On November 24, hundreds of used Wii U games could be dumped
onto unsuspecting GameStop (NYSE:
) locations all over the country. The dumping may be caused by a
deal between Old Navy and Nintendo (OTC:
). The Gap-owned (NYSE:
) specialty retailer is giving away free copies of New Super
Mario Bros. U -- the first Mario game released for Wii U -- with
a qualifying $40 purchase.
Black Friday promo page
states that there are "an extremely limited amount of available
wristbands per store which will be distributed on a first come
first served basis and Old Navy can not guarantee that all
customers in line will receive a wristband." Those who receive a
wristband will be able to exchange it for one free copy of the
This is an interesting (if not unusual) promotion for the two
companies. Old Navy certainly hopes to attract new customers by
giving away a Mario game. In exchange, Nintendo will receive a
ton of publicity for its brand, its characters and its new
The promo does come with one negative side effect, however: it
could lead to an influx in used copies of New Super Mario Bros.
Old Navy operates
roughly 1,000 stores
in North America. Few people who attend the company's Black
Friday event will do so solely for a free video game. Most will
come for the sales. They might hope that they get a copy of the
new Mario -- everyone loves free stuff. But the people that
really wanted it already purchased it last weekend when they
picked up the new console, which is now sold out nationwide.
Without Wii U, the game is useless.
Thus, it is easy to assume that a large number of the free
Mario U games will not be retained.
Old Navy will not say how many copies will be given out at
each store. But if the giveaway was limited to just one game per
retail location, the company would give away approximately 1,000
copies. Of those units, investors could assume that 25 will be
kept and eventually played after more Wii U units are sold.
Another 25 percent will be retained but will never be played.
Those units are bound for GameStop next fall.
An additional 25 percent will be given away as gifts to
friends and relatives. Of those units, one-fifth will probably be
re-gifted or sold to GameStop because consumers either do not
want the game or do not have a Wii U.
The remaining 25 percent will be sold
. Old Navy may put a notice on the package saying that the game
is "not for resale," but that won't stop consumers from turning
to eBay (NASDAQ:
) and other venues where the resale label does not apply.
Historically, GameStop willingly purchased pack-in games (such
as Wii Sports) and others that have the "not for resale" label.
The company is also willing to buy back games without the
If only 25 percent of the free Mario games are sold to
GameStop this weekend, the retailer could receive
250 copies. (That number could be much higher if Old Navy gives
away more than one copy per store.) When spread across the United
States, that may not seem like very many units. But it is a lot
for a brand-new game, particularly one
without any pre-owned copies
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