No, they’re not dead … yet.
I have written many times about the game trading site Goozex for one reason – it was a great idea put forth by some great guys for the benefit of gamers. Largely gamer-driven, the site used a combination of ‘tokens’ and ‘points’ for trades. To ‘buy’, you would use a token and a number of points related to the current value of a game – for example, a new game like Borderlands 2 would be ~1200 points (the maximum), whereas something like 2009’s Drakensang: The Dark Eye would be 100 points.
And better still, the Goozex guarantee ensured that if you spent points or sent a game you wouldn’t be cheated. It was fair and worked out well almost all of the time.
But if you take a look at the site traffic data over the last year for Goozex, you see a more than 80% drop-off:
If you check the site you will see the ‘Number of Trades Going on Right Now’ … is ~900. If youfrom early 2010 you will see the number at nearly 6500!
So … what happened?
Basically the world has changed and destroyed the premise that made Goozex so successful. How? Three main ways:
- Game companies declared ‘used games the enemy’ – suddenly we had EA with ‘Project $10’ requiring used game buyers to pay $10 for online access, Sony selling $15 online passes, and so on. Your used game was instantly worth less than before.
- PC gaming has shifted to digital – and digital authentication. – Even if you buy a disc copy, chances are you will activate through Steam or Origin in order to play. These services make re-download easy, but also making trading the game impossible. For all practical purposes, PC game trading is completely dead.
- Non-transferrable DLC reduces value of used games – when you buy a new high-profile game such as Borderlands 2, you get a bunch of content in the box that would otherwise cost extra money, and over time you might have the option to buy more. With a used game you get nothing – and buying the stuff that was included with the new release is generally not cost effective.
And yes, these things have happened in the last couple of year and are largely responsible for killing the trading volume of a site like Goozex (or GameTZ for that matter). I am sure that folks at EA and Ubisoft applaud this shift – and might believe that every trade took away a sale. But for many folks, the ability to cheaply and legally sample from a franchise at a low cost eventually turned into full-priced sales that would never have happened without the 100 point trade on Goozex.
So it is very much a shame … but it seems that the big game companies will get what they wanted – I just doubt it will have the results they planned.