Mooch is a new video game trading site looking to help users trade games directly with each other, allowing them to bypass middleman stores like GameStop and save money in the process. Depending on how new and popular the games being traded are, members can expect to save as much as $30 per trade, and simply have to mail their games to each other after establishing a trade on the site.
Mooch uses an automated system to calculate the value of each game, taking into account factors including its lowest price on Amazon, how old it is, and how popular it as. Each game is assigned a point value (new games seem to be around 200-300 points each), and to trade for a game you need to offer something of the same value, or buy more points to match it. If you come up short you can buy extra points, but they don’t come cheap – they’re around $15 for 100, but the purpose of the service is to encourage trading games, not buying them through a roundabout method.
At this point the market is nearly empty, and won’t become very useful until it can attract a sizable number of users (it’s the classic chicken-and-the-egg problem). To entice users, Mooch is totally free to use during its beta period, with plans to shift to a $20 annual subscription model later on.
The industry may hate it, but video game trading isn’t something that’s going away soon – at least until game downloads with DRM become the norm. And stores like GameStop (and more recently, Amazon) don’t really offer much value to gamers that frequently trade their games, often exchanging games for significantly less than their true market value. Mooch saves users money, but it also comes with its own problems. For one, you have to rely on other members to ship your game promptly, and there’s always the fear that they may never do it at all (though Mooch does appear to guarantee trades, promising to refund with Mooch points should one go awry).
Mooch isn’t the first player in this space, either. SwapTree supports video games, and other sites like the now-defunct PeerFlix and the old Lala tried to swapping models for other forms of media without much success.