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Walmart Ups Video Game Emphasis With Online 'Gamecenter'

Retailer Walmart is increasing its focus on online video game sales with Gamecenter, a new destination that will offer sales promotions for games and a low standard shipping fee.
Retailer Walmart is increasing its focus on online video game sales with Gamecenter, a new destination that will offer sales promotions for games and a low standard shipping fee. The website will be more than a storefront, Walmart said, as Gamecenter hosts video previews, interviews and site-specific promotions. Gamecenter is launching with a deal that gives customers a $50 eGift card if they preorder three or more games. Walmart also lets gamers trade in video games or electronics online for prepaid Walmart Visa cards. The retailer pays for shipping costs when a customer sends trade-in games for credit. Amazon.com has a similar online trade-in program. Dan DeMatteo, CEO for leading specialty game retailer GameStop commented on Walmart's Gamecenter initiative during a quarterly earnings call Thursday. "I'm not sure about the sustainability [of Gamecenter]," he told an analyst. "I'm not sure how long they plan on doing that. As I said before, we think our unique advantages in-store are our pre-release marketing [and] ability [for consumers] to trade and get the immediate currency. That is something that has allowed us to continue gain marketshare." Walmart is the second big box retailer this week to announce a greater focus on the video game business. Target said Monday that it would be expanding its in-store electronics department, taking video game products out of locked cabinets and making the department more inviting and accessible to consumers. Walmart has experimented with in-store used game trades in various capacities, but hasn't been able to gain the kind of pre-owned sales traction enjoyed by specialty retailers like GameStop.

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