Games

GameStop Wants You To Start Trading In Your Valuable Pokémon Cards

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A Charizard card appears in front of GameStop.

Photo: Heritage Auctions / Bloomberg (Getty Images)

The market for high-end collectibles like rare Pokémon cards has exploded in recent years, and GameStop seems to want a piece of it. The gaming retailer told some store managers this week that it would begin testing buying Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) graded trading cards later this month as it flails around for a new business strategy while its meme stock shenanigans continue.

“Exciting news,” read an internal message shared over on the GameStop subreddit yesterday. “We are happy to announce that we are officially getting into Graded Collectibles. Starting tomorrow, all associates will have access to the Main Menu Learning Course around accepting PSA Graded Collectibles (Just Trading Cards for now).” The company said the program’s rollout would begin next week in just 258 stores to start, including some located in Texas where GameStop is headquartered.

It’s not clear yet how the program will work, if GameStop plans to resell the cards in-store, or what the limit will be on the prices it can pay. Some self-identified employees on the subreddit have speculated that the stores will only be allowed to buy collectibles graded PSA 8 and above. Still, the prices for those can run from, say, $50 for a Raging Bolt Ex from the recent Temporal Forces Pokémon set to over $29,000 for a rarer Charizard from the original base set.

The backbone of GameStop’s business once upon a time was used video games. After players completed a new release, they could sell it back to the company for a fraction of the MSRP, which GameStop would then turn around and sell to a new player for almost the full cost of the new version of the game. This “circle of life” propelled GameStop to huge profits in the early 2010s, but has fallen apart as the majority of game purchases have gone digital.

More recently, the company has doubled down on branded merchandise and collectibles like Funko-Pops and statues of video game characters to make up the shortfall. Despite raking in $1 billion thanks to a meme-fueled stock bonanza, GameStop’s pivots to cryptocurrency, PC gaming gear, and even TVs hasn’t yielded a new path forward for its ailing business. All along the way, GameStop employees have born the brunt the company’s excesses, failings, and resulting cuts.

It’s unclear if GameStop’s longstanding reputation for poor trade-in deals will extend to its new collectibles program. “10% market price take it or leave it,” joked one person on Reddit. “5% market price cash, 10% market price in store credit, and they sell them at 500% market price.”

          

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Originally posted 2024-05-11 02:25:00.

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