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The Almighty Buck The Internet Entertainment Games

Best Netflix-Like Videogame Rental Service? 56

Posted by Cliff
from the trying-to-put-blockbuster-out-of-business dept.
Duncan the Wuss asks: "So, almost everyone I know loves the DVD-rental-by-mail service Netflix. But what about the videogame rental market? I normally beat a game in about a week, and that can get expensive. I've checked out sites like GameFly and NumbThumb, and they seem reasonable. Geek.com even had a post about a site called TriggerFingers, but I can't seem to get anything to work on it. What I really need to know is, what's a high-quality site of this type that's worth renting from? Netflix is reputable and responds to customer complaints in a timely manner, but are there any video game rental sites with the same level of service? I mean, I don't want to give out my credit card numbers to just anyone."
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Best Netflix-Like Videogame Rental Service?

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  • DVDBarn (Score:4, Informative)

    by missing000 (602285) on Monday December 01, 2003 @10:20PM (#7605859)
    Dvdbarn.com [dvdbarn.com] does video game rentals by mail. I've always been happy with the service, but they mostly stock Xbox games.
  • Govojo.com (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Had an account for a few months, never had any problems with my credit card or otherwise. They do a good job of shipping games fast.
  • Right now, I'm a fairly satisfied Netflix subscriber. I'd like to rent video games the same way, but I don't have enough free time to make renting three movies and three video games at the same time worth $40 per month. However, three movies or video games would be well worth $20 per month. Is there such a service? Or is there any news on the horizon for Netflix to offer this service?
  • I use Gamefly (Score:5, Informative)

    by Blackwulf (34848) on Monday December 01, 2003 @10:35PM (#7605942) Homepage
    I've been VERY happy with Gamefly's selection and service. Granted, they're only in California so if you live on the east coast (like I do) prepare for a wait for the USMail to do their thing - although it's rarely more than a week turnaround total for me.

    I've kept games out for two months and they haven't said a word. It's a great service. Although I haven't had to talk to their CS department, I know someone who has and he said it was a good experience.

    The thing I like about Gamefly is that if you REALLY like the game, you can "buy it now" and they'll send you the box and the instruction booklet, and you keep the CD.

    Gamefly also carries GBA games, which is cool now that Blockbuster doesn't carry them anymore. And their selection is a LOT better than Blockbuster - you can even get a bunch of obscure titles there, on all the systems.
    • Perhaps I am simply unlucky, but I have so far had an awful record with Gamefly. The first two games came in fine, but they never received the first game I sent back, and I never received the next game they were supposed to send to me...in the 1.5 months I've been using the service, I'm batting about .500 for the games actually arriving at the intended location.

      However, the game selection is Excellent, and the customer support is also impressive. The did not accuse me of trying to steal any of the games
  • BlockBuster (Score:4, Informative)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Monday December 01, 2003 @10:36PM (#7605946)
    BlockBuster, at least my local store, is trying to do a NetFlix style rental program for video games.

    On the positive side: You can drop by your local branch and swap one game for another immediately, without waiting on the mail.

    On the major negative side: Being individual stores, not one centralized distribution center, they've had horrible problems with access to particular games. As everyone else has the keep a game for as long as you want membership, the three copies of [whatever the latest game is] immediately disappear, not to be returned for six weeks (at which point someone else takes them for six weeks). Plus, while you can survive a slightly scratched rental DVD movie, a scratched game disc is next to useless.

    For me, the negatives massively outweighed the positives (only getting to rent games no one else wants just isn't fun) and I quit my membership after the first month. On the other hand, if you work at BlockBuster or have a friend that does, so you can get one of those three copies before they're on the shelf, it could be a great program.
    • I'm on my second month of GamePass, and I haven't had any problems. OK, few problems.

      The primary thing that sucks is that GamePass only works for one store. If you get it at the store that has a crappy selection or is twenty miles from your house, you're screwed. If a store across town has the game you want, you can't get it unless you rent it normally. Plus, Blockbuster doesn't carry every game. I can't get Dance Dance Revolution, for example.

