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GameFly To Jump Into Digital Game Rentals

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the full-steam-ahead dept.

The Internet 39

An anonymous reader writes "GameFly apparently wants to follow in the footsteps of Netflix, announcing plans to launch a new online client that allows users to download and install their rentals over the internet. The service won't require a separate subscription, but will be bundled alongside a standard GameFly by-mail subscription. GameFly acquired digital game retailer Direct2Drive earlier this year, so it's likely they are harnessing this technology to offer the new service."

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I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (1)

Harshael (2433816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039462)

But seriously, the reason I've not tried out Direct2Drive is I already have Steam on my machine, and I didn't see the need of both services. If GameFly offers a streaming only plan ala Netflix, I might get interested. Perhaps Valve could conjure a similar system?

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039556)

I was more interested in Gamefly previously. They dicked around and it's only been recently that they got a warehouse to cover the northwest. At this point it's not really worthwhile to me as I'm ditching Netflix and can get the games from Blockbuster.

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platteformme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37039578)

They dicked around and it's only

Pardon me, hedwards, but your gamefly is down.

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37039590)

Good luck with that. If you somehow still have a Blockbuster near you, its days are numbered.

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039652)

You do realize that they do a mail service, right.

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 3 years ago | (#37044514)

Does the Blockbuster mail service include games? It used to be movies only.

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#37040984)

Blockbuster isn't dying anytime soon.

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37046236)

onlive already allows rentals, AND you don't install the games (instant).

Re:I Thought the PC was Dying as a Platform (1)

jseale (691367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37054200)

You don't understand. This looks like Direct2Drive getting out of the PC game download biz to make room for Steam and Origin, both of who really excel in that stuff anyway IMHO. Direct2Drive looks to have lost that battle and now they want to try something else and this is it.

"Rentals" make no sense (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039482)

The idea of digital rentals makes absolutely no sense. With physical media renting makes sense, for example, it is impossible for a single VHS tape to be in 2 VHS players at the same time. On the other hand, there is not a single copy of a digital game to "rent", but there is in fact an infinite number of copies that can be created with no loss to the original.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039524)

Thanks for explaining the difference between digital and physical media to us. Anything else you're an expert on? I'd love to hear more.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37043430)

You were supposed to phrase that in the form of something something something newsletter...

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

Harshael (2433816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039558)

We're still in a stage of experimentation with intellectual property. Is there any functional difference in the rental of a game that is on a disc versus one that is solely digital? By this line of logic, then the sale of digital goods also makes no sense.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

danlock4 (1026420) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039624)

Yes. A game on a disc saves space on your hard disk (unless it installs completely to the HD from the disc) and uses a lot less bandwidth when downloading. Sometimes a download, for certain people with slow connections, is unfeasible. It's hard to believe for some of us, but easier for others of us (re: connection speed issues).

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

bwayne314 (1854406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039792)

Don't mind me, just a poor student coming through... I will still be pirating whatever cracked games I can just because its less hassle (anyone been reading the Diablo 3 news btw? forced permanent tether?) and also happens to be cheaper.

Don't you think that this stage of gaming "experimentation" has been going on long enough to draw rational conclusions about the market by now? Do you think that this industry, that twirls around billions of dollars, has not yet paid some very smart people to predict the market outcome in the long term? Of course they have, and the results are in - the most important slice of the clientele doesn't care and doesn't know about implications of DRM, the average housewife/grandma/baseball-dad has no clue, you could convince them to buy a blank CD for their kids if the cover looked cool enough.

This is the target audience of the industry, because this is the largest chunk of the world population with a modicum of spending cash.

Catching teenagers and nerds for pirating is just the cherry on top after the soccer-mom payoff.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#37040288)

Rentals could have expiration date set to them (online checked), such a practice could easily be deployed via Steam for example, maybe they are doing it already....

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (2)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042826)

such a practice could easily be deployed via Steam for example, maybe they are doing it already....

I don't think steam currently does rentals but they do free weekends and guest passes which are much the same thing technically so they could probablly bring in rental service pretty quickly if they wanted to.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039566)

I don't see a problem there. The copies will be DRMed to the hilt.

I'm not sure how this is any different than when libraries lend out ebooks. Sure those aren't real books, but they do get to lend them out anyways.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039612)

I'm confused, VHS copying was impossible/unheard of in the days of VHS? Nobody ever found a way to chain to VCRs to copy a movie during their rental time? I mean admitted there was quality reduction between copies with VHS vs digital where it is 100% carried across between copies, but still more then enough for successful copies.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37039672)

still more then

"then" is NOT the same word as "than" !

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039926)

A few years into the life of VHS, prerecorded had pulses inserted into vertical blanking to fool a VCR's gain control circuitry. This was in fact Rovi's first product: Macrovision analog copy protection.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37040042)

I think what dude is trying to get at is this: Just like how we saw that company the other week get shut down that was "renting" movies by letting you connect to a DVD player through the Internet the law treats digital and physical as two VASTLY different things. Rent a disc? that is covered under first sale. Rent a digital copy? You just walked into a minefield where the laws are firmly on the copyright cartel's side.

