Peer-to-peer business models are rising as an important feature of the collaborative economy we are living in nowadays. According to Glind (2015), we are moving towards a situation where the majority of people uses online and offline marketplaces for economic transactions. People will get what they need from other individuals, because it is often faster and more convenient. An advantage of these marketplaces is that to avoid trust implications they are very transparent in their process and how they earn money.
99gamers proves that these marketplaces can be used in virtually any category. They call themselves ‘the free video game trading community’, where you can sell unwanted video games to other members for a virtual currency. By creating a platform where members can sell games directly to each other they have cut out the middleman. Currently they have over $2.2 million worth of video games exchanged and over 110,000 listings. (Angel, 2016)
The platform works as a free market, where sellers choose their prices and buyers can choose who they want to buy the video games from. They offer virtual trading around the world, with physical trading options in the US and Canada. The virtual currency that is used on 99gamers is called ‘coins’ and can be spend to buy video games from others. (99gamers, 2016) When a buyers wants a videogame they select a deal and pay 99gamers through the virtual currency. Sellers and buyers can both track the game during the delivery process and once the buyer has tested the game, the seller will then receive the ‘coins’ from 99gamers.
The 3-step process of selling video games is very easy:
First, you add the video games that you no longer play on the platform by selecting the video games condition and price. The system will notify you by email when you have found a buyer.
Secondly, you will have to ship the video game to the buyer. 99gamers will help you through the process if you need help with this. The shipping costs are always for the sender, so when you buy new video games with your earned ‘coins’ the shipping costs even out.
Last, you receive the coins for your sell and can use them to buy new video games with.
The use of a virtual currency is very interesting and has many pros and cons. Drawbacks of this currency could be exchange limitations, because of taxes or other regulations. Another major con is the security of the currency, hackers and other can constantly attempt to disrupt the system. Last, it is still a grey area if it comes to regulations and taxes, meaning sources from outside the company may limit the system in the future.
The main reason to use it is to provide global connectivity, which is a key feature for the community. Also, it is very efficient for many small scale payments and can help to enhance the brand and customer relationship of 99gamers. Current members of the community are more likely to actively keep participating in buying and selling games. Last, since there is a virtual currency involved instead of cash, there are fewer incentives for members doing something unsafe. (Stalnaker, 2011; 99gamers, 2016)