Jessica Ratcliffe was a young girl of 15 when she came up with an idea for a web site where gamers could swap games in a way that made the transaction fair and kept costs low. Five years later, after being set back a couple of times, she’s had the tenacity to get the idea off the ground even while at university. It’s clear Europe needs entrepreneurs like Ratcliffe.
GaBoom (@GaBoomTweet) is a user-to-user video game exchange which has now launched into open beta. Last night Ratcliffe appeared on prime-time TV show Dragon’s Den, but we caught up with her in a video interview above, just before the show to get the low-down on Gaboom.
On Gaboom, gamers swap their games in a simple way through an automatic user-matching system and two secure and insured postage options. If anything goes in the exchange wrong they get monetary compensation.
It’s already lead the site to pick up in traffic as the site is clearly now picking up on a big trend.
The potential market consists of the 74 million video games which lie unused in homes across the UK. That’s led to over 12 million people in the UK buying their games second-hand. The trouble is, pre-owned games can cost up to £30 in high street shops, about the same a new, which is why game exchange sites are flourishing.
Traditional game exchange websites rely on a points based systems but tend to lack any security during transactions.
In-store trade-in schemes from stores like HMV and the Game Group are attempting to capitalise on the trend. The pre-owned game market accounted for over 25% of the Game Group PLC¹s
annual revenue in 2009, jumping from 18% in 2008.
But no main player has emerged so far.
EA are proposing to issue licenses for games that can be played online, such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour but if you try to play it with a second hand game you’ll have to play somewhere around $10 extra. This could raise the cost of pre-owned games.