After all how would Gamefly PROVE they have a 1:1 ratio of renters to physical copies? Also the courts have ruled that digital requires a separate license, you don't get to format shift a DVD for instance and then offer ipod movie rentals, you have to have a separate agreement with the movie corps.

All I have to say is Gamefly better have all their ducks in a row and DAMN good lawyers, because if there is one thing we all should have learned by now is NEVER underestimate the greed of the content corps. They will either drop the banhammer on Gamefly or want so much for the digital rental rights Gamefly will lose money on the deal.

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37042162)

Why do you assume that the content providers aren't in on this? They don't need to worry about lawsuits if they have worked out deals with the game publishers... And they probably have. D2D is probably providing all the contacts they need to make this deal happen.

And it's not like others haven't done it. GameTap provides the same service, for about the same price. (Game selection is pretty weak, though, IMHO.)

Re:"Rentals" make no sense (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039774)

What they will probably end up doing is getting a bulk licensing agreement and only allow X number of rentals at any given time where X is the number licenses they have. They'll also have excessive DRM.

copy of gametap (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039536)

copy of gametap

Re-birth of the LAN party? (1)

shableep (1042634) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039544)

I always thought Steam should have a rental service. There's a bunch of games my friends and I would play at a LAN party, but never after. Certain games are fun when you can yell at your friend across the room, but without that they kinda lose their luster. You could make a list of 5 games you'd play at the LAN throughout the night, and not have to worry about excluding that one guy that didn't drop $50 on a game he'll never play again.

Re:Re-birth of the LAN party? (1)

Medevilae (1456015) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039692)

There're free weekends and demos, but that doesn't really cut it. However Steam is held to the publishers' terms, so there's not a lot of room to do anything innovative with the method of distribution.

download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37039770)

I understand it would be necessary but unless you could play it without the 7-8 gig downloads it would just be to troublesome, especially for people with slow connections...

Demos (3, Insightful)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 3 years ago | (#37039826)

What happened to demos, shareware, and all that fancy stuff that made PC games popular?

Re:Demos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37039886)

I've heard rumors that the reason for not doing demos is twofold. First, there is some talk that it hurts sales because crappy games are found out earlier. Second, it provides a similar DRM-free or at least an executable with different DRM to compare against and that makes games easier to crack.

Re:Demos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37042586)

They became free weekends on Steam

Re:Demos (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37043896)

What happened to demos, shareware, and all that fancy stuff that made PC games popular?

There are still quite a lot of demos on steam and the websites of the developers for games. It is only with some of the big budget games that you don't get demos for a game. In those cases they sometimes do the free weekends or something similar.

1984 Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37039836)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but back in 1984 the Congress passed a law outlawing the rental of computer software. As far as I know, this law is still on the books. Mircosoft lead the push for the law as they felt they were losing to much money on dos based programs, but Commedore and Nitendo got an exemption for their game cartridges.

Government doesn't outlaw (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#37045658)

All it does is make or remove exceptions, or change definitions, in copyright law.

Generally, the doctrine of first sale says once that copy is sold, the copyright holder can't tell you what to do with it. You can rent it, loan it or resell it. But they have this concept that you didn't buy that copy, you bought a license, and the license says you can't rent.

The government can go one of two ways: It can respect the intended limitations on copyright and tell the copyright holders that they don't have the power to limit rentals under First Sale, that copyright doesn't give them that power under a EULA. In this case, anybody can rent out any title under First Sale. Don't we wish Congress wasn't the slave to industry?

Or the government can say rentals aren't allowed under First Sale. In that case, people who want to rent out would need an individual deal with the copyright holder, or for that copyright holder to explicity allow rentals in the EULA. That is what the 1990 software rental act did.

Interestingly, console or handheld video games were NOT part of this exception. This is probably because at the time they were cartridge-based, and therefore not as easy to copy.

Gamefly has been renting analog games? n/t (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 3 years ago | (#37040582)

Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment.

Re:Gamefly has been renting analog games? n/t (1)

TouchAndGo (1799300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37040860) I kind of want to be able to rent board games.

too much data to download (1)

iampiti (1059688) | more than 3 years ago | (#37040906)

Apart from download caps this has other things against it such as that it doesn't provide instant gratification. If I'm going to rent a game and play it only for a couple of days I'd rather spend 30 mins going to the rental shop than waiting several hours for it to download.
Steam is different, you do have to download the games but at least you can play them forever.

Re:too much data to download (1)

Yamioni (2424602) | more than 3 years ago | (#37061008)

I can see no end of complaints coming from consumers if your rental period started in sync with the start of the download. Most likely (read: HOPEFULLY) they will have a button labeled 'unlock' or 'activate' or even a login screen in game that activates the game for play and kicks off the timer simultaneously. Any other implementation just strikes me as dumb.

Bandwidth. (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 3 years ago | (#37044216)

That'll be good for the ISP's already complaining about netflix.
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