Aftermarket video games are a hot business. The discussion around trading games with friends with this new digital movement is always a hot topic. I grew up trading games with friends, and even now I always attempt to purchase my games physically if given the option. Trading sites are nothing new; there have been several cropping up over the last few years. I recently got a chance to test drive one of the relatively newer entries called LeapTrade. Their motto is that the site was designed by gamers for gamers, which is of course a blanket statement, but after spending some time with it, I tend to agree.
Most of these sites let gamers trade their unwanted titles between users, but LeapTrade does a few things uniquely, with their system for trading and requesting games being the most prominent. It works as a sort of progression system, almost like its own mini-game.
Bidding or requesting a game is easy. First I cycled through the systems, and then I could search independently to find the game I wanted. It would then display what was available, including differentiating from being complete in box, or disc only, as well as how many copies of each were available. If there were none I was put on a request list, and others could see what games were being requested when they decided to trade theirs in. This part is really cool.
When someone goes to trade in a game, if it is currently requested, a match is made immediately. Once a match is found it starts a timer that ticks down giving the seller 24 hours to accept the offer, whether it is trade credit or another game. Once confirmed the progress bar starts moving and users are able to track the game from leaving the post office, to arriving at their door. It is a great system. To confirm the trade I left feedback, which completes the bar. This is genius. This actually encourages feedback, thus giving the seller more marks on their rating, so you know who is a reliable seller.
There is also a forum and messaging system so users can request games, or note issues about the ones they have traded or received. I found the community very helpful, and extremely responsive. The only issues I had was when a user has a rating of zero my game requests were usually ignored.
Trading in games is just as simple. I started by doing a search for the game in their database. Once found it gave me a trade-in value, and let me decide what condition it was in. It doesn’t matter, I still got the same value; it was mostly to inform anyone purchasing it what they were getting. I could also see how many requests there were for the game I was offering up, which meant if there was someone looking for the title, I was matched immediately.
Once matched the site would let me print out a shipping label to attach to the bubble mailer. All shipping costs $3.49 and can only be done through their system. There is no way to use any other form of shipping. This is to make sure the user on the other end can track the progress through their system.
There are two ways to get compensation for your trades. The first is of course the flat rate, which is deposited into your account upon the person receiving the game leaving feedback upon its arrival, which again forces them to update that progress bar. You can also trade game for game, which is actually pretty cool. Being able to swap new releases with other users means more bang for the gaming buck.
The infrastructure is here, the community is superb, but LeapTrade doesn’t come without flaws, some of their own making, and others from lack of exposure. The first is the filtering system. While it does its job, I would have liked more variety, such as being able to filter more price ranges. The search works well, but when I am inside a system, I want more options to filter on.
Outside of that I have become a user. I am trading games with users, and getting some great titles in return. Building my retro library and feeling good that the people getting my games/credit are just other enthusiasts such as myself. I definitely recommend LeapTrade for game trading. It is a user-friendly community, and the service so far has been outstanding. I hope to see it grow into a much larger force as the years go on.
Editor’s Note: We were given credit to test out the site and its functionalities.