Disc kiosk company e-Play has suspended operations, less than a year after introducing limited numbers
of automated machines that let users buy and sell used games in select Walmart and Best Buy locations.
Ohio-based E-play's website has been replaced
with a placeholder that simply says "e-Play, LLC has suspended operations. Thank you to all our customers. For more information call 1-866-602-6014."
In May 2009, reports surfaced that Walmart leased space to e-Play, which released 77 "Video Game Buyback" kiosks at select Walmart locations as part of a pilot program. Electronics retailer Best Buy also tried out e-Play machines, which allowed customers to rent and return videos and games, on top of buying back discs.
Instead of dispensing cash for games sold, credit is applied to users' credit cards, with funds showing up in their accounts after a few business days. Credit went as high as $25 for high-demand, newer titles. e-Play claimed it had over 4,000 games in its database.
Analysts had speculated about the impact these self-serve kiosks could have on the used video game leader in the U.S., brick-and-mortar retailer GameStop. Big box retailers like Walmart, large electronic chains such as Best Buy, and even online retailer Amazon.com have attempted to make used game sales a more meaningful part of their revenues.
In September last year, Lazard Capital analyst Colin Sebastian said, "…The kiosks represent the best chance
for big box stores to gain share of used, in our view, without managing the logistical challenges of inventory, quality control, and pricing." Such machines could appeal to the more casual game buyer, he said at the time.
While e-Play has suspended operations, it doesn't necessarily spell the death of the concept of automated used game buyback kiosks. e-Play's business also revolved around the rental of disc-based movies, a market that is feeling the pinch from mail rental companies like Netflix, as well as on-demand movie delivery.