#game rentals online
Video game rental service GameFly to offer PC game downloads, new features
Video game rental company GameFly is looking to evolve into a one-stop online destination for video games — like Netflix is for movies and TV.
Later this year, in time for the holiday shopping season, the online video game rental service will launch a new online client that incorporates direct downloading of more than 100 computer games along with its current 8,000 console titles available on disc.
The computer game downloading feature follows the company’s acquisition three months ago of IGN’s PC download service Direct2Drive. That service continues to offer more than 1,500 PC and Macintosh games.
A closed beta trial of the new GameFly software begins next month (stay tuned to Game Hunters for invites).
“Now GameFly subscribers will have access to a library of PC catalog titles to play as often as they want and as long as they are a member,” says GameFly co-founder Sean Spector.
Subscribers will be able to download unlimited computer games — initially, only Windows PC games will be featured, Macintosh games will follow. “It’s kind of like a Spotify or Rhapsody or a Napster,” he says. “You have access to the content as long as you are a subscriber, but when you are no longer a member, the content then disappears.”
While the PC game library will surpass 100 titles initially, “that is going to grow,” he says. “We are in discussion with all the major publishers. You have the physical and now you are going to have access to the digital as well. GameFly subscribers will truly get a benefit for no extra cost.”
Started nine years ago, GameFly has largely targeted men ages 18-34, but this year it has aimed to attract families who might have several gamers in the household. “There is a huge benefit with GameFly for a family with a couple of kids, and we have been really successful with that,” Spector says. “So this client will be filled with PC games for kids, with casual games and indie games. It will run the gamut of content. We want to be accessible to all gamers, whether you are a 14-year-old boy or a 17-year-old girl or a 35-year-old gamer.”
Users of Apple’s iTunes Store will have no problem navigating the made-over GameFly. (The service’s GameFly.com remains open to subscribers and non-subscribers alike, as does its apps for iPhone and Android .)
The home page has top service features tiled across it, with areas such as Main, Games and Collections organized via a list on the left side of the interface. Current headlines from ShackNews, which the company acquired two years ago, are posted. (Additional news sources are planned.) Also included: lists of top videos including HD trailers, games purchased and rented, and top game downloads.
Subscribers can create collections that they will be able to share with others — just as Spotify users share playlists.
As part of the client’s upgraded online features, GameFly is also adding several social-networking features — available to subscribers and non-subscribers alike — including the ability to follow other subscribers’ comments and what games they are playing. And each week, GameFly will suggest members worthy of following.
Users can also share the “shelves” they create that can be as generic as “My Shooter Games” to a media library of YouTube videos, screen shots and other media devoted to an individual game such as Red Dead Redemption. “We are letting people who are passionate about games really create these kind of shrines,” Spector says. “Someone who is not familiar with that game sees all this content about this game and gets interested, and we give them the access to check it out.”
One of GameFly’s best features — the ability to try games before you commit to buying them — remains unchanged. “That’s a big component of our service, and that’s the No. 1 reason people join GameFly,” Spector says.
GameFly plans to launch the closed beta Sept. 8 at a private event for current members in Los Angeles. Attendees get beta codes; others interested in checking out the private beta — including non-subscribers, too — can visit www.gamefly.com/beta and for a look at the beta, watch the video below or go to GameFly’s YouTube channel .