Exclusive: first look at digital game trade-ins

Behind the scenes with Green Man Gaming, the service that could change the way gamers purchase their games.

By Kikizo Staff, May 7, 2010

What about after install? Will I need to be permanently connected to the internet to play?

No. Basically, once you’ve installed a game you’ll need to be connected online at some point every three days, so the game can touch base with the server. Unless you like to spend weeks at a time playing NecroVision on the slopes of Ben Nevis, it’s not going to be a problem. So if you’re playing on the train home or on a flight, it won’t matter that you have no internet connection. Unless you’re flying to Mars.

But why use DRM at all? It just gets in my way.

It’s a necessary evil. Publishers want to protect their products from piracy so they can stay in business, you want them to stay in business so they can carry on making their products. Tit for tat. Besides, DRM isn’t inherently ‘bad’. It’s only ‘bad’ if it’s done badly. Steam and iTunes are examples of DRM software that gets it right.

All righty then. I’ve bought my game, A Farewell to Dragons. I’ve played it. It sucks. I want another one. How do I trade it in?

Have you got the client window or website open? See the ‘trade in’ button on the game page under the box art? Click that. Done.

Can I sell a game back for cash?

No, just credit. They want you to keep buying GMG games, not throwing your money away on frivolities like food and the rent.

Help! The client just crashed.

Yeah, it’s bound to be a little buggy at first. Steam wasn’t exactly hiccup-free from the get-go, as players of Half-Life 2 will recall. But there’s an upside.

What’s that?

Well, reporting a bug will bag you a ticket to a £1000 prize draw. It’s one of those special launch promotions. We’ve been trying to make our clients explode all day, to no avail. GMG is keen to get the early adopters of the serviced involved in helping to improve it from the word go.

OK. But I don’t live in the UK.

That’s fine. Anyone can use the service. It will be localized into other territories, starting with North America, very soon – but it can still be used anywhere from launch, the currency will just be in pounds sterling initially.

OK, so what else.

Well for one thing, GMG could mean that certain unreleased games will be put on to the service that would otherwise never have seen the light of day, due to deals fallen through between publishers and developers. GMG reckons it’s quite likely some gems will be discovered first on its service. They’re also quite pleased with their proper customer phone support line. Oh, and they’re launching with a big promotion of one-penny games, which can also be traded in for a higher value. So that’s nice.

Cool, I guess. OK, I’m pretty interested now.

Yeah, we are too. After all, what’s the point in having a digital collection of loads of games you may never have any intention of playing again, gathering virtual dust, when you can trade them in for new (or simply alternative) games? As we hinted earlier, GMG has a patent protecting the digital game trade-in concept, so we think it’s quite likely to be rather a big deal.

There’s a quite a bit more to GMG that’s still under wraps for the time being, but we think gamers – and the games industry at large – is about to hear a lot more about Green Man Gaming. And it’s been our pleasure to be the first to tell you more about it. Stay tuned to Video Games Daily for more.

It launches this Sunday – click here to go to the GMG website..

3 Responses to “Exclusive: first look at digital game trade-ins”

  1. Ic4ruz says:

    This is going to be awesome!

    I mean seriously if it’s done right it is a win-win-win situation.

  2. Brush says:

    Good concept, and also, terrible

    why digital trade-ins won’t be coming to any existing digital retailers any time soon (hint: it might have something to do with a patent on the entire concept).

    1) This ^ Is rubbish, for one it means they have a monopoly to control your trade in price, and hence the whole thing turns into a crock of shit for the consumer, a market for selling changes to whatever trinket price they want to offer. The bad thing for them is done like this it won’t catch on.

    2) This ^^ Is rubbish, publishers control their sales rights, and your liscence that they sell you when you buy a game. Such a liscence agreement is probably legally a lot tighter than this patent, and i’m sure overrides them being able to sell their wares second hand on any internet portal they choose.

    The only chance of making money for this site is if a bigger site wants to buy them out for the patent. But their flaw is steam and co could get round that so easily they really would not bother buying unless they get a valuable, customer rich site out of the bargain…and…i don’t think that’ll happen. Good luck to them n all….in general the concept of 2nd hand digital sales is a great one, and at least this starts the ball rolling, am sure it won’t be too long before steam and co follow suit.

  3. Brush says:

    Erm, I’m obviously looking at the negatives there….there are a few. Not that I wouldn’t want a patent etc if i was doing the same thing, it makes sense to protect your business, it just also goes against the principles of how a 2nd hand market should work.

    But, i suppose if it catches on, it’ll make the publishers sit up and listen.


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