Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Play-N-Trade vs Gamestop: Which Game Store Topples the Other?

Ever since EBGames disappeared after the 2005 merger with gaming giant Gamestop, there hasn't been much in the way of competition in terms of game specialty stores. In many areas of the country it was either Gamestop or nothing. If you were unhappy with Gamestop's prices, trade in values or general business practices then it was too bad - either suck it up and purchase from them or order from one of the many online websites that sell video games. However, Play-N-Trade, a relatively new franchise-based game store, has been opening up retail locations all around the United States over the past two years. Does it topple the 800-pound giant that is Gamestop, or is it akin to the mediocre indie stores you randomly run into from time to time? Well, both stores definitely have their pros and cons, which are addressed below:

Great return policy on used merchandise (if you're unhappy with a used game that you've purchased then you can simply return it within seven days for a full refund).
+ Extremely convenient - since they can be found virtually in any mall or major shopping center, you will never have a problem locating a Gamestop store in a pinch.
+ Solid trade-in promotions - Although Gamestop generally gives chump change for the majority of game trade-ins, they often run promotions that (for example, an extra $10 for trading in multiple titles at once) make you feel like you've gotten a worthwhile amount of value.
- A complete absence of classic titles and accessories will turn off retro gamers.
- Many of the so-called "new" games are actually opened copies that look suspiciously used (they may be missing the game manuals or have scratches and smudges on the discs).
- You will be charged a resurfacing fee for scratched trade-ins, even if you purchased the title from Gamestop in that condition.
- The used game prices sometimes are aligned with online auction sites such as eBay and Amazon, so those looking for a bargain on rare older titles will be solely disappointed.


+ Offers a wide selection of games and consoles for sale, including pretty much every old school system.

+ Each store is equipped with a professional disc resurfacing machine (used to fix scratched and damaged discs) similar to the ones found in rental stores.

+ You can try any game in the store prior to purchase.

- Abysmal return policy (you can only receive store credit back on defective merchandise or even merchandise that you haven’t opened yet but want to return).

- As Play-N-Trade is a franchise, the pricing on items is up to the manager’s discretion so each store has game’s priced differently.

- Much like Gamestop, Play-N-Trade also sells “gutted” opened copies of supposed new games.

Overall, there is not a clear-cut winner in this case. Play-N-Trade is definitely an interesting newer store with a nice retro selection, but having to be stuck with store credit (even in the case of non-defective, unopened returns such as game consoles) would make me chose Gamestop over them in the event of a large purchase. Overall though, if Play-N-Trade could somehow create a universal pricing structure and improve their store policies then they would have a better chance of taking on Gamestop’s game store monopoly. With Play-N-Trade becoming larger and larger, however, I’m sure Gamestop is watching them very closely.

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At 9:41 PM, Blogger The Man-Cave said...

There are no Play-N-Trades in my area, but we do have GamerDoc. Guys that work there are very cool and will cut you deals sometimes - real deals that are actually fair. Ever hear of them?

At 12:34 AM, Blogger The Sports Satirist said...

Oh, dear God. This looks like comparing Fed Ex to UPS. They both do the same thing, but they wear different uniforms (not that those two companies are as unreasonable as Gamestop and Play-n-Trade). In any case, with the advent of companies like Gamefly, it could mean Gamestop could come to an end. Have you taken a look at Xbox Live recently? There is so much content that has been released, and digital distribution will probably eliminate Gamestop. You can't buy Fallout 3 bonus content, Splosion Man, and Trials at Gamestop.

At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the above thought and I am glad to be the part of it.
TIA smith
wow gold

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I work At Play N' Trade South County in St.Louis, MO and I have to oppose a couple satements in this article. We DO return defective merchandise for either store credit or whatever form of payment the customer used, as long as you return it within 30 days. There is a three-step process that I go through that I like to call "Repair/Replace/Repay" which is fairly self explanitory. Just like the price difference due to "manager's discretion", the return policy may differ from store to store. Although, when it comes to discussing who is better, Gamestop or us, I would rather not lose a strong competitor like Gamestop. I send plenty of customers to gamestop when I don't have what they need, and gamestop does us the same justice. All of my customers leave happy, even if I dont have what they were looking for.

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Gnome said...

Hey there dear ross! And a happy 2010 to you!

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that the Play N Trade near you is not one of the stores that are in line with the standards that the company has put forth. All of the return policies are recommended by the corporate office which are 90 day defective warranty (replaced with same game). 30 day MONEY back for unopened product. And a 7 day satisfaction warranty. All the pricing is recommended by the corporate office, and is followed by most of the stores, and all of the stores near me in Northern VA. I only know this because of doing the same research as our esteemed Pro-Gamer blogger. I do like the tournaments that Play N Trade offers also, I am kind of biased on that though because I won $500 for a N64 Super Smash Bros. Tournament. On a side note, I can't wait for Gamefly to get me my games, I can get them WAY faster from my local retailer and I don't mind paying the price for new games.
- Kevin

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

right now, i prefer play n trade simply because it seems that i can more cash (well store credit) when i trade in games from them than gamestop.

