Waygoz, a new social network targeted at gamers, encourages them to play more used games, but it wants to cut out the middleman of the used-game retailer altogether. The secondary market for video games has become a monstrous profit machine. Used video games make up about 25% of game retailer Gamestop’s sales, but account for almost half of its annual profits, according to an analysis by The PA Report. Game developers are upset about the retail situation as well, which Gamestop and Best Buy dominate. Industry veteran David Braben, founder of Frontier Developments, recently told Gamasutra that the secondary market was responsible for some games dying on the cutting room floor.“In some cases, it’s killed them dead.
I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won’t reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the resales,” Braben said. “But it’s killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day-one sales are it, making them super high-risk.” Waygoz hopes to change that, introducing a tool that allows gamers to connect with others online to swap their used games.
“Our idea was that gamers already have great networks,” says Waygoz product manager Josh Kerbel. “There’s no need to give money away.” On the service, gamers can create accounts, show what games they have for trade, and create wish lists for games they really want to play. The system asks for users’ zip codes, so it can show how close they are to other users for easy trades. “We really want the users to get off the couch, get out of their house, and build friendships with other gamers,” says Kerbel. He added that Waygoz tries to encourage its users to be as active as possible to grow trust in the community, which he thinks encourages people to swap more.
In its beta form, Waygoz was open to users in Toronto, Canada. It had 1,500 users, a small sample, but 500 swaps occurred during the trial period. Wednesday night Waygoz opened its doors to all other markets. Users’ accounts are linked to their real identities to increase transparency. Also, every user has a community rating – a sort of trustworthiness metric – next to his or her profile. The site even suggests public locations for gamers to meet, like fast food chains and coffee shops. The other benefit is that gamers can learn about titles they’ve never played before, and see what other gamers are saying on each game’s page. For anyone who has missed out on classic titles, it’s a good chance to pick up suggestions. (By Chelsea Stark from www.mashable.com )