Ben WoodsEurope Editor
Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.
Jiggster, a new platform for buying, selling and trading games in the UK that soft-launched in beta on Android a few weeks back. Being the occasional gamer that I am, it seemed about time to took a closer look at the service.
The key premise behind its existence is that gamers are fed up of being ripped-off in retail stores trading in their own games at a reduced price, and then buying someone else’s traded-in game at an inflated price. Jiggster gets around this issue by allowing its members to buy and trade games, or create their own deals using a combination of the two. All of which users can do for free, with no commission on sales.
To get going, all you need to do is download the app. I’m always a fan of apps that let you take a look around before making you open an account, and thankfully Jiggster allows you to do this.
That said, some of the key functionality requires you to have populated a list of games you own, and to do that, you’ll need an account.
When you first sign up, it’ll ask you to select the categories of games you’re interested in and which systems you own. After this set-up is complete, you’ll be met by the home screen and suggestions of games that are either popular or relevant to your indicated tastes.
Tapping the drop-down selector at the top allows you to quickly browse games by genre.
The second column will show you the ‘most wanted’ games by members, and the third shows the most commonly-owned games. It’s a pretty safe bet that the more common the game is, the lower its value will be.
If you signed up, you’ll want to add some games to your collection – or to your wishlist. To do so, you can either search by title and select from a list for the correct platform, or scan the bar code of a game to add it automatically.
For the four games I added (below-right), the scanning option didn’t recognize the bar code and I had to search for the game to add it manually. As you’re adding games, you’re asked if you want to trade or sell them, or if either option is fine. If you select to sell, or if either option is OK, you’ll be asked to set your selling price.
Obviously, you’ll also want to see what other games people around you have too. One of the advantages of this being a mobile app – there are already a few more traditional ways to exchange titles with other gamers on the desktop – is the easy use of proximity thanks to the GPS on board.
To this end, there’s a Deals Around You option that allows you to browse other people’s offers in your locality. If you try and use this option without filling in any games of your own, it will return no results.
In my testing, the Deals Around You feature is better in theory than in practice. Obviously it depends where you live as to what options there will be, and being based in London, there were quite a few. Nonetheless, few were games I’d want – and some users had set inexplicably high (and optimistic) prices, like £100 per game.
From the top of the app you can control whether you want to search for local deals to buy, sell or trade, and just underneath that there’s a slider for control the proximity of your search. Oddly, once you move the slider, the results aren’t shown in distance order.
If you do find a deal you’re happy with, you can either go ahead and make the purchase, which then leaves you to sort out the details of collection or postage via the on-board messaging system. You’ll also need to sort out payment, of course.
On that front, the app leaves it up to you. The general idea is that exchanges will often be made in person, but when they aren’t you’re presumably supposed to pay using a service like PayPal and then send the games in the post.
On this point, the app falls down a bit; it provides ratings on how many sales or trades each member has carried out, but that’s about as far as it goes. So as ever, it pays to do a little research, and where possible, meet in person, though perhaps not alone. You never know.
If you’re not happy with the deal, you can suggest your own offer. For example, in the image above-right, the seller was asking for £25 cash. I set up a deal to propose £5 cash and one of my old games.
In my experience, if you’re just browsing to see what’s available around you then this feature is fine, but it didn’t really return any results I’d want. If there is a specific game you’re looking for, you might still find it, but it’d be easier to search for the game and then click through to see who is offering it for sale or trade and take it from there.
If no one is offering the game for sale, there’s a link to buy it on Amazon.
A diamond in the rough?
The app hasn’t been live very long, so I’ll forgive it a few foibles – like, once you’ve added games to your collection, there’s no obvious way to remove them again – and there’s no option to add them to your collection but not categorize them as for sale or trade.
Jiggster could also integrate an in-app payment platform pretty easily too, which would give added feeling of security for deals that are taking place via the postal service. The list of potential improvements goes on. During the sign-up process, you select which consoles you have, but then when you search for games or look at Deals Around You, the app still returns results for platforms that it knows you don’t own. While I could be in the market for a game on a system I don’t own, I doubt it’s the norm, so an option to filter results by platforms owned would be handy and speed up the search.
However, aside of these few minor annoyances, it’s hard to really complain about Jiggster. It’s free to download, and it’s commission-free too, so no matter how many games you buy and sell, the service itself shouldn’t cost you a thing. That does raise questions about the ongoing monetisation of the service, although presumably all those Amazon sales earn affiliate fees. I’ve asked the company about this and will update when I hear back.
Ultimately, as someone who doesn’t keep up with the newest games necessarily, Jiggster could well be useful to me as it provides a pool of potential games and a system that allows me to suggest a deal I’m happy with. It just needs a little more polish in its execution. Still, it’s early days, and with £150,000 already invested in the business so far and another equity crowdfunding campaign looking to raise another £100,000, there could still be time to develop the service. Oh, and there’s an iOS version of the app on the way too, which will open the door to a potentially large market.
➤ Jiggster | Google Play
Featured Image Credit – Shutterstock
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