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Best Buy begins new trade-in programme

Retailer expands videogame efforts with new trade-in, pre-order and preview services

Major retailer Best Buy is to launch a new trade-in programme for videogames this summer, as the chain expands its coverage of the video games market with additional in-store services.

Beginning in "late summer" consumers in North America will be able to trade-in games for an instant Best Buy gift card, which can be used to purchase any in-store item - whether games-related or not.

Trade-ins will be managed via either the standard Customer Service desk or dedicated Trade-In desks at larger stores. Pre-owned games will also be offered for sale, backed by Best Buy's standard returns policy.

A similar programme is already offered at BestBuy.com, with customers able to get a free estimate and then post in games they wish to trade. Prices between both in-store services and online will be the same.

In addition to the new trade-in programme, Best Buy will also begin to feature in-store touchscreen displays with information on current and future releases, as well as the option to pre-order new titles. An iPhone and Android app with similar functionality is already available, with a Blackberry version due later this summer.

Best Buy will also be offering subscriptions to magazine @Gamer in all US stores this month, with the magazine featuring exclusive in-store offers.

The move comes despite both Wal-Mart and Best Buy abandoning earlier attempts at offering pre-owned games in February of this year. Both reported an underwhelming customer response and were subsequently unable to break GameSpot's monopoly on the market in the US.

In the UK new Best Buy stores have offered their own trade-in deals since opening; with head of entertainment Marc Spence indicating to GamesIndustry.biz that the service was "absolutely" demanded by customers.

"Our commitment to creating an improved gaming experience begins with giving customers easy and exciting ways to connect with the games they love," said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager for the home entertainment group at Best Buy US.

"We know how important game trade-in is in that mix. Combined with the anticipated arrival of new interactive gaming experiences later this year and strategic investments into our future digital capabilities that will enable consumers to buy digital content and downloads, we will provide gamers innovative ways to connect with current and future gaming titles," he added.

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