Best Buy Shuts Down Its Gamers Club
Best Buy last month stopped accepting new members to both of its video game loyalty programs, the free Reward Zone Gamers Club and its paid tier, Gamers Club Unlocked (GCU). Both offered rewards, trade-in credit and discounts on new and used video games and accessories. The free Reward Zone Gamers Club ended member benefits immediately, while current GCU members who paid $30 for a two-year membership will continue receiving benefits until their contracts expire.
A May 19 post to Best Buy's Gamers Club forum confirmed the programs’ cancellation for “a variety of reasons,” encouraging members to instead use the My Best Buy loyalty program to receive perks including a $10 reward certificate when pre-ordering select games. Authored by Best Buy’s senior social media specialist Mike Schenck, the post indicated “at this time, we are not able to share any information on possible programs or offers that may be presented in the future. I recommend keeping an eye on bestbuy.com for any updates.”
The day prior, a leaked memo from the consumer electronics retailer announcing the news went semi-viral on Twitter. The memo instructed associates to remove “all GCU collateral and signage from sales floor and front lanes immediately” as well as all warehouse items. The GCU web and storefront pages also are no longer functional.
The programs were canceled just before one of the video game industry’s biggest events, E3, which took place in Los Angeles on June 12-14. Best Buy tweeted live from the event, heavily promoting the aforementioned $10 incentive on video game pre-orders for My Best Buy members. Multiple Facebook updates also supported.
It’s unclear at this time what Best Buy’s plans are in terms of future video gamer loyalty programs, but the change may be a move to consolidate loyalty efforts under the retailer's main program, which was revamped in 2013 to add more mobile integration. Best Buy also had revamped GCU in 2015, slashing its bi-annual membership fee of $120 by 70% to $30.