At 6:19 AM, Anonymous free mmo said...

Play-N-Trade is fine by me.

At 4:42 AM, Blogger Mark said...

AHEM, Funnyman..
All (or most) of the fallout 3 bonus content comes in the game of the year package. tokens are sold in the form as codes to type in at the dashboard for various Xbox live arcade titles. so, that sort of overrides your statement, but at the same time it's more convenient to do it through the power of the internet anyways.

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention PnT does console repairs for a resonable price. The PnT in Bryan, TX has everything you would ever need. Tons of retro games, console repairs, wide selection of games on ANY console (PS3, X360, Xbox, Wii, PSP, PS2, GameCube, NDS, Sega Genesis, N64, SNES, NES, PSX, SegaCD, SegaSaturn, GameboyColor, GBA, everything!) and of course we offer the "Try before you buy" program, allowing anyone to actually get hands on with the games! Something GameStop has NEVER done... IMO PnT had everything over GameStop, exect for the return policies!

At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

imo if you trade in games at pnt, it's better than e-bay, but they don't give you CRAP if you trade in a console.

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Boneless said...

not to dis ethier store but gamestop has ripped off me and my friends many times like selling my friend a brand new wii game for $70 he played it once didnt like it and returned it the next day with recipt and they gave him $7 for it so imo they're return policy sucks..on the other hand they have a wide variety of games for newer systems play n trade will take practicly anything that still works and in doing so they have everything and they give cash when they can so play n trade is imo the best game store

At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Surya Putera said...

Is this blog dead?

No more update since 11 November 2009.

Surya Putera
Gaming Skills For Pro Gamers

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not over, and PnT opened a new store in San Diego. I prefer to support small business Mom & Pop stores over chain stores, but I am still glad that PnT arrived to increase competition and put a dent in Gamestop's local monopoly.

The Gamestop return & trade-in policies are FAIL. Gamestop is fortunate to have their pre-order exclusives, since they're running out of new lame tricks. I noticed they've hired cute chicks, but that stinks of desperation to pull dudes into their store. Good idea in theory, but doesn't really work if she's not a gamer.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i work at one of the pnt in utah. before we opened our local gamestop had a monopoly. now we're putting them out of business because everyone was so dissatisfied with there service. pnt is better in almost every way. gamestop won't resurface disks, and we do for a couple bucks each. gamestop does not repair consoles and if they do they use cheap internet fixes (screws). they give about half as much as we do for trade ins. they don't do rentals, we do. they don't have weekly tournaments, we do. the ONLY thing they have right now is exclusives for preorders. i have always been against anything gamestop because of their customer service and crap trade ins.

At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

playntrade is acually a fair company that gives you good prices on trade ins thats the only differce

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Reeceloui said...

Play-N-Trade are provide good services. i can easily got a preferable game by this way.

Xbox repair

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like how play and trade has retro games. Also, they're nice to their costumers.

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Frank said...

Checked out Play-N-Trade for the first time today in Chicagoland and was very impressed. Not only was their customer service 10 times better, they offered literally $100 more for an IPAD trade in. PnT's game selection was extremely varied and seeing EVERY old console and game was refreshing. Even though I have to pass out literally 3 Gamestops on my 25 minute drive to PnT, it is 100% worth it. If you have yet to check it out, PnT is seriously the way to go.

At 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes the one from jurneys then last we play'ntrade on friday twice.

At 1:12 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Play-N-trade are provide good services about the game stores.Thanks for sharing it!!

play and trade

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a company that competes with Game Stop. You dont hear about them because they seem to not care about brand recognition, (its baffling) hence they open stores in thier cleints names with each having a unique business name. You can see the similarities all of thier stores tho...the signage looks cool and its like sci-fi green and they use alot of the same displays and stuff, you can tell a store they have opened for sure. They have many of them listed on thier website: www.gamestartstores.com The stores that they have seem to be successful and accordingly to the website they are all over the place. I visited one in Texas and I gotta tell you...The difference is night and day. Retro and New Gen, all with amazing selections... but also comics and shirts and lots of other stuff... they have a try before you buy center in the one I went to with 6 screens at no charge! And the store is open, and well designed. There is a Game Stop a block away and it was dead while this store (Geek N Game) was packed. The owner told me at first he was worried about opening so close to a game stop, but his consultant at Game Start said he need not be. From what I saw he was right! When I take a good look at the name Game Start I think this company may trying to set a new standard! Its awesome that there is a company out there putting out a different option. Game Stop Sucks!

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