Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The used game market plays out in a variety of spaces. A lot of people don’t like to take their games into big chains like Gamestop because they feel that they get cents on the dollar. There are some obvious advantages to sites like Gamestop however, such as a wider selection of games available to be purchased with your trades, a willingness to take just about anything and the sense of comfort that comes from knowing they will likely be around next week. A lot of startup trading sites cannot say the same, and it looks like 99gamers might now be among them.
Not that there is anything official yet, but the writing has been on the wall for a while now. Back in 2013 99gamers was seen as a spectacular alternative for those looking to trade their games in at brick and mortar chain stores. Once considered a success in articles such as these, the site has been showing signs of slowing down for quite a while over the last year.
Users reported that prices started to get skewed, that there were not steep enough penalties for those members who were trying to scam others. However, there was still a sense of community around the site as recently as half a year ago, but when 99gamers pulled down their forums, users began to get nervous. It became much harder for them to communicate back and forth and not only list items that they had for sale, but to reach out to the community and look for things that might not be listed.
99gamers countered by trying to put more automated options in place to help better regulate and facilitate trades, especially of non-game items. However, there was this odd feeling being shared by several of the members who talked about how they missed the forums and that as a result of the increased difficulty in communication (limiting the ability to barter, really), that prices were starting to get out of control. In the span of several months new game prices shot up from sixty or so credits to hundreds of credits. Things began to feel unbalanced and there was concern. You could sense that people were trying to unload credits.
Then I was talking to one member of the site a few weeks ago when he said there was no longer an ability to buy coins on the site. The functionality had just been taken down. He and a few other members I spoke with said they reached out to the contact email address to ask about this and other concerns but it was a black hole – no one would reply to any of them. Then this morning I noticed that 99gamers was trending in a few places, and it took me back to this post on Reddit. There are a handful of other random posts I have seen in other places mirroring this same thing – apparently non-games can no longer be bought or sold as the system has them locked down, and there are currently no games showing up on the site at all.
What does all of this mean? Probably not a whole lot as by all accounts the site has been slowing down for some time now. Those people still holding credits are likely coming away feeling quite frustrated as they have no means of spending said credits (one poster on the Reddit page said: Kill me now… I still have 436 coins….). Is 99gamers definitively gone? I sent them a message early this morning and still have not heard anything back, so there is no confirmation nor denial from them to this point, but all signs point to the same thing. While 99gamers may have served an audience for some time, like many other similar sites before it and likely after, it appears that the site is now out of business.