GameFly Digital Client

Unlimited PC Play for Subscribers

I read in the gaming news today that GameFly is launching a digital client to offer games to players directly on their PC or Mac.  There’s an interesting addition to this Steam/D2D-like client.  In addition to just selling games, Gamefly will offer “Unlimited PC Play” with their subscription.  It will be, for example, as if Steam (or other platforms) offers a subscription fee and allows subscribers to access anything available as long as they maintain a subscription while still allowing subscribers and non-subscribers to buy games to own — that’s where Gamefly’s ownership of Direct2Drive comes into the picture.  I think the price will be something like $30 a month since that’s what I’m reading everywhere — anyone have a definitive number?

It’s intriguing enough to actually give some real thought.  Assuming they really do offer all the PC games that something like Steam would offer, that’s not a bad idea at all.  I’m only hung up on the price and the stipulation.  Do I really buy enough PC games to justify $30 per month?  In a dry spell, I can go three, four, maybe five months without buying a single PC game.  That’s $90-150 of money gone.  On the other hand, I can sometimes want three games in a single month and suddenly this deal becomes killer.  Additionally, how many times have I bought a PC game and played it for a month then never touched it again?  Suddenly the long-term benefits of the idea come into focus.

This might be one of those ideas that everyone implements.  It’s not a stretch to see Origin or Steam adding an optional monthly subscription to access content.  Publishers like Activision and EA are both starting their own digital distribution and/or community programs.  I think it’s only a matter of time until we see this idea branch out from just the rental business into a common practice.  I can also see this driving the price of games up even faster, should it become the norm.   That’s when I’ll start to worry, though, since I don’t like it when publishers begin to take control.  Anyway, that’s an aside.

Good idea.  A bit pricey and totally dependent on the individual’s spending and gaming habits, though.  Probably not for me since I like to own my games and I don’t see there ever being a time when enough games come out to justify the price.  I would need it to be down around the $15 range before I could place it in the “set it and forget it” category and I know it’ll be way more than that.  And without the subscription offer, I see no reason to go with Gamefly over Steam; it falls into that “I don’t want to install yet another digital distributor” category.

Youtube video visible after the jump.  I’m really curious to know what you guys think about this one.

  • Currently the gamely subscription is $30 a month to rent the games the mail to you for console and from what I understand there won’t be a separate sub for the PC.. It’s just the unlimited thing is included in it.

    So for $30 a month you can get two console games mailed to you at a time + plus be able to download and play all the games on the PC platform. I assume this is there way to get PC gamers with a gamely sub.

  • Ah excuse me on gamefly currently it’s $23 a month to rent the two games.. $16 for one game.. I assume the unlimited PC thing will be the highest sub only.

  • I think $30 is pretty cheap, especially if you live in Australia where the games range from $80-$110 (even Steam has a special region market for us so we have to pay double what the US pays).

  • @Stompfoot: Might not get your hopes up then since this will probably hit you with region as well, if allowing you to get it at all.

  • Wow, I was just thinking that this was the end game for video game sales. Having any game I wanted as long as I wanted for $30 a month is a helluva deal.

  • @Toxic: Any game pending the companies that agree to put their games on there, and assuming you do not cancel the subscription.

  • Pardon the 4am mangled grammar.

    When VHS rentals was at its nascent point major studios, I believe in particular Disney, who did not want to see their movie ticket sales hurt, which would hurt promoting their intellectual property, and ultimately hurt their merchandising. So many would refuse to put anything on VHS let alone for rental because of fear of bootlegging.

    That did not last to long when the home movie rental market boomed. And later they realized their was a substantial number of people who would go to the movies, rent the same movie when released on VHS, and if they liked it enough or did not see it on initial theatrical release buy a cassette tape. In a way the theater was not much different than home movie rental. You pay W amount of currency X to view movie Y for Z amount of time.

    The time portion has now changed over the years to unlimited but that still does not mean unprofitable for studios.

