Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reap the rewards of renting games

By Fartknocckker
Sythbane Squadron contributor

Game rental has always been a money saver. It's different from renting movies, because you need to keep a game longer. That problem was solved with the advent of online rental services such as Gamefly. The promise of one monthly fee for unlimited games delivered to your mailbox -- with no return dates -- seems like the definition of practical.

Since I was one of the early adopters of Netflix, the online movie rental service, I decided to try my hand at Gamefly, the online game rental service. As a new customer I was treated with the highest regard. I received games promptly, in some cases, only a day after release, and I earned rewards as my membership time grew.

After about an eight month span, however, one game remained on my list for six weeks. Another languished for four weeks, and yet another for two weeks. After a friendly but firm e-mail to the company, my six week status game was shipped, but the other two remained in my queue. I realized that this problem was not intentional and probably a result of a company growing too fast to keep adequate inventory.

Before online rental services, most people would go to their local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video stores. The convenience of ordering movies and games online and having them delivered, however, pulled customers away. That left brick and mortar stores with greater inventory. This prompted me to investigate other sources for my game rental.

I walked into Hollywood Video and there on the shelf were four copies of my two-week status game, and two copies of my four-week status game. They also have a program with one monthly payment, unlimited games and movies and no return dates. This program was also a few dollars cheaper than my current combined bill for Netflix and Gamefly. Walking into a store and picking up a game the same day was a far cry from waiting six weeks on another plan.

I want to point out that I have never had a problem with Netflix. Neither is this a stab at Gamefly, because I am sure there are thousands of satisfied customers. Nor is it a promotion for Hollywood Video.

My point is, before you go to an online service, don’t count out the traditional way of renting games and movies. Just because it’s new and convenient doesn’t necessarily make it better. Explore you options. You might be surprised.

Fartknocckker always plays a game like he owns it, regardless if it's rented or purchased.

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