The Death of 99Gamers
99Gamers is officially dead. Games are no longer able to be listed and as of yesterday (May 24th) the site is offline. Join one member of The Gamers Lounge as he reflects back on the site and asks what went wrong? Was this another Goozex? Just why was 99Gamers so popular in the beginning?
Honestly, the site was dead about a year ago when the people in charge of the site stopped really caring. Here is a little history on the site: 99Gamers came out of an idea on Reddit and was first in beta in 2012. It was found by the Kruzeniski brothers. They were tired of getting ripped off at GameStop. They planned to have games traded for virtual currency. The idea of the site was a free market and in the beginning it was open to North American traders. They would have a guarantee in place and everything traded would require a tracking number.
From 2012-2014, I felt like the site was booming. I traded all sorts of games. Coins were traded for the most part at $1 per coin. I scored some great deals on retro games, PC Big Box games and new releases. I felt this site could take the place of and fix the mistakes that Goozex had run into. The site was running monthly contests via Twitter, was all over Reddit in a good way, people were promoting it on YouTube, and there were reviews of the site and how it came to be. They purchased the old Goozex.com domain and re-directed it to 99Gamers. They were growing and more people were joining the site. One of the problems Goozex had was recruiting new people.
There are a few articles where I raved about the site in 2014; telling people there were far better options than GameStop and Best Buy. By the end of 2014, it seemed like the site could do no wrong. The few problems I had with trades were quickly taken care of. There were guides on the forums for new users on how to list and ship games.
This is where things started to go downhill. Looking back, I wonder if the founders just needed to see growth for a few years and then they were planning to sell the site. I revisited game trading options in 2015. I covered some of the changes to the site and why it may not be the best option. Coins had dropped to $0.75 per coin. The forums had been removed in 2015, trading had been opened to beyond North America and now gamers could trade anything with the addition of the "everything else" section.
At this point, the site was still usable but people had started to leave. I personally started to keep my coin balance under 50 for fear of losing the coins. Forums had been removed by mid-2015 because 99Gamers community members were expressing concern on the inflation of coins and where the site was going. You can’t have any negativity if you want to keep the site growing. People took to Reddit to complain, but were mostly ignored.
Here’s an interesting statistic to ponder in all of this. By mid-2015, there was almost 10,000 items listed to trade; granted, this number was a lot lower than a year ago. By May 2016, less than 1000 items were listed as available and people had everything marked up to terrible prices. Want a new release? 300 coins or more. A $10 DVD might be listed at 70 coins or more. Nintendoage has an interesting thread about some of these changes.
So the big question is what happened and what went wrong? The site was not another Goozex, and while it’s initial growth was bigger than Goozex, 99Gamers never had the community that Goozex had or the support of the founders Goozex had. My guess is the site was supposed to be around for a few years and then they were turning to other projects. The founders of 99Gamers stopped caring, they made their money from the site and were looking to get out. While Goozex may have been sold, 99Gamers is just going to fade away and people’s coins will just cease to exist.
I think one of the reasons the site was so popular in the beginning is that people were looking for another game trading option outside of eBay, GameStop, etc. Social media contributed to the site’s initial success. Having a place to easily trade digital PC games also was very appealing. The site even posted on Goozex’s forums throughout 2012 encouraging people to check out the site when it was in Beta as another option to trade games.
In the end, 99Gamers lasted from mid-2012 to about mid-2016, whereas Goozex lasted from 2006 to the end of 2013. That being said, while I enjoyed my time with 99Gamers the last few years, I am sad to see one of the game trading sites close, even if it became one of my last resorts to dump games in the end. Too bad it had to end this way. RIP 99Gamers.
*If you are looking to get your coins back, there is a Reddit thread that is looking into this. It can be found here.