Electronic Arts, Red Dead Redemption are 'most traded' online

GaBoom stats give insight into market unmonitored by official channels

Games from Electronic Arts were the most traded amongst consumers last year, according to new data revealed from over 12,500 users of GaBoom.

Electronic Arts was a pioneer of the online pass, or Project $10 as it was first known, where second users of a game are required to pay for access to a title's multiplayer and other online features.

GaBoom is a peer-to-peer trading site where users pay a nominal fee to trade games amongst one another, with its stats showing that users are happy to pay additional fees to publishers on top of the swap.

According to the data, last year's most traded game was Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption, followed by Call of Duty: Black Ops, Mafia II, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

The stats, supplied to, show insight into patterns of the second hand and trading market, which official channels such as GfK Chart-Track in Europe and NPD in the US are unable to monitor. GaBoom is only one games trading site on the web, but it has a significant growing user base in the UK and plans to expand across Europe.

Games for the Xbox 360 proved to be the most popular during 2011, followed by PlayStation 3, Wii, PC and Nintendo's DS.

The second hand market is crucial to High Street retailers such as GAME, GameStation and HMV, as well as online stores which now offer their own take on the pre-owned market.

The full data follows:

Top 5 most traded publisher

  • Electronic Arts
  • Activision
  • Sony
  • Ubisoft
  • Nintendo

Most popular format traded

  • Xbox 360
  • Playstation 3
  • Wii
  • PC
  • DS

Top 5 most popular games

  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • Mafia II
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Latest comments (12)

Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart6 years ago
Admit it. This is an advertisement masquerading as 'a survey' and you've been duped. Trading website announces they trade Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC and DS games. Come to us especially if you want Red Dead Redemption, Black Ops, Mafia 2, MW2 and BFBC2 on the cheap. We cover all the major game publishers.

Really guys come on. Low quality. Very low. Have a cup of tea and think again.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve6 years ago
I have to agree Graham, who could of guessed that some of the biggest selling titles by the biggest publishers on the biggest platforms would also be the most traded?

Would have been interesting to see some figures to actually put this into some kind of perspective on the market.
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Matt Martin Editor, GamesIndustry.biz6 years ago
Not at all, Graham. I approached GaBoom looking for some info. Are the results surprising? Perhaps not, but I happen to think they shed a little light on a part of the market that many are reluctant to admit even exists.
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Show all comments (12)
Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters6 years ago
"with its stats showing that users are happy to pay additional fees to publishers on top of the swap."

I think that's interesting enough in itself. Consumers are willing to contribute to the game consumers, it's the retailers like Game and HMV who aren't willing to share their pre-owned profits with the industry that feeds them. I'd have less objection to trading/pre owned sales if a fair share went back to those that made the game in the first place.
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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 6 years ago
None of it is suprising, EA and Activision release a lot of sequels (EA Sport every single year without fail) so of course people trade them in. Platforms as well is unsuprising as the xbox as the highest attachment rate of the consoles; more games and more consoles = more trades naturally.
The only list thats vaguely interesting imo is the games list as I'd have not picked RDR as being the top spot.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 6 years ago
Should tell EA and Activision something about their games longevity. I wouldn't think of trading in Ico for instance. I think only dead space has a permenant place on my shelf and after the return of the invincible enemy near the end of deadspace 2 I was sorely tempted to trade that in on principal alone. It's a pretty good rule that you never throw invincible enemies (or invisible one kill critters) at a player ever. It's simply unfair and totally demoralizes them. Temporarily invincible without the right weapon is fine but never killable is just plain nonsense.

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Fiachra Synnott Production Manager, Electronic Arts6 years ago
I agree with Dave's comment above re retailers needing to "kick back" to the game makers.

