I hear that thar GOOZEX is better than GameStop?

UPDATE 11/11/2009: For a little while now, trade credits have been renamed to “TOKENS” in order to distinguish them from “POINTS” that the games cost. Other than that, the rest of this article is still pretty much the same!

note that this is a longer post than usual, but it’s all good information. plus I tried to split it up logically, if you would rather skip around.

You may have heard about this new fangled thing called “Goozex.” You may have heard from people who love it more than GameStop, or GameCrazy. But what is Goozex? How does Goozex work?

Well, if you want the details straight from the trusted source themselves, check out the companie’s website. But sometimes that’s not enough – so, even though I’ll be doing similar things, let me try and give you the full break down, as someone with some experience.

How a trade works:
You want to get a game:
“Buying” a game will use one “trade credit” (explained later).
You list games you WANT in a queue. You wait patiently in line until someone offers the game up for trade. If someone else has offered the game already, and you are first in line, then you can get the game almost instantly (this works well for older titles, like PS1, Xbox, Gamecube games). Once the right conditions are met (1: you have enough points, 2: someone is offering the game, 3: you are next in line to request the game) you are matched.
Once matched, the “seller” must accept or reject the trade. They have 2 24 hour periods in which to do this. If, after 48 hours, they do not accept the trade (or if they reject the trade) you are moved to the next “seller” in the que. SPECIAL NOTE: While it can be a long wait, waiting the full 48 hours ensures that the same “long wait” doesn’t happen to anyone else – if a “seller” does not accept or reject the trade in the allotted time, the game is removed from their “offered” list.

You have a game you want to trade away:
“Selling” a game costs you the expense of shipping
You list games you own and want to trade in a queue. If it is an unpopular game, and a lot of people are offering it, it can be hard to get rid of, and you may see the “point value” of the game fluxuate, but with patience, your game will be traded to someone else. Once you are matched with a “buyer” it is your job to ship the game – most preferably within 3 days. You do have to shell out the shipping costs (and will hopefully, at the very least, use a bubble envelope or some sort of protective packaging). The good news is, shipping costs have to be paid by the other sellers, too – nobody can charge you an unreasonable shipping fee (ala eBay).

It’s pretty easy, so far, right? I mean, there’s a lot of words up above, but you get what I’m saying, nothing out of the ordinary.

So how do POINTS work? The point system has been called flawed by some, but is loved by the majority. The basic formula is that 100 points = $5.00 (United States currency). This seems promising, as the lowest point value for a true game I have seen so far has been 100 points ($5) – meanwhile I have taken 7 games in to GameStop before and been offered less than $15 for the lot. The minimum you would get, here, would be 700 points, or $35 in value. Most new games are set at 1,000 points ($50). So, true, if you go out and buy, let’s say Grand Theft Auto IV, and it costs you $60, and you instantly put it up on Goozex, then you will be losing money. The point is that hopefully you’ve PLAYED your games first, and at least gotten that $10 value out of them. You can also purchase points directly from the Goozex system – with discounts for larger batches of points being purchased. SPECIAL NOTE: let’s say you happen to find a game on sale for $40, but it’s Goozex Value is 1000 points – then you come out ahead! The point system is based on “Supply & Demand” ratios of the Goozex system, not necessarily “fair market value.”
The down side: Game points fluxuate. If you list a game a 1,000 points, but nobody wants it until the price has dropped to 600, you’re stuck with getting 600. If you think that’s too low, you can only do one thing: when you receive notice that the point value of a game has changed, you can choose to de-list your game, or reject any “offers to buy” – same thing goes for raises in point values if you are waiting for a game – you can always remove it from your queue, if you feel that something gets “too rich for your blood.”

What are Trade Credits? What is this $1 per trade thing? Relax, you don’t have to pay to send a game to someone, apart from shipping costs. When you initiate a trade (request a game), you use one of your trade credits. Trade credits are a basic $1 / each, with a minimum purchase of five trades at a time. Again, discounts are given for bulk purchases of trade credits.

What about getting ripped off? Goozex has done some of the best work I’ve seen trying to protect you from that. While no system is perfect, Goozex is constantly revising to try and be fair to everyone.
As a seller, your biggest worry is shipping the game out, then having it reported as bad. This has happened to me. I’m currently in the process of trying to resolve it – my good feedback record will help, and they will ask the buyer to send pictures of the damaged goods TO Goozex, and they will be able to make impartial judgments. If a game is reported missing, then it is up to you to provide some form of tracking information to the contrary, which is why it’s always a good idea to get delivery confirmation, at the very least.
As a buyer, your biggest worry is asking for a game, and never receiving it or receiving a bad copy. This part is fairly easy – you have a certain number of days from the moment yout trade is accepted – at the end of those days, positive feedback is automatically left, so keep an eye on it. Usually with 1 day left is the best time to leave negative feedback, and hopefully you have tried contacting the seller (maybe they honestly forgot to ship it out! We all get side tracked someitmes!).
If you don’t receive the game, you select that box – then you get your points refunded. The rest of the responsability lies with the seller, to prove he or she shipped it out. If you receive a bad disc, a little photographic evidence shipped off to the folks at feedback@goozex.com, and some negative feedback, and you still come out on top.

