PostalGamer Offers Used Game Sales Kickback to Publishers

August 15, 2011 -

A new used games reseller named PostalGamer thinks that it has the secret sauce that will keep gamers who want to buy used games and publishers who claim that their sale cuts into their profits, both happy. The company plans to distribute games in self-addressed postage paid envelopes much like Netflix and GameFly to customers. When the customer is done with the game they'll mail it back to them, get credit from PostalGamer, and spend it on another game that arrives in the mail 2-3 days later, along with another envelope. The prices they will get for trade-ins will supposedly higher than what GameStop offers, and the prices they pay to trade in for another game will be less, because the company (claims) keeps its overhead cost low by not operating storefronts.

The unique part of PostalGamer's business model is that it wants to kick 10 percent or so of each of these "sales" to the game's original publisher. In exchange for this money a publisher that cooperates helps to promote the service. PostalGamer says that a cooperative publisher might even include the envelope in their new games. PostalGamer was put together by its CEO Mike Kennedy and his business partner, Steve Sawyer. Kennedy is also the man behind GameGavel, an auction site dedicated to buying and selling video games, like eBay.

"Everyone thought I was nuts taking on somebody like that. And I probably am a little bit crazy, but I'd used eBay forever, and just got sick and tired of the high fees and everything else," Kennedy told Gamasutra in a recent interview.

While GameGavel has been running for around four years, the company has only brought in around $300,000 in revenue. Kennedy is fine with that because it allowed him to hire Sawyer as a part-time employee. Sawyer encouraged him to tackle the used games business in a prominent way, which is how PostalGamer came into existence.

"It's like the publishers have been forced into a situation where they're almost penalizing gamers for using the secondary market," Sawyer says.

Kennedy says that he is already developing a system with Bastian Solutions, a company that specializes in fulfillment centers. Its clientele includes Netflix, game distributor Jack of All Games and GameStop. Kennedy and Sawyer have also assembled a board of directors that includes Subdued Software's Phil Adam (who you may know better as the former president of both Spectrum HoloByte and Interplay and the former chairman of the Software Publishers Association).

"He really believes in this concept as well, and has really opened up a lot of publisher doors to us, because he knows everybody He knows all the execs and owners of about every publisher that there is," says Kennedy.

Kennedy says publishers will get a quarterly check (around $6 to $8 a game out of the $15 gross per title he expects). If publishers accept the money and cooperate to promote their service the duo says that they will give publishers and even bigger piece of that pie.

"The feedback has been very very positive, but...nobody wants to be first," claims Kennedy.

Sawyer claims that a big publisher (who he wouldn't name) said to him that "the idea was attractive," but said they were unwilling to take the initiative to be the first to publicly commit to what would be considered a slap in the face of GameStop.

"It just takes them a certain amount of time to process something like this, especially something that originally they never ever considered they'd ever get a piece of. So it's just a completely new concept to them," Kennedy says.

One way the PostalGamer founders are trying to sweeten the deal is by offering data on secondary sales. The company is developing a tracking system that can give publishers data on how often its games are being resold, where it's being resold, and how long someone holds on to a title before chucking it in the mail, etc.

"You look at a game like Mirror's Edge. I think that the likelihood of that game getting a sequel is probably slim to none at this point. But I know for a fact from a lot of people who work at GameStop...that the game sells really well on the secondhand market," Sawyer says. "So you're looking at a situation where it's theoretically possible that all the income that they generate from the secondhand benefits could maybe justify keeping a franchise alive."

PostalGamer currently has no publisher support even as its official website has a soft launch this week. Kennedy tells Gamasutra that its trade-in program will begin later this year, and the company will do it with or without anyone on board.

Source: Gamasutra


Comments

Re: PostalGamer Offers Used Game Sales Kickback to Publishers

execs have been bitching and moaning and complaining about used games and as soon as someone offers up what they've been whining for, no one wants to jump on board?  seriously?

Re: PostalGamer Offers Used Game Sales Kickback to Publishers

They're more intent on using it as an excuse to make games more restrictive. If someone removes that argument, it hurts their real cause.

Personally, I still think the idea of paying publishers for used game purchases is a bad idea. The business has been around since the first home video games have been sold. The only reason it's such a major problem now is because the time span that a person gets bored with a game from when they purchase it is anywhere between a few hours to a couple of days. The reason for this is because there's more of a focus on making a game graphically appealing that there's nothing there apart from a ( often poorly conceived) multiplayer and a slapped on single player aka, the old focus on style over substance.

The best way to really solve the issue of used game sales cutting into profits is to make games that people actually want to keep beyond a few hours. And yes, that can be done without going into extreme budget increases. It's a lot more effective than treating anyone that wants to get a good deal for their games as the enemy.

 
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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
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InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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