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A graded Base Set Charizard.
Screengrab via YouTube (Derium's Pokemon)

GameStop is betting big on Pokémon TCG with huge graded cards plan

Graded slabs and singles might be on shelves soon.

GameStop has suffered its ups and downs—though mostly downs—over the last few years, from a stock market boom to jumping in on a crashing NFT wave. Now, the physical retailer is betting big on trading cards, specifically the Pokémon TCG, through the introduction of graded buying and selling options.

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In a report from Jon Sahagian at PokéBeach, it has now been confirmed GameStop will launch a new initiative in U.S. locations where customers can sell, and eventually buy, graded cards. There are specific limitations in place that will distance GameStop from online retailers and auctions, though this is an expansion that will feature graded products and singles being added to the store’s shelves over time—with Pokémon leading the way.

Logan Paul holding a graded Illustrator Pikachu card.
You won’t see the big hitters sitting on a shelf. Screenshot via Logan Paul

The main focus will be Pokémon TCG, highlighted in the report as the retailer’s prime product, as the company looks to try and pull some local game story-level traffic. “GameStop specifically wants to sell Pokémon cards. Simply put, Pokémon is GameStop’s fastest-selling TCG. And it’s by far the most popular franchise. They want to sell cards like an LGS,” a GameStop manager working on the test program told PokéBeach.

At least initially, the only graded cards being accepted will be from the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), with no current word on when other popular grading services like CGC and Beckett will be added to the program. PSA Eight graded cards and above will be accepted for valuation, though any card with a value of over $500 will be excluded, meaning you won’t be finding the biggest hitters from Pokémon or other TCGs at GameStop; at least if they are slabbed.

On the lower end, GameStop will also begin selling Pokémon TCG singles in various ways. Much like local game stores you may have visited in the past, GameStop will offer $1 holos and reverse holos, with other testing being done for different bundles. PokéBeach noted all cards sold this way are being sourced from the secondary market.

For GameStop, this is a way to stem the constant bleeding over the last decade as digital games media continues to become the dominant medium. Even with digital alternatives, card games remain a popular physical product that continues to grow in value, and that is what GameStop is betting on. “GameStop’s leaders believe this is the obvious next step for the company. Physical media is waning, especially for video games. It was time for the company to branch out to trading cards. They are the future,” the GameStop manager said.

The manager PokéBeach was able to speak to also noted they hope this will make games like Pokémon more accessible, especially for the younger audience who still visit GameStop: “They will get to pick out cards of their favorite Pokémon. Maybe it will inspire them to dive into the TCG. Or they can pick out cards they need to finish their decks.”

GameStop has tested initiatives in limited markets before and never actually rolled them out, so there is a chance this won’t be officially announced for some time or will remain in select locations. We will have to wait on more details and the potential that GameStop could further expand its footprint for different TCG communities.

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Image of Cale Michael
Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.