BYU students create online marketplace focused on retro video games

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Dallin Burningham, Travis Hoffman and Max Mason started their new online marketplace in February 2024. The three students have found success as they sell various retro games on their marketplace. (Ethan Porter)

From Mario to Sonic, three BYU students have created an online marketplace making retro video games affordable and easily accessible.

Travis Hoffman, CEO of the online marketplace Evertro, started the business after years of buying and selling his own video game collection.

“With the prevalence of digital media, I feel like physical media has become even more important. A lot of times these types of physical video games are the only way that someone is able to play a copy of the game now,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he decided to start the business after noticing various scams on different marketplaces.

“I noticed that people were getting scammed online,” Hoffman said. “Whether that was being sold a fake or a game that ended up not working.”

Hoffman said the inconvenience of going through a long refund process after a scam inspired the creation of Evertro.

“We wanted to help stop that from happening and give people a safe place to buy video games online,” Hoffman said.

Dallin Burningham, Evertro chief operating officer, joined the business with Max Mason, Evertro chief technology officer, in late 2023.

“It was kind of the right place and right time for all three of us,” Burningham said.

The three co-founders met through the BYU Sandbox program designed for business and computer science majors at BYU.

Sandbox allows students to spend two semesters working in small teams building their own software tech business, according to the Sandbox website.

“This isn’t something that we are just doing as a school project. This is a business that we hope to continue working on for as long as possible,” Hoffman said.

The program helps students start a business but the students have complete control over the company.

“You completely own the business. The program doesn’t take any of the profits,” Mason said.

The marketplace officially went online in February after months of preparation and networking, Burningham said.

“It’s challenging because you don’t have a playbook and it’s not like school where you have specific assignments. It’s totally just up to what you want to do,” he said.

Finding customers who will trust a start-up business has become a challenge for the company, according to Mason.

The major problem comes from “feeding both sides of the marketplace and trying to find buyers and sellers and people that are trying to use it,” Mason said.

Burningham said the company has built a strong network through various gaming conventions and other events across Utah.

“We just want to be a company that really solves problems for this community,” Burningham said.

Burningham said he appreciated the freedom Sandbox has given the business as they start their own business.

“You just kind of have to figure it out and that’s something that our advisors are really good at, is letting us learn and figure it out on our own,” Burningham said.

According to Evertro’s website, every game is rigorously authenticated and tested for quality.

“We go through a manual process of checking about 40 different elements of the game,” Hoffman said.

The process of authenticating games before shipping them to the buyers usually takes about a day, according to Hoffman.

“We check the label, authentic stamps inside the game, as well as opening up the game and looking at the board because we care about all the elements being authentic including the label, cartridge and board inside,” Hoffman said.

According to Burningham, many customers will buy video games to play and collect as they become more valuable over time.

“When people want to have a collector’s item they want them to be real in the real world,” Burningham said.

Hoffman said the retro video game business will continue to grow as more people become interested in retro games that are no longer easily accessible.

“I see video games from a nostalgia factor as well as a relevance factor,” Hoffman said. “These games will continue to grow in popularity and value over time.”

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