It's slightly ironic though that these very same retailers potentially going out of business might threaten publishers' ability to get their games to market, although having said that it might just speed up the move to digital direct to consumer retail channels such as Steam and Origin.
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Dave Knudson Sr. Technology Manager, Electronic Arts6 years ago
The top traded games are somewhat interesting. The RDR and the COD games still carry a fairly high retail price, so it's not surprising that they'd be the most traded. The odd one to me is Mafia 2, it's only $10/£11 new from Amazon.
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"happy to pay additional fees to publishers on top of the swap."

What about the developers?
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 6 years ago

It was never about the developers. It was the greed of the publishers and retail stores. Anyone sane who sells things doesn't expect a kick back from a second hand re-sale. This is a purely greed driven move by publishers to create a false economy whereby re-selling becomes some kind of bad thing. If that were the case we wouldn't have antiques or used car salemen or second hand book stores etc. etc.
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Valentin Ursu Associate Development Manager, Electronic Arts6 years ago
Agree with Dave Herod, that is a useful bit of info.

@ Peter Dwyer (This is going to be a long one)

I doubt developers don't get any royalties from the resales. Also, I believe your comparisons with used cars, books and "etc." not relevant. Here is why:

When you buy an used car you get an object with a significantly reduced value from the new version, higher gas costs, higher maintenance costs, overall used aspect, this is why a car generally looses 10% of it's market price the second you buy it. With second hand games what do you get? A few scratches on the disk?

Books are usually 1 man efforts and most of them are timeless, games are not. When 5 million books sell the royalties go to one person, when 5 million games sell, the royalties go to pay for 300 people. If you keep a book on the shelf for your children to read, they will get a comparable value from it as you do today. For games, they will first ask you how they can run it on Windows 15, then they will be annoyed by the low res graphics, ask you how they can play it if all the multiplayer servers are empty and finally ask why they shouldn't play a newer title that has the same gameplay mechanics and more.

It's not always about greed, it's about survival too, so many good studios went bankrupt after making great games. How many great games would those teams have made if they were still around today? Art is precious and it is timeless but it is rare and it needs financial backing to develop. Maslow's hierarchy of needs tells us that creativity comes after all other types of needs are satisfied, Renaissance artists each had protectors from the nobility, books have a large market (everyone who can read can by a book), movies have a large market and good business model (cinema, DVD, PayTV, TV), games need a great market, a good business model plus a pool of mature game artists (it's harder to tell a story when the "reader" has a choice in how it develops).

This is where big publishers come in. They are big enough to afford a Super Bowl commercial for a game and make non-gamers hear and maybe try a game. They are strong enough to fight censorship. They are strong enough to fight people with idiotic copyright claims to words like "Edge". They are big enough to give stable jobs and make universities see the benefits of training the next generation of game artists. They have enough resources to invest in developing technologies and frameworks that can be the hammer and chisel for an artist.

I think games are still in the equivalent of the dark ages for books, few people know how and are interested to read, only monks in the abbey have the paper, know how and time to write and of those who write most of them just collect and copy the ideas and the work of others. But this period will bring a Renaissance.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Valentin Ursu on 15th February 2012 10:43am

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William Usher Assistant Editor, Cinema Blend6 years ago

Seems a little unfair speaking about the positives of a publisher being under Electronic Arts. I do agree with you about the differences in the people who get paid and the trickle down of some used items versus video games.

However, I still disagree that second, third and fourth-hand trades need to go back to the publishers. I'm sorry but any publisher posting $1 billion in profits (i.e., Activision, EA) doesn't need help from the pre-owned market.

Also, why should the game industry treat second hand sales any differently from the movie or music market? Those three are comparable and realistically, if you decide to give a CD, DVD or tape to a friend (even for a $1) why should any of the publishers get a percentage of that? If the consumer already bought and paid for an item and they want to give it away/sell it/etc., it's their choice.

I do agree, however, that developers (and developers alone) should reap the benefits of a trade-in under specific conditions. SwitchGames offers such incentives and I like what they have setup, enabling legitimate developers to receive a small percentage from trade-ins. I would like to see more programs like this setup under different pre-owned businesses, mainly in support of developers not publishers.

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