Wal-Mart versus GameStop, Best Buy and Toys R Us: Fight!

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Walmart, Carrot, Stick

Wal-Mart, it seems, is out for buckets of blood this holiday, lopping serious coin off a slew of popular video games, with intent to siphon video gamers away from retailers like GameStop, Best Buy, and Toys R Us.

How does $10 off strike you? Wii Games for $40 instead of $50? Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games for $50 instead of $60? A $50 gift card if you buy a Wii console for $200?

No, I don't mean rubbish like Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust or Vampire Rain: Altered Species or Ninjabread Man, but recent stuff you'd actually be interested in. Like Halo 3: ODST. Or Madden NFL 10. Or Left 4 Dead 2.

Were: $60. Are: $50.

That's right: Wal-Mart's knocked the so-called "next-generation" tax off these games, and none of its competitors have as yet followed suit.

"Loss leader"? Definitely. Need some toothpaste? Scented candles? Pair of socks? Game magazine? Soda and a sandwich?

Also: "Market chiller." According to American Banking News, GameStop shares tumbled 8.26 percent on the news.

Zacks Analyst reports that Wal-Mart intends to lower prices by as much as 20 percent by December 24, and reasons GameStop will have to respond in kind, since "most of GameStop's stores are near Wal-Mart outlets."

An unconfirmed rumor's circulating that GameStop plans to sell Left 4 Dead 2 and Halo 3: ODST for $40--$10 less than Wal-Mart's discounted price. Last I checked the company's sales promotions and the pages for those games specifically, however, they're still listing for $60 each (the PC version's $50, and always has been).

Keep your eyes peeled.

What about used games? GameStop sells Halo 3: ODST and Left 4 Dead 2 used for $50--already in line with Wal-Mart's discount pricing. Assuming the used versions have cases, manuals, and discs all in good condition, do you really care whether you're buying it "naked" or wrapped in a piece of flimsy plastic?

Scan Wal-Mart's own 'pre-owned' pages and reality buckles slightly: Ghostbusters for the Xbox 360 brand new goes for a discount $39.82, while the used version (only sold online) costs $49.96.

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