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Game Rental Company GameFly Goes Digital With Unlimited Play Service
Game Rental Company GameFly Goes Digital With Unlimited Play Service
August 9, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

August 9, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

GameFly will launch a new "unlimited play" digital delivery service for subscribers this Holiday season, the company has announced.

The service brings to mind comparisons to Netflix: current subscribers to GameFly's unlimited discs-by-mail rental program will be given access to the digital side of its business at launch, which will allow them to download and play any of its applicable PC games for unlimited amounts of time, as long as the subscription fee continues being paid.

"We're thrilled to bring digital to the gaming consumer in a meaningful way, as no other service or retailer brings physical and digital gaming together like GameFly," said Sean Spector.

GameFly's new digital program, which also incorporates transaction-based downloads based on its recent acquisition of Steam competitor Direct2Drive, will launch this Holiday after a closed Los Angeles beta next month.

While specific publisher partners have not been announced, co-founder San Spector told Joystiq that the company expects "over a hundred titles" available for the beta, and "hundreds" in time for the public Holiday launch.

This is of course not the first unlimited games-on-demand subscription service to launch in the United States. Perhaps the most notable was Turner Broadcasting's GameTap, which was later acquired by France's Metaboli. Similar ventures have been made by companies including Comcast and Verizon, among others.

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Matt Fleming
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I declined to renew my GameTap account as their system had become convoluted and really had trouble working with Win7 64. If these guys can make it stable for me, they can have my money.

Lyon Medina
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"If these guys can make it stable for me, they can have my money."

Most "Agreeable" statement this year for me.

Brian Tsukerman
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FINALLY. After Steam, EA Origins, OnLive, Gaikai, Gamestop's Impulse, GameTap, and recent news of sites like IndieCity and Indievania, I was amazed that Gamefly hadn't yet turned itself into the Netflix of video games.

Nonetheless, I remain curious about what finally turned it around. I imagine there were issues with convincing console manufacturers to allow users to access a site where they download games that isn't their own marketplace. That, and/or getting digital distribution rights to games they previously only had limited numbers of physical copies to rent out.

Unfortunately, I've been considering cancelling my Gamefly account lately, mostly since I've got a big enough backlog of games as it is. Plus, being priced at $16/month means it's only worth using on games that have an effective cost of over $0.50/day owned (e.g. if the number of days it takes for you to finish the rental is equal to or greater than twice the dollar cost, you might as well just buy the game). Sure, it's cheaper per game if you have multiple games out, but I'm unsure of how useful that is without knowing what percent of their customers subscribe to each of their subscription types.

Ryan Sizemore
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Unless this came to console like Netflix then I'm not going to get excited for it, I'm a console gamer! Though I know Nintendo and Sony would never allow it. Microsoft on the other hand might.

Guy Costantini
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They should buy up one of the game streaming start-ups. Then they would have a killer service offering. Couple that with console streaming and you have the game publisher/network of the future.