Yesterday's news that Netflix...erm, Qwikster (never going to get used to that) would be diving into the realm of mail order video game rentals was, frankly, a bit of a shocker. After previously going to great lengths to make video game rentals sound like the least useful business proposition this side of selling ice machines to Eskimos, the sudden shift in policy caught everyone off-guard.
Given Netflix/Qwikster's rather elaborate and well-oiled distribution system, some (myself included) have prophecized that this could be a rather significant blow to GameFly, currently the leading dealer of rentable video games in existence today. GameFly's massive library of games, not to mention relatively paltry competition from the likes of Blockbuster and Redbox, have ultimately left the company atop the heap for a number of years now, despite significant issues among some customers when it comes to availability of titles and delays in shipping.
Reaching out for comment on the Netflix situation, Joystiq received an official response from GameFly today, albeit one that doesn't exactly sound like the words of a company looking to get into any manner of pissing contest over this whole thing. Rather than addressing the Netflix situation straight on, the statement rather simply dances around it by instead choosing to focus on the things that GameFly has done to improve its service over the years, and remind everyone that hey, they've still got a bunch of games.
"GameFly has expanded steadily over the past nine years by focusing exclusively on video gamers. We are the only retailer offering games physically and digitally for both rental and purchase," GameFly responded in a statement when asked about Qwikster. "Gamers can try before they buy, choosing from new releases and classic titles that span the last decade. GameFly has more than 8000 games for 10 console and handheld systems to choose from, and over 1500 Windows/Mac games are available for download."
"GameFly is the leading video game rental service, and we have continued to grow even as Blockbuster and Redbox increased their investment in console games."
That statement is a lot funnier if you imagine the communications director who came up with it histrionically dictating it to a freaked out intern while periodically pausing to hyperventilate into a paper bag and wash down handfuls of Ativan with a comically over-sized bottle of Zima. And maybe they're wearing a clown wig for some reason. Just try it, it's hilarious.
While nobody knows just yet exactly how committed Qwikflix/Netster is in terms of its upcoming video game initiative--issues like additional rental fees and the extent of their library have yet to be addressed--subscribers to GameFly's service can at least presumably rest easy now knowing that GameFly is totally not worried about any of this, and will not be reacting in a desperate, unpredictable manner to try and retain subscribers in the face of growing costs and competition by, say, splitting out their business into two distinct businesses that each do half of the thing the original business already did. Not that any company would be so frivolous in its business planning to act with such rash and bizarre behavior. That would just be suicidal.
In other, probably unrelated news, Netflix's stock dropped 7% today. Super weird, right?