    The problem I can see with game rental is what I now see coming with movie rental. The production companies who own the rights to movie rentals are expected to demand of Netflix higher fees for the rights to their product. On a side note, this maybe why Netflix in order to counter this attempt is putting money behind development of its own intellectual property.

    Also, you mentioned in your blog posting companies like EA and Activision cutting out a middle party and just do it themselves. I agree this can be a major problem for the consumer. The consumers financial situation, as it logically should, would determine that person can only afford one company, such as EA or Activision. Essentially locked out of trying out using the other businesses game. This opposed to a few online rental distribution companies who are focused on rental of another businesses games would be unfortunate to the consumer. Since so many games have a co-op or some sort of multi-player feature. Long time time friends, co-gamers, or whatever designation would have more limited options if one person favored one game over another form a different company.

    @Toxic I would not worry to much up PC games going solely to online distribution any time soon. Many, many people are not online and among those who have an internet connection a large portion still have dial up or satellite or a slow DSL. All three of those are still better than AT&T.

  • Horror, I have to ask how many people who don’t have internet access or are on dialup buy lots of computer games? The benefit of cutting out Best Buy or Gamestop probably outweigh the sales to be gained by catering to a shrinking group that apparently doesn’t have a lot of disposable income to spend on games, or the computers to run them. These people would be natural console owners. I’m just not seeing a lot of people who can’t afford or want the internet dropping the money to keep up in any significant way with PC games. PC Gaming has always been the most expensive type of gaming.

    Most games will end up being internet only. For a non-triple A game the advantages are tremendous, and the downside (losing a few sales at the few stores that would carry your game) just isn’t that big of a downside.

  • The real interesting thing I find is the initial reaction people had to streaming movies and now the idea of streaming games, I want to own it not pay to rent it.

    I actually fall on the side of wanting a physical copy of my things as well, but people pay 10-15 for a movie ticket now to watch a film at a theatre that only lasts 2 hours but seem to find fault with say $30 for unlimited game play over a 31 day period. Overall, the movie is far more overpriced per hour of enjoyment.

    Like I said, I prefer the physical myself as well but that is also due to my internet availability.

  • @toxic One other issue I do have with digital services is as you saying.. cutting out Best Buy or Gamestop but then charging the same exact price for the product… when actually it is LESS product due to the lack of the physical.

    I call BS on that one. Sell it digitally on Steam or Origin and keep more of the money that is fine, but they are also not paying for the pressing, packing and shipping and retail fees and still charging 40,50 or 60.

  • And that was not meant to be critical of you… the way I typed it I did not mean it to sound like that… critical of the digital pricing is what I meant

  • Bio, I’m coming at this from the perspective of a game company. Being able to sell the same thing without giving Best Buy their cut, and skipping the whole box/manual/cd expense, and selling it for the same price as before, has to give them a giant money boner.

    Cause you’ll keep buying it. You know you will. And honestly, having the game available for download on any computer at any time is really a lot better than having to keep track of all the CDs.

  • Gamestop bought Impulse, which is another one of those digital game outlets like Steam/Origin/D2D. They’re trying to get in on it themselves.

  • I would not argue that people will keep buying in general. My habits in regards to movies have totally changed in the last few years. Aside from a select few movies that I went to see with my father (got to bond right) I never go to the theatre anymore. I wait till I can pick up the same movie for close to the same price on bluray now.

    As for games, the last title I bought at full price at launch I can not tell you, it has been that long. Hell I just recently picked up Red Dead Redemption and Uncharted 2, thats how quick I buy! Overall though, gamers will still buy you are right. I am just a bargain shopper, to pass the time till Deus Ex comes out in two weeks I reinstalled Vampire Bloodlines and have been playing that again.

