thousands of games that come across the company's desk every day, the company is giving out a lot less credit than they used to. While we agree that simplification is a good idea, we're not sure we want to give up all of the promotions, as some of them actually worked out.
We'll find out for sure if the power will actually be with the players when the new initiative starts in a few weeks.