      But, overall, the service is good. I picked a store wit

  • Price Breakdown (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ruis (21357) on Monday December 01, 2003 @10:46PM (#7606016)
    For those who don't want to navigate each site mentioned to see prices, here's a breakdown I compiled:

    Gamefly.com
    Plan 1 (1 game at a time) - $13.95 per month)
    Plan 2 (2 games at a time) - $21.95 per month)

    NumbThumb.com
    Plan 1 (1 game at a time) - $13.95 per month
    Plan 2 (2 games at a time) - $21.95 per month

    TriggerFingers.com
    Mini Plan (2 games at a time) - $14.95 per month
    Economy Plan (3 games at a time) - $19.95 per month
    Mid-Sized Plan (4 games at a time) - $24.95 per month
    Luxury Plan (5 games at a time) - $29.95 per month
  • PA recommends it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bansuki (540068) on Monday December 01, 2003 @10:46PM (#7606020) Homepage
    I've never tried those services but I do know that PennyArcade [penny-arcade.com] recommends it (scroll a little down to read Gabe's post about it). Considering how many games they play and how they like to complain about shitty service it must be a testament to Gamefly's reliability that they haven't bashed it yet.
    • congratulations on being the first PA link I've seen in nearly 3 months that DIDN'T link to that overexposed N-Gage comic :)
  • Fifteen minutes from sign-up to "we're shipping that game you wanted". [gerbilmechs.com] I live in Fargo, so turnaround is about a week from sending a game to getting the next, but damn if they don't beat the selection of this entire town put together.

    They...they shall finally unite me with PaRappa 2. And there shall be a reckoning, for the kicking and punching is all in the mind.

  • GameFly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gabe (6734) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:36PM (#7606399) Homepage Journal
    I did the free trial for GameFly, and then a month of service... but I gave up. They only have a distribution center in California, and since I'm on the east coast, it took 3+ days for the games to make their way to me, and then back to GF. For me, it's simply cheaper to go to my local video store and rent games, and I'd get more games for the same price.

    If they get a distribution center on the east coast, or at least within 2 days of me like Netflix is, then I'd reactivate my account immediately. In fact, I asked them to email me when/if they ever get that setup.

    If you're nearer their distribution center than I am, try it out. It's just like Netflix, and my experience was just as good.
  • GameFly! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DJayC (595440) * on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:38PM (#7606408)
    I've been using GameFly for a few months now, and I love it! I've never had a problem getting a game, and they let you keep the game for a decent price if you like it. I tend to "buy" games through here instead of buying them at stores. If you queue up a game right when it comes out, you are obviously going to get a new copy of the game. If you like the game, keep it at the reduced price, and you are all set! If you don't, you just saved yourself the price of the game!

    I highly recommend GameFly!
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:43PM (#7606434) Journal
    Redoctane [redoctane.com] didn't get mentioned, but for $18.95 you get 2 games at a time, and they have a number of import games for the fanatics who want to play the games everyone else will be playing next year, but don't want to pay the $50-$70+ or so to import them.

    I haven't used them personally so I can't say how their service is.

    From their description of their service, it looks like you put together a wish list, and they send you games from that list when(if) they become available. Browsing through their list, they only have import sections for the dreamcast, playstation, and playstation 2, and it looks like a number of imports have been "misplaced". Looking through the ps2 titles shows they really haven't been keeping up with the times. They probably discovered that its a lot more expensive when the import games keep "disappearing" in transit than the American versions. (You'd think they'd switch to some kind of certified mail, or at least shipping with delivery confirmation...) Not to mention the support hassles from idiots who don't understand whats needed to play an imported game.

    I'd probably think about it if they started tracking shipments and smacking the people who screw them (and the rest of the service users) over, and if they got some imported game cube and xbox games in, as well as newer ps2 titles. Until then they don't have much over blockbusters, seeing as most of the import titles they haven't lost yet are out in the US in English.
    • I've used RedOctane. I was happy with them. Their customer service was adequate - I very rarely had problems and when I did they were taken care of.

      The small selection of anime they added is nice, as when I have a really good video game out I generally put those near the top of the queue.

      They have Playstation 1 and Dreamcast games, which most others don't. Probably doesn't matter to most people, but there it is.

