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GameStop will extend its trade-in program to graded Pokémon TCG cards

The struggling video game retail chain takes a page from local hobby shops’ books.

Image credit: PWCC

GameStop plans to purchase single Pokémon Trading Card Game cards from individuals, as long as they’re graded by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), extending the video game and pop culture retail chain’s trade-in model into another secondary market.

According to Polygon, GameStop will soon accept single cards graded PSA 8 or higher on the popular collectible grading company’s 10-point rubric. After speaking to several locations in different states, Polygon reported that stores will not accept anything over $500 in value and that none of the workers knew when GameStop might sell graded singles at retail - corporate offices have only communicated details about purchasing from customers.

Rumors of this new ploy cropped up on fansite PokéBeach earlier last week, which also claimed that GameStop would buy singles from other widely played TCGs as well. This makes sense given Magic: The Gathering’s well-established secondary market and the sheer popularity of Disney Lorcana. Star Wars: Unlimited and Yu-Gi-Oh! might truck behind at a respectable fourth and fifth place but will still likely find their way to GameStop shelves eventually, if the rumors are true.

How to play Pokemon TCG for absolute beginners Watch on YouTube

Polygon did not confirm that GameStop would offer store credit for the trade-in value of cards, but it’s difficult to imagine otherwise. The US company’s roughly 3,000 stores have survived (if barely) on buying and selling new and used video games, buttressed heavily by collectible merchandise, shirts, plushies and other pop culture goods. Dicebreaker has reached out to GameStop’s corporate office for confirmation and more information.

One GameStop manager told PokéBeach that the corporate leaders have lost faith in physical media and instead think replicating a model that hobby shops have cornered for years is “the obvious next step” and “the future”. More likely is the scenario where they compared the continued thriving market for rare and expensive TCG singles against GameStop’s cratering stock price following a weird short squeeze ploy from amateur internet investors artificially surged its price for a brief, entertaining moment in 2021.

There’s no word on when GameStop will accept cards from other established card graders, such as Beckett or Certified Guaranty Company (CGC). The program doesn’t exactly mirror that of LGS locations, which often buy a wider range of singles, including ungraded cards and bulk cards. Still, it’s troubling to imagine a failing corporate business stomping into territory that often means the difference between life and death for brick ‘n’ mortar hobby shops.

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