A couple of weeks ago some news crept out from Asdas Music, Video and Games Conference 2009, unfortunately it was either an internal affair or my invite was stuck in the post so Im only just catching up on the olds news that Asda is to significantly ramp up its presence in the gaming sector and is definitely making moves to enter the pre-owned market.
Whilst the news that you can trade in your copy of Terminator: Salvation or Damnation at the same time as picking up a can of beans and a loaf of bread isnt actually earth shattering, it could have far reaching effects for the retailing of games. At the conference Asda have announced plans to extend shelf space, sell gift cards, and roll-out another 45 special game store concepts before the end of the year. Asdas category director Fergal Gara said If we want to be a serious player in this market, pre-owned is definitely an area we have to watch.
The news that Asda is strengthening its position as a serious gaming retailer follows on from the news that they have recruited of some of the top bods from GameStation, whos head office has been disbanded as its integration with GAME gathers pace.
Could we be on the cusp of a price war in the pre-owned market as Asda look to gain market share by paying more than GAME, Blockbuster, HMV and the rest? In order to sell pre-owned games they need to buy them first, right? well whos going to trade-in there if they dont pay more than the others so good times could be coming to customers who tend to regularly trade games.
Although Asda most likely have GAME & HMV in their sights it will probably be the much beleaguered independent retailer who suffers the most from any price war between multi-million pound international companies, and if supermarkets past actions in markets they move in to are anything to go buy then we can expect short term benefits as customers, until they take enough market share to control the market.