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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Software

Dawdle games the console game economy

Yet another specialized marketplace tries to make a name for itself. But this one has game.

I had a quick meeting last week with Sachin Agarwal, the CEO of the online games marketplace, Dawdle. There's nothing technically revolutionary about this service. It, like countless online auction, classified, and swapping sites, lets users offload their used goods (in this case, console game hardware and software) and buy other users' goods, too.

What's interesting about Dawdle, though, is the economy it fits into. The used market for console games is peculiar, at least compared to other digital media (like CDs and movies), in that it is a sizable portion--Agarwal estimates half--of the entire gaming market. That's half of an $18 billion (U.S.) economy that the standard big-box stores (Wal-Mart, Best Buy) are not seriously involved in. But in malls all over the country, mom-and-pop independent storefronts and GameXChange franchises do a healthy business in the resale of used computer games.

Dawdle has a consumer-facing site, where people can buy and sell their used games, but its real volume comes from the used game shops, which can use the service to put the games they buy on the broader market. (Most retail game franchises prohibit their stores from running their own online businesses.)

Store owners could just list their items on eBay, but this focused site makes things a bit easier. The interface is designed so that bored sales clerks can enter in games when they buy them from customers, or in the lulls between customers. There's no fancy description to enter, just condition of the package. There's, as yet, no pricing advice on the site (although an upcoming partnership might take care of that), so the service does require its users to know the market they are playing in.

A new design for the site is coming October 8, as well as an improved search function and integration with the Wolftrack game store point-of-sale system.

I like this service because it adds size, and thus efficiency, to a market of otherwise isolated storefronts.

Listing a game for sale on Dawdle