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Should You Stop Renting Games From Blockbuster?

Gamefly

Is it time to completely cut the cord with Blockbuster stores when it comes to renting games? Let’s do the math and find out.

Blockbuster stores are currently charging between $7 and $8 for a single weekly game rental. They also have a no late fee policy – but, as many of you have heard by now, this is not technically true. Check out Blockbuster’s fine print on the issue.

That having been said, let’s take a look at the pricing structure of Gamefly.com – the most established online source for renting games.

Gamefly offers three subscription plans:

2-Game Plan
Two games out at a time
$21.95/month + applicable tax

1-Game Plan
One game out at a time
$14.95/month + applicable tax

3-Game Plan (requires an active account in good standing for at least 60 days)
Three games out at a time
$28.95/month + applicable tax

How it works: You start by selecting up to 50 games in your “GameQ” – when you are finished with your first round of games, send them back in a pre-paid envelope and you will receive the next 1,2, or 3 games on your “Q list.” (The average turnaround time is around 5 days.) If you like the game and decide not to return it, Gamefly offers a ‘buy it” option.

The math: If you sign up for Gamefly’s 2 game plan, and keep each set of games for 5 days, you should be able to play six games a month for only $21.95. At Blockbuster, six games will run you about $48. If you play the games a full week before returning them (Blockbuster game rentals last a week), you may only get to play 4 games in a particular month – still, the ratio is 21.95 at Gamefly vs. $32 at Blockbuster.

Gamefly Reviews:

About.com “Gamefly.com is an excellent service that is well worth the money if you’re a dedicated game player. If you’re a casual gamer that is unlikely to spend more than $13.95 per month renting games from the local rental store, Gamefly doesn’t make as much sense; the subscription plan basically assume that you would normally rent at least two games per month anyway. For those of us that are hard-core gamers, Gamefly lets us try games before we buy them, and tinker with the “ok, but not great” games that we normally wouldn’t take the time to toy with if we had to purchase or rent them at a higher price. Gamefly’s online system is easy to use, and you’ll find yourself a more avid game player just because it’s fun to browse the entire catalog of games for your system; who can resist finding presents in the mail six times a month?”

CNET: Certified store rating 5 out of 5 stars. See link for more information.

Gamefly vs. Blockbuster Game Pass:Blockbuster’s Game Pass“, is an in-store only promotion which is currently running around 21.99 a month with one game out at a time.

The math: As mentioned earlier, it is possible to rent 6 games a month from Gamefly for 21.95 if you keep them for 5 days. This is also possible with “Blockbuster’s Game Pass” – but you are limited to a couple dozen games whereas Gamefly will allow you to choose from thousands of titles across all gaming platforms – including the PSP and the DS.

The bottom line: Just about any way you slice it, Blockbuster is a huge ripoff. In fact, the only scenario where Blockbuster has a clear advantage is with the consumer that rents only 1 game per month and is not a stickler about selection. For the rest of us, Gamefly is the clear winner.

Please note: Gamefly has one distribution center located in Los Angeles, CA. If you are a resident on the West Coast, the turnaround on games is often much faster than it would be anywhere else in the U.S. This would provide added incentive to rent your games online.

Posted by Sean

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