The Upside of Qwikster: Video Games

By  |  Monday, September 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Harry’s already written a bunch about Qwikster,  Netflix’s newly-named business for mail-order DVD rentals. And while I agree that it’s a silly name, and that the announcement was pretty sloppy, I’m still excited about the news simply because Qwikster will rent video games as well as movies.

Netflix–er, Qwikster–hasn’t described its game rental service in detail, but did say that it’ll be an optional upgrade to movie rentals. As someone who subscribes to both Netflix DVDs and to GameFly, that’s an appealing alternative.

I haven’t found a good enough reason to quit GameFly during my four years of membership, but a couple of things have irked me: The wait for new games is often unbearable, and although I can’t prove this empirically, the option to buy rented games at a discount has seemed less useful lately. I can’t remember the last time that a rental game I wanted to keep has been available for purchase.

Blockbuster isn’t a viable alternative because the wait for new games is even worse than GameFly–games that launch this month won’t be available by mail until December–but with Netflix’s existing scale in mail-order DVDs, I’m hoping that it’ll give GameFly some good competition. I plan to look into game rentals once they’re available.

As an aside, I disagree with M2 analyst Billy Pidgeon, who told VentureBeat that mail-order game rentals have a short shelf life thanks to cloud gaming services such as OnLive, which can stream video games instantly to PCs and set-top boxes. Streaming games still have some technical hurdles to get over, such as controller lag and the requirement of a fast–preferably wired–Internet connection. And until Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft embrace streaming, a large swatch of really good first-party games won’t be available through the cloud. Downloadable games pose a threat, but not until we get download-only game consoles, and that’s not happening in the near future.


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. RokFreshness Says:

    I can't WAIT to leave Gamefly…. I've had the service since 2002 and have been a first hand witness to it's constant decline…. Qwikster couldn't come fast enough!

  2. Joan Alexander Says:

    We did not receive an email about Netflix split. When will it become Qwickster? What will the price be per month? Will it operate on the same plan as Netflix has for DVD by mail?

  3. IconoclastX Says:

    Based on all available info, Qwikster will operate exactly the same as Netflix has all along, just under a new (dumb) name. Prices will remain the same as they are now, although video game rental will be an optional add-on charge (similar to the existing blu-ray upgrade option, though no word yet on cost). The switch is planned to happen sometime in the next few weeks; there's still no word on whether customers' rental queues will port over to the new site, so you may want to take a minute & jot yours down just in case.

  4. Brandon Slots Says:

    I too wonder if this Quikster video game rental service could actually take off. Firstly, there might be a legal hurdle to get over. It is still not entirely legal to rent out video games, and the buying of used video games could see a lot more hurdles in the near future. Also, cloud gaming would definitely grow in the future as internet speeds grow faster, and more game developers see the benefits of streaming games. Only time will tell if Netflix will make money off quikster's video game rental.

  5. Apple Rings Says:

    Some software piracy I endorse, like old or import games that will never be on sale again or translated, but otherwise people just want free stuff. Even those that can afford to buy what they steal.