      However, next time I use a video game service I plan to go with GameFly, because they have G
    • I subscribed to RedOctane for a while and was very happy with their service. (I cancelled my subscription due to lack of time, not lack of service). I'd had a problem with the postal service taking its good sweet time on returning a game to them and they were understanding about it.
  • gamelender (Score:3, Informative)

    by avageek (537035) on Monday December 01, 2003 @11:45PM (#7606450)
    I've been fairly happy with game lender [gamelender.com] for the past few months that I've been having service with them. I think they're still the cheapest and have all the perks of the other services (like buying the game, etc). Also they carry a lot of legacy games (SNES, genesis, and NES) and GBA games. Turn around hasn't been *too* shabby (I live in the midwest) but the biggest problem that I've had so far has been them not having the good games in stock sometimes. As a result they ask you to put at least ten games in your queue at one time.
  • GameFly is a good service. I'd still be with them if they had a distribution center on the east coast. But they don't which means a week turnaround time. Even if you only play the games for one day and return them you are still worse off than renting locally. Having said that, if they open an east coast distribution center then I'll sign back up in a heartbeat.
  • I too was uncertain where to go for Netflix-esque service so I'm sort of trying a bunch out. I'm starting with GoVoJo.com who has pretty much the same pricing as the others.

    The only gripe I have with them, however, is the weak paper sleeve they shipped the games in. Sealed with perforated openings that were both wide open when they were in my mailbox.

    Gamefly sounds like it's getting a lot of positive feedback so maybe I'll try them when I finish playing my copy of FFX-2 from GoVoJo ;)
    • Re:Govojo.com (Score:2, Informative)

      by 1019 (262204)
      Oh, and just to amend this post, the reason I picked GoVoJo first was their pricing level. It's a bit lower than the others as far as I could see.

      Lite Service 1 game $13.95 per month
      Silver Service 2 games $19.95 per month
      Gold Service 3 games $29.95 per month
      Platinum Service 4 games out for $34.95 per month.
  • For about the same price (in my locale -- YMMV) you could buy the games second hand from a pawn shop (well, PS2 / PSX games anyway). I've never had any trouble with second hand Playstation discs skipping... they seem to be nigh indestructible. A friend of mine once tried to deliberately damage a PSX disc to get a refund on a shitty game, and it took him hours to do so (with the aid of a stanley knife, chocolate sauce, and a brillo pad). Give it a shot.
    • That's funny, took me about seven seconds, with the help of my trusty microwave.
    • The first used PS2 game I bought (Zeonic Front) looked terrible. The disc was in sad shape. I was promised a return for credit if it didn't work, so I went for it. I took a cloth to it, cleaned it up pretty well. It worked fine, but there's a mission I just can't beat :-(
    • He was probably scratching the wrong side, then. The fastest way to destroy a disc is to scratch the label side. If you get under the label and bang up the data layer, the disc is totally hosed.
  • How about computers instead of consoles?
  • with the amount of money i always end up owing blockbuster in late fees, this is a lot less of a hassle for me. it usually takes 5-6 days after i send a game back to them before i get my next one. no waiting for new games, either! i just got prince of persia in the mail today, and i bet if i went in to blockbuster it would be long gone.
  • My 3.14 cents. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by August_zero (654282) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @02:47AM (#7607167)
    I rent from Gamefly and am for the most part happy with the service.

    Game turnaround is about 6 days from when i drop it in the box, which isn't a big deal for me since I usually play the games for a week or more. About the time I get tired of one game, another is arriving in the mail. If you don't see yourself playing the rented game for more than a couple days on average, You would be better off with something on the order of a freedom pass from Blockbuster.

    The biggest advantage I see with gamefly as opposed to renting from a local store, is that Gamefly typically gets all new releases within a day or two of release. My local Blcokbusters and Hollywood videos get big name titles quickly, but skip or wait on a lot of other lesser hyped games. They also usually only have one or two copies of the lesser titles which can make it near impossible to actually rent them. The "buy it" option isn't bad either. If you like the game you can keep it, they mail you the box and rest of the junk it came with. The price is usually right around what a used copy would run you in a store.
  • I've been a Gamefly subscriber for about six months or so and a Netflix subscriber for close to two years. I have to say that Gamefly is pretty darn good for the price.