    To show I am not totally against digital, I did buy Deus Ex on preorder but thru a special offer I found on Slickdeals that got me the game thru Steam for like $31. Ultimately… I am just like a company, all about the bottom line 🙂

  • with all the titles releasing on the PC the next few months i could see myself subbing to this if they did offer all the games i want to play.

    after that im not so sure

  • dont forget EAs and other company anti renting standpoint and using pre order and day 1 DLC to fight against such “habits” For example. Mass Effects 2 Cerberus Network will cost you 20 dollars and Game fly isent going to give you the codes to register your own. so any extra content / chars you will have no access to. Dragon Age 2 (terrible game) had there black market and pre ordering got you the prince witch is another 20+ dollars worth of DLC. EA has been doing the day one DLC that “comes” with the games for the past year and you will have no access unless you want to spend a additional fees on top of Gameflys fees.

    Plus Ubisoft i wouldent trust there anti pirating software against gamefly. how many registration hoops do you have to flop threw to get Ubi games to work? Do you think there going to take them all down for Gamefly? on the matter do you think EA will allow Gamefly to steam there games? they dotn even allow Steam to sell New EA games anymore ;P

  • Just noticed the video and they said (looked?) like you could play PS3 and 360 games on your pc…. that means there streaming game play over your internet and not really “installing” the game… I dont own a ps3 or 360 (after my 7th 360 died i swore off them) But there are so many none pc games i wish i could play… That might be a redeaming part of the service for me… Let Gamefly deal with broke 360s ;P

  • @Elspath: The console games are still mailed to you. I think it’s just the client that manages which ones you have out or want sent next. Games are installed on your system.

  • Ah to bad, if they steamed the games i was thinking that would be great… But guess not, just a lack luster and expensive half game rentals ;P Plus if Gamefly makes any amount of good money the developers of those games will start complaining MORE about renting and add more restrictions and add ons and held content on there pc games.

  • @Toxic I agree that most if games will be internet only. What I was and I am saying it will take time. Saying the truth in regards to user ship of internet access and levels of speed was to point out it will take time simply because there is a chunk of the current PC gaming market do better, better as in access to games.

    Side note: Consoles are marginally better bargain. I consider how many times I and others were, and I hear sometimes still are, replacing Xbox 360s when the warranty ran out. Or the people who would replace their PS3 or Gameboys when a new version with an added feature are eventually released.

  • I do not believe entirely that publishers want to cut out the middle business when it comes to digital distribution. A company could stretch its resources to far when doing everything in house. It can collapse quickly due to difficulty of managing so much.

    Keen pointing out that Gamestop purchase of Impulse shows that the traditional middle businesses think there is a future for them in the digital download era that is coming.

    If Gamestop is smarter than Walmart then they will not shut down after 8 years as I just learned today with Walmart’s music digital media store.

  • @Horror – I believe that Walmart was selling music tied to DRM. In the end, Amazon probably took most of their customers via marketing and no DRM on the music (so that there was ease of transferring between devices etc and a stronger feeling of ownership of the purchased tracks).

  • Hello Guys, i suggest you that if you want to play another game with the same amount of addiction like wow have/had play league of leagends.

    Its a great game 😀

  • I was at the Gamefly Fall Preview Event at the House of Blues here in Los Angeles on the 8th, when they unveiled the client and gave us all beta codes in person. There wasn’t any NDA and they never asked us to keep this stuff to ourselves so… Having heard it from the co-founder on stage and tried it out myself already, I can clarify that:

    1) All Gamefly members will have access to the Unlimited PC Play
    2) The games in the Unlimited PC Play section do get downloaded and installed, they are not streamed as with OnLive
    3) You do not have to be connected to the internet to play the games (though there is an initial Gamefly automated activation thing that runs the first time for each game)
    4) There is NO additional charge for Unlimited PC Play, it is 100% FREE to all subscribers.
    5) You can manage your GameQ from the client as well as view news, HD videos, and order new/used games, using any available Gamefly rewards dollars that are on your account. It is fully in sync with the web site.
    6) There are currently 42 games in the available library for Unlimited PC Play, many being simpler arcade-style games but there are a few better ones like Red Faction 2, Wheelman, Saints Row 2, and Imperium.