Blockbuster Chases GameFly, Offers Game Rentals By Mail

Yesterday we noted that Blockbuster was launching a new DVD-by-mail rental service (which Netflix promptly one-upped by announcing a new streaming agreement), and today we’re getting tips from people that the beleaguered brick and mortar movie rental company is throwing games into the offer as well. FastCompany notes that GameFly offers around 7,000 game titles compared to Blockbuster’s library of 3,000 titles. On the other hand, Blockbuster’s rental plans start at $9/mo compared to GameFly’s $16/mo (both for one disc at a time).

GameFly’s CEO, David Hodess, told the magazine:

I’ve known about this for about two minutes, but I can’t think of one thing we’d do differently. The honest truth is that ever since we started the company, we’ve built it as if we had a major competitor. Until Blockbuster can do a better job with games than GameFly, everybody should subscribe to our service.

“Netflix and GameFly Beware: Blockbuster Adds Games to By-Mail Service “ [FastCompany]

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  1. chaesar says:

    Blockbuster should not be fighting a war on two fronts

  2. Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

    Hodess needs to deflate his ego a little. Given some of the rampant problems that Gamefly has given their customers so far, he’s just a little to smarmy in his assumption that Blockbuster can’t do better.

    • The Marionette says:

      They’re both a pain in the ass company, and neither are really better than the other, so for him to say we should go with their service isn’t really telling me much.

      Besides I don’t really care which company is better. Games I get is because I’ve actually taken time to “know” the game before hand then buy it with intent on keeping it so i don’t care lol.

  3. dadelus says:

    I may actually check this out. I rent games from Blockbuster rather then Gamefly because the turnaround time for Gamefly is atrocious where I live. 3-4 days for the first game to show up and double that for returns. Not to mention they never had the games I wanted available. The top 5 games in my queue stayed the same for 3 months because they were never in stock when I returned a game.

    • CookiePuss says:

      I just canceled Gamefly after 7 months because there was nothing left to play. I thought the shipping speed was good but I think they have a shipping center in my state of PA which helps.

      It seems to get more popular games its best to only have those in your list. I did that with Heavy Rain and they shipped it the same day it released. Then I had Red Dead Redemption at the top of my list but also had about 10 other games below it. Needless to say they kept sending games lower on my list. I took all the games off the list except for Red Dead and they shipped it right away(even though it said very low availability).

  4. Supes says:

    I think this is a great move for Blockbuster… actually one of the best business moves I’ve seen them make in years. They can’t compete with Netflix in just movies, or with GameFly in just games, but I can definitely see people wanting to pay only $9 a month for decent service in both arenas (especially assuming Blockbuster has all of the new video games available). It’s pretty significant savings.

    I still don’t think they can compete with Netflix longterm unless they get unlimited streaming (the “pay per movie streamed” model won’t win in the current environment). But this is a great way to get some customers, especially those who don’t have the option of streaming movies at the moment.

  5. semanticantics says:

    Maybe Block will send the games at the top of their users queue’s instead of whatever just happens to be laying around? And maybe their shipping times will be more Netflix-y and less Carrier Pigeon-y.

  6. Wraith says:

    “Yesterday we noted that Blockbuster was launching a new DVD-by-mail rental service…”

    Blockbuster Online (Blockbuster’s DVD by mail service) is not new (I first used it in 2005/2006, and re-subscribed earlier this year). The linked article is about a new deal to offer this service to Comcast customers at a discount.

    The games by mail service is new (though we’ve known it was coming), and I’ll have to give it a shot. It sounds like I can just add games to my queue, and a game will take up a spot on my “2 discs” plan, just as a DVD or blu-ray would. Without paying extra.

    • Wraith says:

      Well, I guess I can see why Gamefly isn’t too worried.

      New and unreleased games seem to have an availability date of 2+ months after release date. For example, Alan Wake, which released May 18, has an availability date of August 31. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift released July 27, but won’t be available until November 10.

      Unless this is just a launch day error, then this is really only useful for games that have been out for months already.

  7. Destron says:

    I canceled Gamefly to, horrible turn around time on games and terrible customer service. Sadly, I don’t think Blockbuster could do any better, but Gamefly definitely needs some large scale competition.

  8. merroc says:

    If blockbuster doesn’t have the HORRIBLE shipping time issue and availablilty issues that gamefly has, they will succeed. Considering they are charging $16.95/m for 3(THREE!) discs, when gamefly is charging $15.95/m for ONE disc is a GREAT start.

  9. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    I have actually been using Blockbuster by mail for years, and the turn around times have been great. In addition, I can swap the movies at the local store immediately, and get a free whatever rental each month. Now, I can add games into the mix? This is actually pretty cool. If you hate Blockbuster, they could give you free rentals and you would still find a way to whine, but some of us don’t have that residual grudge, so we can enjoy what has become a pretty decent service.

    No, I have not gotten into the streaming yet, so I that option doesn’t sway me to Netflix…

  10. ragesoadrules says:

    Just to let you all know, according to the website there is no additional charge if you already have an account to rent movies. I’ve had an account since they started, and they have yet to change the terms. We still get unlimited in store rentals, with 3 dvds at a time, so the the minute we exchange a movie for another, they ship the next one on our list right out. We also get an e-coupon for a free game rental a month. But now with this addition of games, (we’ve been leaning towards netflix, mainly because of the streaming abilities), I think we’ll stay on for longer. It seems un-beatable for $17.99 a month.

  11. NinjaMarion says:

    Also on the other hand, and something this story and the comments don’t touch on, is that this is IN ADDITION to their current Blockbuster Online movie rental subscription. If you have a three out at a time plan, you can get three movies. Or three games. Or any combination of the two that add up to that. None of the other services offer that, and as a current subscriber, I’m ecstatic for this.

    If the games shipping follows Blockbuster’s normal turnaround times, this could even get people to switch from Gamefly just for the games aspect of it, since Gamefly’s biggest criticism has always been their long turnaround times. Add to that all the people that will see movies + games as making it better than either Gamefly or Netflix and this could be a very good move for them.

  12. SilentPho3nix says:

    I was pretty excited when i saw this due to gamefly’s shotty service and horrible turn around times. So after looking into a little bit, i think i might have found a reason to not go with blockbuster’s gaming, Madden 11 which was released yesterday isn’t available on blockbuster’s site unitl the 23rd of November this year. I hope they don’t make new release games take that long, or they are taking a potential company saving effort and ruining it by making the gamers wait 3 1/2 months after the game came out to get it. any thoughts?

  13. kujospam says:

    Blockbuster’s deal isn’t too bad. But I generally just buy a game for about 15 dollars a month. That is why I think gamefly is a rip off to me. I can usually only beat one game a month with the time I have, that and I generally still play other games a lot, like warcraft 3, and now starcraft 2. Yes, last month I did over 15 dollars.