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Second hand games: can ValuValu help consumers get more for their used titles.

By on March 9, 2009
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From TechCrunch’s elevator pitch comes news of ValuValu, a Seattle start-up that aims to bring sophisticated revenue-management techniques to the selling of video games.

Founded by 2 former Microsoft employees, the site is based on the same premise used by hotels and airlines to maximise revenue for the airlines by using a dynamic pricing model. The ValuValu team argue that dynamic pricing both reduces prices for buyers and maximises revenue for sellers through ensuring that products get sold at close to their current “clearing price” in the market.

A test shows Call of Duty 4 available on ValuValu for $35.83, versus $40 for a second-hand copy from Amazon. Shipping is $4.50 from ValuValu, $3.99 from Amazon.

ValuValu charges sellers 5% as a transaction fee (but zero for local “pickup” transactions”, and claims in its pitch that it can increase by 7% (which sounds pretty paltry to me). It seems unlikely to take off as a mainstream alternative to taking your game back to GAME for its trade-in value.

But since there is no guesswork for the best price and no artificial deadline like in an ebay auction, it could be very useful for independent retailers trying to build and manage an viable online trade-in business.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • That’s a very valid point. For an independent retailer selling 200 units a week at an average price of £25 each, that could equate to an additional £350 of pure profit a week (or £18,200 a year).

    Of course, the argument falls down if ValuValue charges 5%. Then the uplift is only effectively 2%, reducing the numbers above to £100 and £5,200, which may not be worth given the smaller reach of ValuValue than a site like ebay or Amazon.

  • John

    If you make a 15% margin selling a product, and if they can increase revenue by 7% as they say, then it represents 50% more profit… not paltry to me.