On Monday Night, Waygoz celebrated the launch of their free online service that offers gamers a new way to trade video games.
Waygoz.com is essentially a social network designed for the sole purpose of finding gamers in your locality for arranging trades. Even in its current iteration, limited to the Greater Toronto Area, and with a ‘Beta’ tag slapped on the logo, it’s a rather accomplished product.
Once signed up, gamers input their zip code and define the radius they’re willing to travel to meet fellow swappers. By building a ‘Have’ list of the games they’re willing to trade, and a ‘want’ list of the what they’re currently seeking, the trading process is streamlined to its most efficient, as users are presented with ‘swapportunities’ arranged by proximity when they click on a title.
Gamers who are so inclined can declare that they’ll consider any offer, and since each game is assigned a monetary value (apparently by an algorithm that searches “prices across the internet and retail”) gamers can rest assured they’re getting a good deal, but it’s a detail that can be ignored if you’re happy with your trade. If you just want to browse through what’s in your area, that feature is available too, and can be filtered by platform and genre.
There are plenty of nice touches – anonymity is always a concern when arranging trades, so users are encouraged to use their real names (with the option of initialising their surname), given a choice of disclosing their cell-numbers when arranging trades (unchecked by default), and build an eBay-style rating from community feedback.
That’s about it, in its current iteration – an elegant trading solution that’s totally free to gamers. So what’s in it for Waygoz? When quizzed on the business model at the recent launch event, creator Jean-Paul Rehr pointed to the growing games industry (over $60bn yearly worldwide), and the $3bn used-game market, and the value that an engaged group of core consumers present – both in terms of putting ads in front of their eyeballs, and the wealth of marketing data that such a site will generate. He was coy on on the next major milestones that are coming down the pipeline, but I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see more social features, as well as a direct-selling option (they’re collecting too much price-data to not plan on leveraging it, and at the event, they had the infrastructure in place to process credit and debit cards when selling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3).
For a startup, Waygoz come across as rather hubristic (as the above graphic illustrates), placing GameStop squarely in their crosshairs in most of their promotional materials, imploring gamers to “Stop being ripped off” by them. Honestly? I’m backing David in this battle. They have a great platform. All they have to do now is get the attention of a critical mass of gamers to make it a viable one.