Gaboom Game Swapping Service – Review

It always annoys me when I go to part exchange my video games at the local Gamestation, CEX or whoever as the exchange rate is never that great (which then gets even more annoying as you watch them stick a hefty price back on your game when it goes back to the shelf). I’ve always thought that rather than get back a fiver for an old game I’d rather just swap it with someone who wants it and actually get a game I’m after. It’s one of the reasons game swapping websites have always interested me but I have never used one until now.

Not long ago I heard rumblings of a new game swapping service called Gaboom. It seems over the last month the website has been getting a lot more attention thanks to the appearance of it’s founder Jessica Ratcliffe on Dragon’s Den. I didn’t watch the episode but read some of the stories around it and I know that one of the Dragon’s told Jessica to go back to University. I’m glad Jessica has ignored that ‘useful advice’ and has continued to chase her dream as a) We could do with some more dreamers in the UK and b) after using the website I think there’s a lot of potential there.

The web site is a breeze to use. You register your details and then add the games you want to swap and the condition they’re in (i.e new and unopened, nearly new or not so new). There are a couple of check boxes to specify whether you want to swap or sell or both. You have the option of entering the price of how much you’re willing to sell your game for (as I was only interested in swapping I didn’t use this feature). A notes box is provided if you want to put in any additional information about the game (i.e box damaged or no instructions) which is a good idea as it gives people an idea of what they’re getting.

We now come onto the most important part of the screen the ‘Ways in which I will swap’ box. Here you can select from three different options which will be how the swapping will be handled. I’ve listed these below.

Forum Exchange

Users contact each other directly, to agree on postage

Having agreed on delivery details, users post their games to each other.

I decided against this one but I did think after I had swapped with a particular user a few times then perhaps I would consider using this option with that person as it’s free.

Gaboom Escrow

Each user pays £20 (£2.00 service charge, £18.00 for deposit) to use the GaBoom Escrow and authorises an insurance deposit.

Both users’ credit card details are held until the transaction is complete.

Users post their games via Recorded Delivery.

If a user doesn’t receive his/her game, they can check to see if the other party has sent it. If they have sent the game and it was lost in the post, the user is compensated by the couriers insurance.

If the other party did not send the game, GaBoom transfers their insurance deposit to the user missing their game by way of compensation.

When users receive their games, their credit card details are deleted from the GaBoom Escrow and no deposit is taken.

This seems a solid and secure option but as I don’t tend to have £20 laying around (although you do get the £18 refunded once the transaction is complete) to put towards securing a second-hand game I decided not to use this option but I could see it working well for some. It also works out slightly cheaper (once the deposit comes back) than the final option.

Secure Swap

Once both users have paid their £4.40 to use the Secure Swap Service, they post their games to GaBoom’s P.O Box address. Here, the games are paired and sent on.

If a user’s new game is not received, their old game is not sent on. Instead, their game is returned to them and they are refunded the cost of the service.

This was the option I went with and it went off without a hitch. I added a few games and specified that I wanted to swap them only. I then set up a wish list for the games I was after. The nice thing here is that you have the option to click the ‘match me’ button to immediately check if any games on your wishlist are available to be swapped against the games you have in your swap list.

To begin with nothing was coming back so I left it for a few days and then got an email telling me that someone was interested in swapping my copy of Infamous for Fifa 10. It told me that the next stage was to pay £4.40  for the secure swap service. This is where things fell down slightly for me in that I made my payment for the secure swap and was just sitting and waiting for the other user to make their payment.  I happened to look at my account a day or so later and discovered that the user had made the payment a few days ago. I had gotten so used to getting email updates that I assumed I would get an email informing me that the payment had been made by my counterpart and we were ready to go to the next stage. I did raise this issue this with Jessica and the response was a positive one.

“Our system doesn’t send automated payment emails just yet, but we are working on that feature right now and it will be added very soon!  As I believe they are vital.” – Jessica Ratcliffe

Anyway despite this hiccup I posted off my game (via record delivery at a reasonable £1.70) and waited. A few days later I got an email telling me that my new swapped game was on it’s way and it arrived  the next day. The disk looked like it had being given a good play but it work perfectly. Perhaps in the future if the site continues to expand it might be an idea to have a process where depending on the option you’ve chosen Gaboom can check the games being swapped are checked to ensure they’re working. Of course it’s still early days but something worth considering. I would also like to see how the site deals with repeat swapping offenders (i.e users always sending games late or failing to send games etc)

I noticed there is a user rating system on the site so I’m sure , like ebay, as time goes on you’ll start to have  known and trusted users on the site and then I guess more people will be using  for the forum exchange option.

I’ve always been worried about using a swapping site for the simple reason that I’m never sure I’m actually going to get the game i’ve swapped or someone will actually send the game as promised. The Gaboom team have recognized this fear and have gone to great lengths to ensure that your game is protected as much as possible until the exchange is complete. By giving people various exchange options it helps to cater for those willing to take a risk right up to those who want as much security as money can buy.

I know there are another game swapping sites out there but as I haven’t used them I can’t do a compare and contrast (but I may do at a later date). In the meantime I plan to use Gaboom again. The website is easy to use, the security options varied and would readily recommend anyone interested in swapping some games to give them a try. I also love the fact that rather than being set up by some faceless, corporate entity  the heart of this site is Jessica who is just a gamer/geek with a crazy idea who got off her ass and worked to make it a reality. For that reason alone Gaboom is worth checking out, although it does help that the site is actually pretty darn good.

GS Reviewer: Nuge

Source: Gaboom

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One comment

  1. Woah woah woah….. swapping InFamous for Fifa 10…. I hope you completed Infamous a fair few times and all the side missions….. no but seriously, this a wicked concept, like you I’m never impresseed by part exchange prices, I remember I parted exchanged Heavy Rain and Killzone 2 and I got £36… Heavy Rain was about a week old as I’d completed it and I got £28 and the Killzone 2 got me £8, bearing in mind it was a limited edition in a tin case… but I needed the cash at the time and with Heavy Rain now having Move incorporated, I so wish I hadn’t got rid of it, cos even now trying to buy it pre-owned it’s selling for about £28… so this gaming swapping site appears it could a god send.

    This sort of site is right up my street, cos as you know Nuge, I’m a bit of game horder, and I think I must have about 40+ PS3 games which I just don’t play, so I think I’m gonna have to go through my games and see what I can swap…..

    Also will have a look at the website and unless they do it already I might have a possible suggestion….

    But hey cheers for this nugget of information very very useful….

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