Lynx2Games Founder on Next Gen, Used Games & Game Prices
With the reveal of the Xbox One and the ambiguously unpleasant statements made by Microsoft regarding the ability to both play and trade games, the future of the used games market is in doubt. Microsoft, at least, seems intent on crushing or at least controlling the games for its next console whether new or used, and the question of what other developers will make of the choice remains up in the air.
Curious about how a company which has used games as such an important feature of its business model felt regarding the current anxious climate, I asked Ahmed Moledina, founder of Lynx2Games, a few questions about exactly how this might play out for their business.
Lynx2Games runs a unique rental/purchasing service for gamers: one person buys the game and plays it for three weeks, then sends it along to someone else who will then own it permanently. The initial buyer ends up only having to pay a third of the total cost of the game, while the one who actually ends up with the title for good pays the other two thirds. As far as prices for three-week old games go, that's pretty awesome.
What was the inspiration behind Lynx2Games, what spawned the idea?
Moledina: Inspired by the growing collaborative consumption movement, Lynx2Games™ is the only video gaming retailer that empowers gamers everywhere to join together online and share the cost of the hottest and most anticipated new-release games – saving 30%-60% off full retail. The downturn in the economy is what really spawned the idea behind our sharing model.
Was the original idea modified by looking at other rental and purchase services?
Moledina: There were rental services like Gamefly, NetFlix, Redbox in the market already. There were purchases services like Amazon, eBay, Gamestop available already. What we did was combine the two services into one to have both parties save money by sharing the game.
Have you had much trouble with people trying to cheat your system? What changes have you had to make to it in order to prevent such?
Moledina: Not really. There are always the usual credit card frauds which happen everywhere. We have utilized a state of the art gateway system along with a rigorous process within our checkout system to minimize fraudulent charges. We also have BuySafe in place for every transaction which is an insurance policy very similar to PayPal Protection that covers the consumers and does not cost them anything.
Have fluctuations in the used games market affected your business in the past?
Moledina: Our business is definitely dependent on how well a game does. However sales are one thing and reviews of games are another. A game may sell well in stores but it may get terrible reviews. We never want customers to feel bad about their purchase so with our model we feel as if there is less risk when you rent a game. The delayed buy gives you the chance to weigh how much you want the game. Should you change your mind about wanting to own it, you can cancel before getting it on day one of release. We really want to let our customers know that we want you to buy based on what you think it’s worth to you.
What sorts of games do people generally use the Rent/Delayed Buy system for?
Moledina: We have had customers purchase and rent games in different genres. The most prominent “Delayed buy” purchases have been RPG & FPS. We think it may be because of cost and there is usually a longer investment in an RPG or Multiplayer in FPS. Action and Fighting games are most often rented.
Is there more demand for certain types of games on the rental side than the delayed buy side?
Moledina: We have seen a good balance between the two sides. We want to maintain that by expanding the network and allowing our users to find more connections.
Has Lynx2Games considered applying its method to PC games or to MMOs, games requiring login accounts, whereby the user account is passed on to a new user where such is allowed in the game's terms of service?
Moledina: We have considered it with PC games although we have been held back by Game Publishers and their code distribution. But we continue to explore options on the PC side and hope to have success soon. It’s actually more of a legal issue to be honest. The Indie Game publishers might be a better route for us to go on for now although we have to have a great value proposition for the consumer and Indie Games generally tend to be on the less expensive side.
Do you expect the used games market to suffer from the coming console generation?
Moledina: There definitely will be a downside to the used games industry with the upcoming game consoles although there are still a lot of unknowns about the new consoles which is what makes E3 very exciting… and terrifying at the same time. We really don't think and feel that the elimination of used games or the lack of backward compatibility is a good idea from the console makers since that is going to hurt the game industry considerably.
What might Lynx2Games, specifically, do to try and mitigate the measures being implemented for upcoming consoles to make used games more expensive or otherwise difficult?
Moledina: We already have a great value proposition in that the savings from our site (even with the increased fees) will be far better for the consumer from the rental and the purchase side as compared to other retailers. We always intend on giving the gaming community the better price even if it means changing our sales model. The last thing we want is great games not being played because they are too expensive.
A unique system by all means, and one we will watch closely with the developing climate changes in the console-controlled used games markets. Give Lynx2Games a look if the idea sounds as good to you as it did to me to see about picking up the newest releases at a discount.