While I have been in both situations, it has happened to me only one time each (no game received, and a buyer said my game was unplayable and scratched when I shipped it in perfect condition). I let the powers that be have the final say, but over all I have strong faith in the system. For all intents and purposes, I intend to continue to use Goozex for quite a while – it sure beats the $7 for 5 games I’ve been offered at other places, and the rediculous fees and charges of eBay and PayPal. I hope this has helped, and I also hope you consider signing up and using me as your referral – I get a trade credit. Then you can pass your link on to your friends! 🙂

*phew!! So then, I tried to be clear and helpful, but that was a LOT to cover. If you have more questions or need help clarifying something, contact me, or just leave a comment on this post (maybe others have the same question) and I’ll respond to it as soon as I see it!

Re: GamePro: Wii's features "starting to match" others…

“Graphics aside,” it begins, the Wii will finish off 2008 “with a roar that includes features once only thought possible on the PS3 and Xbox 360.” So says a GamePro article. The big reason for this article is highlighting that the recently announced “Call of Duty: World at War” will also be available on the Wii. Exciting? Yes – but is that suggesting that there is some sort of magical “feature” of the Wii, allowing this to happen? No, it just means the developers are willing to take the time to produce lower quality models and textures to port the game to the Wii.

The Wii is, indeed, expanding it’s online support, with more and more multiplayer games (the future CoD:WaW included) slated for release on the system. And yes, even future access to downloadable song packs for games like Guitar Hero World Tour (using the in-game store) are in the works, other DLC for Wii-Ware games, all of this is great news for the Wii.

But is all of this showing that the Wii is really starting to come up to par with the “features” of the other consoles? It all sounds like some heavily dedicated developers not wanting to miss out on a large install-base.

For the Wii to truly “start to match” the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, they are going to need an easier way to manage your contacts and friends, real time voice communication, and a host of other features that Nintendo themselves has no interest in adding to this generation of their product.

20GB PS3? Upgrade your PS3 Hard Drive!

I recall when the Playstaiton 3 launched. The 20GB PS3 was sitting on shelves everywhere, outcast, outfavored by the larger 60GB model. Now, they have the 40 and 80GB models… but this isn’t just about the size of the hard drive. This is the backwards compatability debate. I won’t go in to all of the details: if you’re reading this page, i’m sure you’ve already read all of the details (summary: 20/60GB PS3’s have PS2 hardware inside and should play any PS2 and most PS1 games – the 80GB does it via emulation software – the 40GB doesn’t play PS2 games at all). I, like many, wanted to get the most out of my PS3 purcahse, so I intentionally hunted for a model with hardware backwards compatibility. Now that the 40 and 80GB models are out, the 60GB model (at online auction) are selling for more than the brand new 40’s and, in some cases, even more than a brand new 80GB.

So here’s what you do. Buy yourself a 20GB PS3. Still sometimes more expensive than a retail 40GB, if you’re dedicated enough to auction hunt, you can still get a deal (I got mine for less than $340, shipped). I know, having a 20GB drive isn’t as enticing… where will you store all of your installed game content, downloaded demos, and PSN games? Lucky for you, the PS3 makes it insanely easy to upgrade your hard drive.

First, you need to buy one. Specifically, you need a laptop hard drive, not just one out of your computer. And not just any laptop hard drive, it must be a SATA drive. Then you have other decisions to make – the RPM’s of the hard drive, the capacity, cache size, brand… it sounds expensive, and confusing. Let’s make it easy.

This Drive is cheap, 7,200 RPM (compared to the default 5,400 RPM’s of the PS3’s drive of choice). It’s also 40GB! There, you’ve sped up your 20GB PS3, and doubled the size – for thirty five bucks (less than the cost of a game!). What’s that? Not enough space? You don’t trust no name hardware? Alright… how about this Seagate drive? Seagate is the brand of choice inside many first gen PS3’s. This one is less than fifty bucks, 80GB, and still 7,200 RPM. What are you waiting for?

Oh, you don’t know how? Lucky for you, GamesReports made this extremely easy how-to guide, almost two years ago. Get to it!

One additional note, if you’re still shopping for your PS3, I would encourage a little bit of additional research. I neglected to realize that my 20GB PS3 didn’t feature wireless networking, or a few other features… lucky for me I have a 10/100 switch behind my TV. But if hard drive is your biggest determining factor, go right ahead and bookmark this page. 😉

PS3's In-Game XMB & "Trophies" system not far off…

Firmware update 2.36 for the Sony Playstation 3 should be live as I write this, and contains minor bug fixes, stability enhancements, and more than likely some still un-needed anti-piracy patches (or maybe that was just Nintendo’s latest update). But talk of the latest update was quick and to the point, looking ahead to the 2.40 Update (which, by my count, can’t be far off). The official Playstation Blog confirmed what we have been hearing for a while… that the 2.4 update will have the in game Cross Media Bar (XMB), as well as the Achievements… I mean… Trophies system. I’m sure I’ll have more on that topic, later. Until then, go get 2.36, it’s like a free sample of updating to 2.40!