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e-Play Suspends Operations

2 Feb, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey

Buy, sell, trade and rental kiosk operator e-Play has suspended operations, according to the company’s Web site, eplay.com.

An e-Play spokesman could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson from NCR Corp., which is rolling out Blockbuster-branded Express kiosks, said it would maintain a minority stake in e-Play.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company had been supplying kiosks to about 80 Northeast Wal-Mart stores since May 2009. Best Buy had been testing the kiosks since June.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson said the e-Play kiosks will be gone from stores this week. A Best Buy spokesperson said the retailer was unable to comment on the state of its e-Play kiosks.

“We have completed this initial phase of our kiosk test and are evaluating customer reaction. Per our normal practice with pilots, we are unable to share specific details,” Best Buy’s spokesperson said.

Besides aiming to compete with No. 1 used game retailer GameStop, e-Play had aimed to compete with DVD kiosk operator Redbox, by offering rentals from as low as $1 a day. The kiosks also bought back used games and DVDs, giving consumers either store credit or credit to their credit card.

In a June 2009 interview with Home Media Magazine, Kristen Fox, VP of marketing and business development for e-Play, said her company was hoping to change the way kiosks operated, with a mixture of buying, selling and renting. A Redbox spokesperson said its video game rental trials were “ongoing.”

“We haven’t disclosed any information on the tests,” he said.

“There is definitely sensitivity around sellthrough of used product, and that is something that we tend not to empathize in our business platform,” she said. “The draw to our kiosk is the availability of games and trade-in aspect. It is inevitable that used product is out there, and some of the major retailers are starting to offer it in their stores.”

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