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    9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2008 6:01 AM by jeiholla

    Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?

    Sako7STW Newbie
      I have been strongly considering investing into one of these. Just trying to do some research besides the sales hype from them. Hopefuly someone on here might have some knowledge about them they would be willing to share?
        • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Play-N-Trade, good franchise?? Good question.

          I DO NOT know about Play-N-Trade, However you can contact SCORE. SCORE is FREE
          and they can help you succeed.

          Guessing that Play-N-Trade is a fitness center. Do you have an Accountant?? Lawyer??

          We currently own a hair salon. A recent opportunity has came our way to
          buy a much bigger salon
          For this we are looking into a 24 hour access fitness
          center.

          Good luck, LUCKIEST
          • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            As with many retail businesses, three things that are critical to a Play-n-Trade store's success are: (a) your location (mall stores seem to do best), (b) your knowledge of the gamer market in your area (a typical complaint with PnT stores is a hit or miss selection of retro and classic games because the owner/manager doesn't seem to know what customers want), and (c) the quality of the employees you hire and how well you train them (one bad employee can kill business fast, and it's hard to bounce bad once gamers start spreading a negative message).

            The good news is that with those things in place, PnT stores seem to compete very favorably with GameStop. So to answer your question, yes, existing customers and owners generally consider it to be a good franchise -- for now. The bad news is that the future for a new franchisee may be questionable.

            The reason is competition. Not just competition from GameStop and similar outlets, or even from major retailers like Target or Best Buy -- but rather competition from Gamefly and other "delivered to your door" services (the way NetFlix does movies), and competition from digital distribution (which game merchandisers, cable companies, and satellite companies are all working to put in place). With console sales as strong as they are, there is a lot of incentive and funding behind the deliver-to-door and digi-dist initiatives. I think many analysts believe that the typical brick-and-mortar video game franchise store as it exists today only has about three to five years left to live. (PnT is privately held, but GameStop is publically traded -- and even while their profits continue to rise, their share price falls, which might suggest that investors agree with that assessment).

            Hope that info helps in your decision. Best wishes.
            • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
              ZetaMonkey Newbie
              Hello Sako7STW,

              I'm also looking at opening a Play N Trade franchise and have been reviewing there UFOC. I have for you little inside of this opportunity but can share some insight on the gaming industry. Although the theory of a decline in demand for brick and mortar video game retailers. You should look at the current state of the gaming technology available and the two major markets who participate in them. You have the casual gamer market and the hardcore gamer market. Each of these markets are both increasing in size particularly the casual gamers due to innovative technology such as the Nintendo Wii. You can do your own research and you will see that this industry is growing in size every year, its a billion dollar industry. The theory that downloadable or delivered entertainment does give retailers a challenge to offer innovative and new in demand services. As a casual gamer and friend of many hardcore gamers Play n Trade offers a new twist to video game retailing. A service that stands out is that they offer video game console repair which no other major competitor is currently offering. I assure you am I in any way in contract or a franchisee of Play n Trade, this is my personal opinion and market research that I have done on my own.

              Good luck,

              ZetaMonkey
                • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  ZetaMonkey, thanks for the input and perspective. I TOTALLY agree that the gaming industry is strong and the market is exploding -- and that it will continue. My concern with opening a store related only to developments that will impact delivery methods and in-store sales potential.

                  Console repair would provide an important competitive distinction for a store. You make an excellent point there! What's your view on the future of that? Will console prices remain high enough, and will the platform technology remain uniform enough, for a console repair function to operate as an in-store profit center?

                  I ask because I can't help but recall when Betamax came out -- every home was going to have one to record TV shows and watch movies. In the first five years, the number of businesses that repaired them went from zero to 1.6 million -- and then in the next seven years, it went back to nearly zero again. Technology improved, and even though Betamax players were still manufactured and sold for another 14 years after that, they were cheaper to replace than repair. Lots of technology products have had similar life cycles. Do you think game console repair could see that same fate three to five years down the road -- or will repair continue to be profitable for the long term? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

                  Again, I think PnT would be a great business to be in right now -- I just had some reservations about three to five years ahead (which is important to a new franchisee). So I do value whatever different or additional insights you can provide, especially since you're actively evaluating this. Thanks!

                    • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
                      ZetaMonkey Newbie
                      Lighthouse24,

                      I expect Nintendo Wii to hold its retail value for at least another 3 years but as for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 this doesn't seem as likely. As for game console repair, you are right the outlook does not give business the edge to operate as an in-store profit center over the long run. The ultimate thriving profit center for this type of franchise at the moment and in the future is the resale of used games of which we can really on to market to remain a steady source if not an increasing venue for profit over the next several years.

                      You also mentioned platform unity and the use of new convenient services such as Gamefly. I don't know much about the future of any integration with the big 3 platforms(PS3,X360,Wii) but you make a very great point on the future of brick and mortar retailing, as I begin to think about the fast advances in technology. Currently a PS3 game holds close to 25 Gigabytes of memory and in Japan the median download speed is reported at 61 Megabytes per second. This would take approximately 7 minutes to download a game. However in the US the current median download speed is at 2 Mps making US consumers sit for about 3 hours for a new downloaded PS3 game.

