Earlier this year, Walmart started offering company gift cards in exchange for customers' used games. This morning, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that it's started making money off this investment, launching a pre-owned games section in 1,700 of its US stores — or about 40 percent of its estimated 4,300 total locations (there are around 650 Sam's Club warehouse stores, but we don't know if they're part of the program.) According to Businessweek, the program launched today, ahead of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's release on November 3rd; a promotional offer will give traders more if they buy Advanced Warfare or a PlayStation 4. And each store will offer somewhere between 40 and 100 used titles.
Walmart looks to have been selling pre-owned games for some time online, but a physical trade-in program puts it in more direct competition with companies like GameStop. It's probably not going to draw someone who's already invested in the GameStop ecosystem, or even someone who regularly goes to electronics stores, but Walmart has a huge presence, especially in rural areas where a big box store might be more accessible than a more specialized one. Gamespot ran a comparison of titles when the program first launched, and Walmart offered slightly higher prices. The obvious downside is that if you trade a game in to Walmart, all that money goes back into Walmart sooner or later. After all, you're not getting any actual cash.