Gamestation launches pre-owned reward scheme

Elite card encourages customers to trade-in quickly and often for financial reward and other incentives

Gamestation has launched a reward scheme, called the Elite card, that will offer XP to customers based on trade-ins and purchases.

The scheme will also feature accolades - similar to achievements in concept - that will award bonus XP to customers hitting certain targets, primarily focusing on the trade-in of games to support the company's pre-owned business.

The XP is worth 2.5 per cent in real cash terms - so 1000 points is equivalent to £2.50 - and points can then be spent in-store or, from October 27, on the Gamestation website as well.

There are currently 20 accolades available at launch - which when awarded will trigger an email of congratulation - including the following:

  • Soldier of Fortune – 250 XP earned for buying your first pre-owned item
  • Get Your Wings – 500 XP earned by performing your first trade-in
  • Lightning Speed – 2000 XP earned by trading in 10 games within 14 days of launch
  • Bolt Speed – 4000 XP earned by trading in 25 games within 14 days of launch

Head of UK PR Neil Ashurst told that it was crucial that the proper time had been spent on creating the concept of the Elite card.

"It's hugely important, for two reasons," he explained. "Firstly, Gamestation customers have been asking us to create a reward card for several years, so we've spent time making sure that it's right for Gamestation and for the customers - and it rewards their specific behaviour.

"Obviously there are competitors out there, and we wanted to make sure that the Elite card was the best it could be - it has to be about the customers and fit it with what they want."

And top of that customer behaviour chart was the ability to trade-in old games and buy other pre-owned titles.

"Really trade-in is central to the whole programme - you get 2.5 per cent back in terms of points for trade-ins, and then there are the accolades as well," he went on. "We want to encourage that behaviour, and make sure there's that element that enables us to stand out from everybody else trying to get in on the act."

The retailer's move follows the news that more and more stores are offering pre-owned schemes, and more accolades will be added to the Elite card line-up over time.

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Latest comments (17)

Very interesting approach. One would have assumed that being part of the GAME network, the reward card would be similar in operation to theirs, but to do something different delies the difference in operating model, or maybe that they are more interested in trying out new ideas with the GameStation brand.

Be great to have a follow-up article in a few months.
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Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 7 years ago
It surprises me that companies like Gamestation have taken this long to ramp up their incentivisation/gamification schemes. I'm sure it'll work out well for them provided they make the data and meaningful (an email of congratulations is not enough).

How about giving people a physical pin badge for every accolade they earn? I think that could really engage the consumer base. Rewarding trade-ins with something tangible could remove the mental barrier that some consumers face when considering giving up their possessions for intangible value.

Just a thought.
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Mike Kebby Marketing Manager, Green Man Gaming7 years ago
Looks like these guys were reading Ctrl-Alt-Delete a few months ago -

[link url=

Great that business ideas can come straight from the pages of a webcomic :)
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Show all comments (17)
Robin Clarke Producer, Zattikka Ltd.7 years ago
Leaving aside how openly hostile this programme is to publishers and what poor value it represents to customers, who do they think will actually go through the rigmarole of trading in 25 full-price games they've barely touched for an incentive worth £10?
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
Hmmm; I'm inclined to agree with Robin's comments - this isn't good value at all, and for most people it would be much better value selling their games on through Play or Amazon (or eBay, although I've no idea what their charges are like any more). Although I know a lot of people who buy a game new, complete it then trade it in to fund the next big release (obviously not all get traded in), so for those I guess a scheme like this makes sense, provided Gamestation's trade-in prices are competitive.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up7 years ago
In my own personal opinion.......

Im glad to see more retailers chasing the same dollar, and seeing the profit margin getting driven downwards within the used market. The more companies that get involved, the lower the profit margin on used games across the board, making it a much less significant part of their individual profit plans. The best outcome of a bad situation for all game developers, whos careers depend on sales. Might eventually change some attitudes to the practice, all be it a bit late in the day.
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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College7 years ago
An interesting approach to a common idea!

Im sure the folk who seek the Lightning Speed & Bolt Speed 'achievements' are exactly the types that Gamestation need to attract to keep their business afloat in the coming years. Whether they will do it consciously or not is another matter
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Grant Smythe Editor in Chief / Owner 7 years ago
The only person loosing out here is the consumer (aside from the publisher of course) They are aiming squarely at the i-Gen gamer who rarely if ever keeps a real-world item such as a game disc, and relies on trading the games in s soon as they are finished, if finished, and usually within days of purchase, if not hours.

These gamers usually are younger, have money coming from other means other than work (hi mum, dad) and are big business in the market place at the moment. 60% of sales through the retail giants are to parents, primarily Mums, and those gamers care very little in regards to value for money, simply turnover of goods in exchange for more, and more money changes hands at a faster rate.

You get bugger-all for t=your trade-in, you get lousy rewards points, the number of games required to get a full retail priced came is huge, which means a higher turnover of incoming trade-in games, which means higher turn over to the customer, and 10 x times more profit for the retail chain, and far less in the pocket of the actual gamer.

The ppl that run the stores like GameStation, EB Game, GAME etc are not gamers but simply marketing, PR and sales executives, allbeit young ones, and the only thing they have on their mind is making their paycheck at the end of the week/month and their bonuses for sales figures. Certainly not giving the gamer good value for money spent.

Publishers are struggling as it is, and if retailers are going to push customers to NOT keep games, thus not keep the gamers online with the MP side of things and see longer use from the game, and high retention rate of single-player re-use of games, then they will start jacking up prices, not lowering them.

