Once mobile gaming took a top spot in gamers’ hearts, retailers have been struggling to stay afloat. Why take a trip down to the local Best Buy for a $50 game when you can buy something very similar, right from your iPad, in the comfort of your living room for only $9.99? In an effort to stay relevant during a time when brick and mortar video game stores are not, GameStop will now offer repairs, as well as reselling Apple gadgets.
Toward the end of 2011, GameStop began taking trade-in offers of Apple mobile devices. The iTrades program fared well for the company. By offering up to $70 for iPod nanos, $180 for iPod touches, $300 for iPhones and $400 for iPads, the company was able to collect “truckloads” of Apple gadgets, which were sent to the Refurbishment Operations Center (ROC) for cleanup and repair. The mobile devices will eventually be shipped to GameStop retail stores as the company rolls out its estimated $200 million program.
Although the company saw a 30 percent drop in stock prices in 2011, GameStop still manages to be the number one video game seller with two-thirds of the retail market. Last year, the company made nine-and-a-half billion dollars in sales. Not bad for a company who was among the “most shorted” in the S&P 500-stock index.
The ROC is a $7 million, 182,000 square-foot facility recently occupied by the company specifically for the purpose of refurbishing and reselling Apple gadgets, as well as Google and Android-based tablets.
“This is a big bet on the future,” said GameStop CEO, J. Paul Raines. “This Facility [the ROC] gives GameStop a chance to expand into new businesses.”
The company stands to make an estimated $1 billion in new revenue over the next few years thanks to Apple products. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes that offering pre-paid phone cards for iPhones will be a big success with GameStop. “Where GameStop can absolutely kill is selling prepaid phone plans with the used iPhones, since a lot of their customers are teenagers with money to spend but no credit to get a regular phone plan,” he said.
If the new Apple gadget reselling program proves to be successful, GameStop could become the most popular place to buy a used iPad or iPhone, giving consumers a reason to get off the couch and go game shopping again.