What is the future of game rentals?

During a now-long-past review of the contents of a couple old USB drives that I had forgotten that I stashed away, I found a handful of articles that I had written for a gaming site that went defunct. Since I hate for words to sit unread (even those in incoherent, rambly sentences), I decided I might as well share them here, and this is definitely the last one of the bunch. (I though the last last one was, but it was not.) And…it’s probably the worst. Or, at least it reads that way in 2020. It was first posted waaaaay back in January 2013, which might as well have been 1913 what with how much things have changed. (I called it the “Xbox 720” LOL) Though, maybe they haven’t? I mean, Gamefly is still going strong, used games and all, and maybe you love what they offer. I sure did way back when.

P. S. The lede image, a screenshot of Gamefly’s homepage from 4 January 2013, comes courtesy of the incredible thing that is the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

There’s been tons of talk recently on the internet about the notion that next gen Playstation and Xbox consoles may block the use of used games.  It’s a pretty touchy subject, one that I understand and don’t much like.  Game companies must make money to survive, used games don’t help game companies make money, therefore game companies don’t like used games.  But many players, myself included, like used games and often prefer them to buying new.  And even though I’m not saving my pennies for a next gen console, the issue still concerns me because I use Gamefly.

Gamefly and its wonderful rental service has been welcomed in our house for almost three years, and it simply works for us.  Both my husband and I enjoy trying new games without the need to buy – if they’re great, great! If not, send ’em back and get the next ones. Personally, Gamefly also makes me play games.  Though they don’t have due dates or return fees, I feel the need to play a rented game more urgently than I do one that I already own.  (I don’t want to keep a rented  game for six, seven, twelve months, because at that point I should have just bought it new.) But I especially like Gamefly’s pricing if you choose to buy a game that you’ve rented.  Perhaps the prices are a little higher compared to what you might find in stores; however, what comes with that is peace of mind.  You know the disk. You know the game works because you’ve played it.  All you have to do is pay for it, they send you the case, and the game is yours forever.

A used game, that is.

So, right now, Gamefly offers titles ranging from those for the Game Boy Advance to the PC.  But will it offer PS4 and Xbox 720 games if they only play new games?  With the rise in direct digital download and streaming services, there’s something to be said about the eventually demise of the DVD and/or BluRay and/or game disk.  Who’s to say that Gamefly couldn’t someday make your rental digitally available on your console (similar to their PC service now) in the same way we “borrow” digital books from libraries?  And a digital download is not a used game, right?

It’s a complicated matter, and I haven’t even touched upon how all this might affect current consoles (which seems even more convoluted and anger-inducing).  My point is that I’d hate to see a fine service like Gamefly go the way of the dodo because it can’t make the next generation of games available to players.  (Though I don’t think it’ll up and die as it seems to be a very healthy company of late.) And I doubt it could survive offering only Nintendo games; and Nintendo hasn’t said much on the issue of used games.

So while I’ll be perfectly happy renting games from Gamefly for as long as I can, what do you think?  Do you prefer your games new or used?  If you use Gamefly, where do you think its future lies?  Speak your mind in the comments below! (ed. you don’t have to say anything, but feel free.)

Comments and Queries

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.