    Shipping times from California to my home in Connecticut are reasonably quick (in fact faster than Netflix's times from Cali) and the company has a much faster turnaround time.

    Gamefly will also let you keep a rented game for a fairly reasonable used price. I just picked up Vice City for Xbox for $20, unbundled from GTA3.

    • If it's taking you that long to get titles from Netflix you should complain. It takes me only 1 (max 2) days to get titles from Netflix. One of their distribution centers is in Danbury (in CT).
  • Gamefly (Score:3, Informative)

    by ShadowWalk (46565) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @09:01AM (#7608282)
    I'll second the comments on Gamefly - I have actually had a problem with a game delivered (my copy of an XBox games was PAL, not NSTC! They don't even offer PAL games!). Customer service wasn't available, so I left a message. They returned the call in about an hour and shipped a replacement before I returned the bad disc! Great turnaround, great selection and very friendly & responsive customer service. I recommend this service to everyone I know.
  • does ANY netflix like place rent out classic videogames? or at least PS1 titles?

    I wouldn't mind being able to rent some old SNES games or something =)
  • Gamefly 1-game (Score:2, Informative)

    by Painaxl (673056)
    I've had the Gamefly 1-Game plan for quite a while now (I think 6 months or more) and I've been very pleased. Their selection really is top-notch. They always have plenty of the big releases and never skip the smaller ones. They package well and I've always gotten the correct game.

    I've talked with their customer service after a credit card problem at signup (it was a problem on my end that they helped me resolve). They were friendly and helpful. I've also emailed a few times with suggestions and quest
  • Gamefly (Score:2, Informative)

    by blueskatz (241135)
    I've been using Gamefly for about 4 months or so. So far, the experience has been pretty good, with my only complaint being the turn-around time. Once I put a game in the mail, the result is sporadic, taking a range of 4-9 days to get a new one back. Spacing your mailings out can help a lot (keeping one game while the other one's in transit).

    I've contacted gamefly 3 times since joining (always wondering what's taking so long for my games), and they always respond to me within 24 hours, and are very nice
    • After going through some less than spectacular transactions with RedOctane and AngelGamer, Gamefly has been great. The customer service has been very responsive and the selection is great. Their website is also a pleasure to browse and use. The main problem I have with any of these services (or even Netflix for that matter) is their reliance on a postal system which may take a few days and will eventually lose your shipment somehow. However, it still beats the hell out of Blockbuster.
  • About 2 years ago or so I got a survey from Netflix asking about video game rentals. I assumed at the time that they were going to eventually offer them but nothing came of it.
  • I just tried a couple of these services and have yet to receive a game, but I did notice that they seem to have problems keeping enough new releases in stock. For example on govojo out of the 10 titles I picked only 1 was listed as available. Netflix seems to have overcome this (due to critical mass of subscribers?) and I almost never have to wait for any title.
  • Been using Gamefly for over a year. Tried www.angelgamer.com before them (poor selection, games never in stock). The aforementioned delay in them receiving games seems to have increased lately. Perhaps they haven't kept up with their popularity?
  • All of these services are, IMO, too expensive for my blood. My sweet spot would be about 10 bucks a month for 2 games at a time. That way, they have value over blockbuster and outweigh the delivery lag-time. With the prices at their current levels, you barely break even if you're 100% diligent about the process.
  • Not only do they not have a good selection of games, but they don't come with instruction books! RedOctane is the same price, and you get the book with the game. You don't have to download a stupid PDF if it's even on their site. Been using RedOctane for awhile, my only complaint is the slow ship time. (About a week for me, I'm in Wisconsin.) RedOctane - Not only the first, but also the best place to rent video games online.
  • I found it when trying to find video game rental companies : [video-game...arison.com]
    http://www.video-game-rental-easy-comparison.com /
    (and yes it looks like he is an affiliate for them all, but its nice to have the information in one place)

    It lists several, including most of the ones listed here and tells the prices, shipping location and current specials.

    Two Sites listed there look interesting to me:

    RentZero [rentzero.com]

    They are located in Bellaire, TX which is almost a third the distance of all the CA shippers from me, and they shi

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