                      My question to you is then what can a franchisee such as Play n Trade or its competitors due to remain in demand in the form of a brick and mortar retailer?

                      Zeta Monkey

                      Side note to Sako7STW : Hope you don't mind this inter-discussion in your post. Lighthouse 24 is very knowledgeable and has giving me great advise in the past.
                        • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
                          Lighthouse24 Ranger

                          Wow, ZetaMonkey, thanks for the compliment.

                          You ask a great question, and I don't know the answer. I have one client that handles video game distribution and merchandising (big stores), so I know what they're thinking/planning, but they didn't ask me if I thought it was a good strategy. Consequently, I haven't analyzed it enough to know. So everything I'm about to write is just "thinking out loud" -- it's not advice or anything I really KNOW about for sure . . .

                          For a small store or franchise, as we both mentioned, the classic and used game market is where highly successful existing stores are currently standing out. That seems like one opportunity to gain a more sustainable foothold.

                          It seems like another opportunity is boomers and seniors. Everything about the "typical" video game store screams youth, from the aesthetics to the employees. A small store that targeted (or at least included) boomers and seniors might open up whole new world. For instance, my dad (age 80, but active and healthy) lives in a retirement village that only has about a dozen residents this time of year, yet a couple of thousand "winter Texan" residents. (In fact, that two-county area is home for more than 100,000 retirees who live there six months or less each year.) Somebody from a local store (or perhaps it will be a new entrepreneur) could probably take a few Wii Fit set-ups to the Community Centers in each of those villages during the next peak season, hold free demos and "training" sessions for the residents (soft sell), offer to help with installation and set-up, and move product like mad. I really believe that seniors would buy and use them, plus they have grandkids who come down for visits and want something to do -- so there's another selling point for the accessories, and a feeder for in-store game sales (because those communities will be among the last served by technology that enables digital distribution).

                          Again, I'm just brainstorming here (presumably, the execs at Play-n-Trade are, too).
                            • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
                              seeker Wayfarer
                              There bunch of internet sites including itunes store where you can download even HD movies and watch on yout tv but I still prefer going to Blockbuster and enjoy the selection.

                              Same goes for gaming.. I'd prefer to spend time in EB Games, Gamsstop, PnT etc and select from the shelf.

                              This is just me though.
                        • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
                          Sako7STW Newbie
                          The following are the reasons why I feel a PNT would do good here. My son is 10 and I see him and his friends just go crazy for gaming. We ourselves just bought a Wii. In my marketplace, the only competition is Walmart as far as physical locations. I see the point in the online stuff for those that are HARDCORE gamers but from what I see, the technology of online gaming is complex and somewhat expensive. Most kids wouldnt even begin to know how to use something that complex nor do they have the attention span to stay that focused. For the middle person on gaming, the online rental places dont make as much sense as games get monotinus so they switch games before beating them but want to come back to them to beat them later. I myself do this. For this type of person, owning the game makes far more sense. As I have gotten older my time spent gaming has dropped dramaticaly but I still love it. Wyoming is 10 years in the past when it comes to technology that the rest of the world uses so i think thats an advantage for me. Also I feel an advatage is there has not been a store like this in the area yet so i am sure the used industry would go nuts, especially at first.
                        • Re: Play-N-Trade,  good franchise?
                          jeiholla Newbie
                          I thought of buying play-n-trade as well... I'm really into games and know what's coming out and read about them and video game sales are rising so why not own one?... Only problem with play-n-trade when I spoke to the owner was that they were limited when new games come out.

                          for example: I was trying to look for a game for the Wii and I coudn't find it anywhere. so, I remembered that i wanted to open play-n-trade and was a bit mad because there was ONE play-n-trade in San Jose, CA where we have population well over 1million. So, I call them and so how i spoke to the owner and he told me that they were suppose to receive 12 copies yet they only received 2 on the game that I wanted and was sold out quick and on new games and consoles(Wii) they are on the bottom of the list to receive them. Funny how they only got 2 copies when the population is over 1 million.

                          Meaning: Right now they are a relatively new franchise and with high demand on games and Wii console distributors will sell more to well known companies such as eb games, gamestop, bestbuy and etc. Unless, your a private owner and have invested in video games for awhile but usually they get them straight from japan and make tons of profit from imported games and don't depend on USA version.

                          My thoughts: I believe with paly-n-trade you will make decent money even with a great location because when you have a great location your lease will be high. But, once play-n-trade is more well known your investment might be worth it. Far as I know play-n-trade is the only franchise for video games and only has one real competion which is gamestop or eb games (it's like sprint and nextel). I had backed out after the owner telling me they never recieve the amount of games there suppose to... how are you suppose to make projected profit when your really limited? They held tournaments to make extra cash but for this biz for now i think you have to get into having more fun running it with ok cash flow (one of those biz). But, that was 2007 they might of changed... on the side note, there website homepage changed 3 or 4 times since last year...I don't know if that's a good thing but they seem like they are trying to improve much as they can.

                          If anyone does buy one please inform us. I would really like to see what I have missed out or have not.

                          Thanks!