Video game companies are pushing back hard against gamers being able to trade and sell their legally purchased titles. With the launch of new consoles over the holiday season, this fight boiled over as gamers complained loudly about next gen systems having anti-copy protection built in that prevents them from playing used games on the systems unless a license was purchased. I recently interviewed LeapTrade founder Tony Caputo about this and other issues related to the current state of gaming. LeapTrade is a website that allows gamers to trade games and sell games directly to each other.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your background and what your day-to-day duties are at LeapTrade?
Hi, my name is Tony Caputo, and I’m the President of LeapTrade. I run the day-to-day operations, making sure things are running smoothly and everyone is happy. I’ve been a gamer since I was little, and can still remember going over to my friend’s house just to play The Legend of Zelda all day. I only had a Sega at home, so of course I had to find someone with an NES, couldn’t miss out on that.
What exactly is LeapTrade?
LeapTrade is a used-game trading site that allows players to trade games with other players in a secure environment. Trades are only $3.49 for shipping when sending a game, and it’s always free shipping when receiving a game, with all trades guaranteed. We are the only site that allows you the flexibility to trade for LeapTrade credit, straight game for game, or trade directly with your friends. LeapTrade is the single most cost-effective way to get a used game while still having a company backing the trade.
Game trading is a crowded field. What separates LeapTrade from Gamestop, Best Buy, Amazon.com, etc?
While all of these guys are competitors with each other, they are not LeapTrade’s competitors. They give you a little bit of money for your used title, a fraction of what it’s really worth. They all have two prices for each game, the price they sell it to you for, and a much lower price for your trade-in. LeapTrade is different: We give you the full value of your used title when you trade in. On LeapTrade there is one price for your game. LeapTrade lets you trade directly with your fellow gamers, and all trades are backed by the LeapTrade guarantee that protects you the whole way.
With the other retailers, you are lucky to get $25 for a game that’s worth $60, and with LeapTrade you get the full value towards a new game. That money really starts to add up, with the typical gamer saving over $300 a year. That’s almost an entire new console, or half a console if you want a Kinect.
Can you talk a little bit about the game industry’s attitude towards reselling games?
I think the game industry is going through a new set of growing pains. We’ve seen the recent DRM fiasco with the next gen consoles, and the subsequent backlash from the gaming community. We’ve also seen this year Electronic Arts getting rid of their Online Pass, which forced used game buyers to pay an extra fee if they wanted online multiplayer on EA games. I know I’m not alone in thinking that when I shell out $60 for a game I should be able to lend it out, trade it to a friend, or trade it in towards another game. It seems like such a waste to leave a perfectly good game on the shelf after I’m done playing it.
That’s why we created LeapTrade. To let players trade in the games they are done with so they can get games that are new to them, without having to spend $60 on each game. There are a lot of great games out there that deserve to be shared with someone else, they are too valuable to be stuck sitting on a shelf collecting dust.
It strikes me as odd that game companies are the only industry that seems to think they should get a piece of the pie every time one of their products is resold…
Agreed, you don’t see car manufacturers trying to lock each car sold to its owner and that’s the only person who could ever drive it. I’m trying to imagine a world like that and it would be ridiculous. What’s next, are controllers going to be locked to one person too? Where we can’t bring them to a friend’s house to play some co-op? It’s like with iTunes where we no longer own the music we bought. Why do we put up with this? None of this is for our benefit, it’s like we let it happen to us little by little and turn a blind eye to how unfair it is to all of us.