Renting Online: Better Than Local Stores?

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posted 12/11/2002 by Dan Clarke
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It happens every holiday season: game publishers many more games than you can actually buy or even have the time to play. In one day here at the Gaming Nexus office, 12 games showed up carrying a retail value of over $600 if you bought each one at retail!

Now that the big videogame retailers are putting the kibosh on returning games you’ve opened, where does that leave you? Renting, of course!

Videogames have been available for rent at mainstream video stores since the release of the NES, and even for the Atari before that. Costs have gone up (the local rental chain now charges $5.99 for a one game rental with strict time limits) and the whole hassle of driving all the way across town for a game that may or may not be in stock (good luck finding Vice City or Splinter Cell) really defeats the purpose of having fun and being entertained.

Enter the online videogame rental service. After all, if companies like Netflix, Wal-Mart and Blockbuster can rent DVDs, can’t someone rent videogames the same way?

Fortunately, the answer is yes…two diehard gamers who grew up on the Atari 2600 have developed a new online rental service called Gamefly.com. I was able to speak at length with them in regards to this new venture and it sounds like they may be onto something.

Gamefly co-founders Jung Suh and Sean Spector were frustrated gamers – they noticed that over 1,000 titles had been released for the big 3 platforms this year and there was absolutely no way they could purchase each one – but they sure did want to play them, and thus GameFly was born.
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