February 21, 2007 |
A new release currently out in beta, PlayInterChange.com takes on Netflix, GameFly, la la and a little bit of Amazon all in one online service. Blending pieces of old-school start-up and Web 2.0 company, PlayInterChange.com offers users a peer-to-peer option for buying and renting both new and used videos and games.
Registration on the site is free, and during the beta period, transactions are $0.50 each, with a gift of $5.00 in “PlayCash” in your account to get you started on the site, which works around a “karma” principal like many of the 2.0 peer-to-peer sites. You list your videos (including DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD) and games (all gaming systems as well as Mac/PC games), with the option of selling them outright or renting them to another PlayInterChange.com user. You ship your item out when requested, and earn Playcash for your trouble, which can then be used to buy or rent items on your list. PlayInterChange.com also adds in a feel-good bonus, where 25% of fees will be donated to charity, giving the user a sense that they are contributing to society as well as getting something in a more inexpensive way.
Where watching PlayInterChange.com is going to be interesting is how they will handle the legalities that all P2P services seem to run into. The music industry is already casting wary glances at la la, and the buying of used media, especially when it comes to software titles, has always been a gray area, at best. At least some of the onus may be pushed back to the customer since the service uses a user’s choice for setting their own prices for selling and renting their items.
This is certainly a novel idea, and if it takes off, may force a price war with other online rental companies like Blockbuster and GameFly. Internet users have been enamored with the peer-to-peer idea since the earliest days of Napster file-sharing, and certainly sites that allow you to set your own price and let the customers agree or disagree like Half.com and eBay have done well. This is a company we’ll be watching.