Gaming is an expensive hobby. Long gone are the days where one could buy ripped copies in Egypt for as little as EGP 50. The advent of using CDs and DVDs meant renting was no longer necessary where cheaper copies could be had. But with the seventh generation of video game consoles onwards, companies like Sony tightened their grip on their systems and cracked down on piracy, something that has left many gamers unable to afford new games, which typically cost around EGP 500.
“When Microsoft announced gamers couldn’t buy or trade used games, we were devastated,” said Khaled Ihab, who co-founded Macro Mania with Omar Barrada. Ihab still recalls when the two tuned in to watch the E3 conference and heard Microsoft’s decision, which the company reversed shortly afterwards owing to outrage from the gaming community; a testament to how strong the tradition of renting games is.
Macro Mania is a new rental service that aims at reviving an integral part of gaming culture and specialises in the Playstation brand.
“Because of the price of games, we know gamers do not get to try all the games they want. On a yearly basis, you might be spending thousands of pounds to play the games you want. With the depreciating value of games, trying to sell these games later on Jumia or Dubizzle is not practical,” Ihab said.
Macro Mania asks a straightforward question: why buy when you can rent? The website offers 1 year and 6 months membership options, for EGP 300 and EGP 200 respectively with cash on delivery. Playstation 3 games are EGP 35 a month while Playstation 4 gams are EGP 50.
Gamers can rent one new game and one old game for one month on Playstation 3 and one new game on Playstation 4. “If you finish the game in just one day, you can return it and take another, you would not have to keep it for the rest of the month,” Ihab said.
New games are available within a week from launch. Just recently, Macro Mania received the much-anticipated game Watchdogs two days before its release date.
Ihab explains the difference in price: “Suppliers know that Playstation 4 games are sold at a higher price in Egypt. They also know most gamers do not use credit cards to purchase games, and therefore give us games at a higher price, forcing us to do the same.”
In addition to renting games, an important aspect of the Macro Mania website is creating a community of gamers. “Our members call themselves Macro Maniacs,” Ihab said. Partnering up with SK productions and Game Vote, Ihab and Barrada are aiming for a homegrown gaming community that does not depend on sources from outside the region to provide reviews or gaming news.
As a member, you are entitled to promotions like 40% off if you rent a game that is older than one year on the weekends, and numerous discounts or offers if you refer friends to the website in a certain amount of time.
“Macro Mania saves gamers the hassle of having to buy a game not knowing if they’ll want to keep it and find themselves unable to sell it,” Ihab said. “Why buy when you can rent?”