They get one slice of the retail pie, the retailer gets 20 slices of a 10 slice cake. This simply would not happen in DVD sales businesses, so why need it happen with games . . . because they can, the customer is gullible beyond belief, that's why.

Larger longer games will not get finished, they will get returned after an overnight play, points awarded to the recipient, and the retailer turns it over again at a high rate due to the fact that it is being resold close to release period set down by the publisher before discounts are allowed officially by retailers.

The retailer will sell traded games over retail as there's far more profit in them, and an ongoing profit at that, whereas new game sales have far less profit margins, and do not warrant the effort in selling them over games that give 10 times the return.

What do the publishers and developers do then . . . they need to get that $15-25 mil back from the game, so they start building smaller budget, short length games, they start getting into Downloadable games over retail disc based games, facebook games, and the retail games the likes we have been used to over the last few decades, simply fly out the door because retailers has forced the publishers hand.

The only person that profits from all this is the high-street retailer, big time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Grant Smythe on 8th October 2010 2:43pm

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Lewis Marriott Functionality QA Tester 7 years ago
Go on Gamestation, add some fuel to the fire...
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Ashley Tarver Indie 7 years ago
... the quicker they fuel it the quicker the publishers will be pulling that rug.

In fact, do you see what the retailers are doing here? Asda, Argos, Tesco ... Game and Gamestation, indies and more, all flogging the horse (all these news items the past few months about second hand) because eventually it'll be dead to them.

At some point in the future they won't be able to offer the shareholders anywhere near the same dividends.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ashley Tarver on 8th October 2010 5:37pm

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Bob Chambers Studying Computer Games Technology, University of the West of Scotland7 years ago
Has there been any official word from publishers / developers regarding this scheme?

Also, I went on the official site and noticed something of a ceiling regarding these trade in deals:

Trade-in 25 games within 14 days of their launch - 4000
Trade-in 50 games within 14 days of their launch - 4000
Trade-in 75 games within 14 days of their launch - 4000
Trade-in 100 games within 14 days of their launch - 4000

There isn't much visible reward after the 25th game. It feels a bit like a bad achievement list

Score a headshot while upside down - 10g
Score 400 headshots while upside down- 10g
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Richard Foligno7 years ago
This card saves people money, simple fact. When it didn't exist, customers wouldn't save money, now they do.

Customers regularly complain that they are paying too much for games. Now there is a loyalty card and customers are saving money, everyone is saying that developers are losing out. Without specialist stores like GAME, Gamestation and HMV, everyone would be buying games for supermarket prices. Supermarkets won't sell games as high as developers want, and they definately won't actively sell them to customers. I don't think it's possible to find an ASDA worker that will get a customer excited about a game.

The retailer-developer relationship is not a very friendly one right now. I understand that developers have increasing development costs but the retail market has been the same for the last 13 years at least, so why are they being blamed?

I think they should both work together if the games industry is going to continue to be profitable.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Richard Foligno on 8th October 2010 7:06pm

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Andrew Wilson 3D Artist 7 years ago
"The XP is worth 2.5 per cent in real cash terms - so 1000 points is equivalent to £2.50"
Surely that's wrong? 2.5% of 1000 is 25, so if it was pennies you'd get 25p and if it was £'s you'd get £25?
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 7 years ago
I think Richard has a point.

Publishers actually owe a lot to retail and still do, especially when we are looking at market penetration into the zone of the middle class everyman. The profit from many of the biggest success stories in the past 10 years has been in part due to retail being a platform for publicity and getting the consumer excited about games.

Contrast that with the awful profit margins that retail gets from 1st hand sales on everything apart from their 1st party peripherals. This doesn't form a sustainable business model at all so what should they do?

Publishers miss out on the value that they get from second hand sales. Sure it might not come back to them directly but the long burn perspective of the situation is that the more profitable retail is, the more stores there will be. The more stores the more opportunity for publicity and entry into the public psyche. That leads to more game sales in the long run.

The actual scheme mentioned in the article is obviously reactionary. As mentioned above, the retail setup has been the same for over 10 years so why the beef with retail now? It would seem to me that publishers are finding it harder to make a profit and instead of examining themselves for reasons why, they have publicly blamed retail. That could have been handled in a completely different way to keep the relationship between both parties happy.

It's a shame really because it has been a few large publishers who have set that ball in motion. There are some very profitable publishers who have not felt the need to comment.
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Peter Law Freelance Game Designer and Unity Developer, Enigma 237 years ago
@Ben A better idea would be to create a website, which is a mini social networking site and ties in very easily with Facebook/ Twitter. So customers get a "Gamestation card", very similar to the ones available for XBL. And this would automatically show what games you've bought, and traded-in, and your acolades / etc.
Gamers are "achievement whores", physical items for this sort of system are usually tacky and not wanted by the majority (imo).

@Andrew That might be a typo, if it's the same as the GAME card, it's 100 points = £2.50
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Richard Foligno7 years ago

The website is due to be updated within the next month so that it is compatible with the new loyalty cards, and will have certain features that aren't available in stores.

Also, it is just a simple misinterpretation in text with the points mixup.
1000 points is equivalent to £2.50 off in store. As said above, it is 2.5% in real cash terms, which means that £100 spending in store will give you £2.50 off on your card.
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Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 7 years ago
@Pete I don't necessarily agree with that. But obviously an online presence and social integration is essential to creating a compelling experience but also spreading it virally.

@Richard The move to digital essentially represents the end of a symbiotic relationship between retail and publisher. I don't think developers or publishers owe anything to retail. The relationship is "not a friendly one" because retail has so far done very little to support the industry that they profiteer from.
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