August 17, 2009

DVD Trading Goes Live on Goozex

Dale Culp Says Goozex, the game trading service we all know and love, is about to become even better. A major, new extension of the site will allow movie lovers to enjoy the same, great features that gamers already enjoy. If you've always wanted to trade movies as easily as you trade games, now you can! As the site undergoes its startling metamorphosis, I took the opportunity to get caught up to speed on this fantastic new service with Goozex founder and COO Jonathan Dugan.

One of things I wanted to know was how the back-end of the service was going to work with regards to adding movies to the site. Would they simply open the floodgates and allow every movie ever known, or would there be a limited selection, at first? “Our content provider in the past has been Muze and they continue to provide us with information on a weekly and daily basis. They provided the same information they give us for games but for movies. Some of the information they have provided us has allowed us to boil down the difference between certain special and regular editions of titles whether on Blu-Ray or DVD so that you'll know exactly which edition you'll get – the 3, the 5 disc, or whatever it may be. There's a huge amount of movies you're going to be able to find – some movies go way back. You'll have Spartacus, you'll have Citizen Kane, you'll have a ton of classics that you're going to have access to – some that you'll probably have never found or have heard of. Just like with games, you'll have the opportunity discover movies you might have never heard about or ever played. So, hopefully, you'll have the same experience with the movie section.”

One other question that continues to come up on the forums is the question of “adult” films and how they will be handled. Dugan says that, “You could say there's going to be a filtering process – the filtering process right now is that the adult films have been removed. It's a tricky subject, it's one that we try to avoid. We think it's better to have the physical media for adult content off the site. We don't see adult content and DVDs as being our core.”

I could tell I was hitting a tender subject and my next question was just as poignant, especially when considering that there does exist a strong difference between what makes a Mature game versus what makes an R-rated movie. Certain explicit themes and topics show up in a wide variety of films that just don't exist in gaming. I wanted to know how Goozex was planning to make sure these movies didn't fall into the hands of the wrong people – i.e., minors. “Obviously, you either have to be 18 and over or have a parent or legal guardian sign up for you. What we assume is that anyone on our site either has consent or is 18 or older, meaning they already are permitted to trade or see rated R films. Essentially, if there is someone younger that is trading on the Goozex system, according to our terms of service, they are giving consent that they are 18.”
In other words, currently, there is no realistic way for Goozex to prevent minors from trading mature content. Ultimately, it's up to parents and legal guardians to make sure their kids aren't gaining access to movies and games they, otherwise, shouldn't be seeing.

As for the question of point values and how they get assigned to movies, “It's going to be tricky,” says Dugan. “Hopefully our pricing model works out where a limited edition Terminator is worth more than a standard edition. Whether it's 50 points, 100 points, we haven't really tested it yet. It's something that we're trying to iron out the kinks right now in our beta.” Dugan explains that the beta will be ongoing for the next few months, even once it goes to the public and the real stress test begins. “The system, hopefully, will be able to assign value to each movie pertaining to their edition. Now, we're also going to, hopefully, be able to assign consistent and solid value to box sets – you know, like a season of Futurama, a full season of Battlestar Galactica – and hopefully we're going to have the right point allocation to each box set used. I think, over time, the system based on supply and demand and other metrics, I think a point system should work itself out. As of right now, the movies will likely be a good amount cheaper because, normally, a game is more expensive than a movie, so, from the get-go, movies, most likely will be around the hundred and 400 point range with some box sets going above the 1,000 point mark. Entire box sets of James Bond, for example.”

You might be wondering why a game trading site would be interested in trading movies. As Dugan explains it, “Well, Goozex stands for goods exchange, and originally, the idea was to have a platform that would allow anyone to trade any product. We kinda figured when we first started Goozex that we'd be stretching ourselves thin if we tried to be in every market. Movies, books, music, games – any type of product that you could trade and assign a point value to. We figured that we really wanted to get the trading system down pat and understand how it works, and what we really wanted to do was make sure that it worked really well before we worried about multiple products. So, that's why we started with games. We felt that the most logical product extension for people who play games would have been movies because we assume that a majority gamers, if not all, are interested in watching film.”

If the game trading service works well enough, as Dugan believes it will, there's a huge potential for Goozex to become more popular than ever. Even in the age of rampant movie piracy, Dugan says that the market exists for people who want movies on physical media. “People are losing money, out there,” as he explains, and Goozex is all about saving people money.

The service went live today, August 17, and has already seen trades occurring. According to a tweet from the official Goozex Twitter account, Smallville (blu-ray), Training Day (HD-DVD) and Batman Gotham Knight (blu-ray) were the first three movies traded.