When they first announced this program I was actually looking forward to it a bit, but the comments here as well as the actual policies laid down reminded me, oh yeah- this is Gamestop.
Now, personally, I don’t have the hate-on for them that some seem to. I’ve got one super close, the staff are pretty friendly, not too obnoxious with upsells, and for the most part seem to know their stuff more than I usually expect. (Not to knock their employees on the whole or anything- I imagine working at a game store means you have an interest in them, but working retail outlets I know not every employee knows every item under the roof so I’m kind of pleasantly surprised when I go to buy some of the weeaboo cult garbage I like to play and wind up chatting and trading recommendations for stuff.) But if there’s one thing that does let me down past online testimonials, I do think the trade in system is kind of balls and dabbling into the retro market doesn’t seem like it’s going to bode well. For starters, the pricing model seems oversimplified, particularly for the collector set who are probably the biggest target for the program. Having a box and manual is kind of a big deal to collectors, generally speaking the more complete an item is, the better. So, maybe they want to get more casual, curious types’ attention? Their shops have the market for convenience pretty cornered in my area, either tucked in malls or Wal-Mart adjacent, with the smaller local shops relegated to strip malls and the downtown area. (Maybe not such a problem for some, but I’ve been without wheels a while now.)
I guess ultimately how I feel is that a big part of the scene around old games is based around the community. They’re games we grew up with, have memories attached to, or longed to play for years and years before spotting a copy by chance in a dusty shop or convention booth. It’s a tall order to take that scene, put it into a nationwide chain, and expect it to flourish put alongside the brand new stuff that most Gamestop customers are there to pick up. Best case, it will mean having a convenient and possibly cheap spot to pick up old titles on a whim. Worst case scenario, it may wind up hurting the existing aftermarket trade by absorbing potential stock and eliminating copies from circulation. Taking another bite out of smaller game shops probably wasn’t out of their consideration going in. Gamestop dealing in retro hardware isn’t entirely unprecedented, though, they’ve been offering vintage merch in the PowerUp Rewards shop for a while, so they probably have some kind of stash or supplier already to kick things off from.