It’s been a couple weeks since GameFly started renting out movies but I guess I should go ahead and talk about it since I intend to use the new service a lot. In a time when I’m unsure how to rent movies anymore, the service I’m already subscribed to offers what almost feels like a godsend.
If you don’t know, GameFly started offering DVDs and Blu-Rays at the beginning of April, and it looks like a pretty generous service. It adds no extra cost on top of the existing game rental service and movies are available with no delay from their retail release. So basically we now have a robust mail-in service for renting both movies and video games.
I loved Netflix back when it was known as a movie mail-in service. For just $8 a month I rented movies at a pretty rapid pace. I got so used to it that I really felt the damage when Netflix agreed to delay new movies for 30 days. When Netflix upped the price by separating the streaming (which it sees as the future now) and mail services and other companies started rolling out pay-per-rental plans I realized producers had decided Netflix’s model was too generous. The only reason it got off the ground in the first place is because everybody thought it was crazy in the beginning.
I could never get comfortable with paying $5 to rent one movie for a few days when for just $3 more I could get a whole month of Netflix. I know the $5 is basically identical to the old Blockbuster system, just digital, but I felt like Netflix was a step forward. Redbox also feels like part of the old system because it has late feels. Basically, I feel like the film industry has forced the rental business to take a step back for the sake of profits.
GameFly movie rentals seem like a return to the old Netflix system, just for a higher price that includes video games. I’m already using it to catch up on last year’s Oscars, and it seems like I’ll be catching up and keeping up with much more this year because of the service.
For some reason, at the end of the month GameFly is gonna get a ton of anime, including basically every Studio Ghibli movie that’s currently out on Blu-Ray in North America. I’ve been holding off on watching most Ghibli movies until I can get them on Blu-Ray, so GameFly is about to save me a ton of money as I will likely spend the summer on some kind of Ghibli/Miyazaki odyssey. Eventually I’ll probably end up buying some of these movies.
I think the reason GameFly is able to do this when Netflix can’t is 1) Netflix is mostly a streaming service these days where GameFly is still about mail, 2) GameFly’s price is a bit higher than Netflix’s, and 3) Producers probably don’t pay as much attention to GameFly. I wonder if this might increase GameFly’s appeal to the point where it does catch some more attention.