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Posted by Alex (2366 posts) -

Ever since GameFly came into existence riding on the wave of success Netflix's mail order-based DVD rental service previously enjoyed, many have wondered when Netflix would actually hop into the ring and start delivering video games itself. And for years now, Netflix has been staunch in its stance that it had absolutely no interest in getting into the video game market, effectively leaving Gamefly as the sole way to rent games for people who would rather not leave the house, when given the option not to do so.

Let's hope that the quality of this image won't be analogous to the quality of the Qwikster service.

As of today, that's all about to change. Eventually.

Effective "soon," Netflix is about to make a massive branding change, essentially splitting the company's online streaming business and its mail order media business into two distinct properties. A blog entry from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings outlines that the Netflix name will remain with the online streaming service, while the DVD rental business will be re-branded Qwikster. For everyone hastily scribbling down notes on jokes to make about this fairly awful new name, make sure to include the Qwikster Twitter account, which presumably is not under the control of the folks at Netflix--unless, of course, Qwikster's new mascot is a thoroughly blazed up Elmo who enjoys bench pressing, casual misogyny, and using the word "shyt" a lot.

Almost an afterthought in Hastings' announcement, though likely a fairly big deal for anyone reading this story on this website, is the fact that video games will be added to the Qwikster service. This will include Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii titles at the outset, and users who opt to rent games will incur a slightly higher subscription fee, much as anyone who rents Blu-ray discs does. There is no specific launch date for the games service, unfortunately. All the hastily photoshopped announcement image (see above) says is, again, "soon."

All of this craziness is likely in response to the massive bleeding of subscribers and utter vitriol hurled at the company following its latest round of price hikes. Netflix's stock has taken quite a tumble over the last couple of weeks, and Hastings is clearly trying to stop the hemorrhaging. Whether or not this will have much effect on that remains to be seen, but hey, at the very least we're getting some damn video games out of the deal.

Provided the selection is up to snuff, one must ask the question: Is this enough to get you to drop GameFly for good? And if so, what would GameFly have to do to get you to stay on as a customer?

#1 Posted by Alex (2366 posts) -

Ever since GameFly came into existence riding on the wave of success Netflix's mail order-based DVD rental service previously enjoyed, many have wondered when Netflix would actually hop into the ring and start delivering video games itself. And for years now, Netflix has been staunch in its stance that it had absolutely no interest in getting into the video game market, effectively leaving Gamefly as the sole way to rent games for people who would rather not leave the house, when given the option not to do so.

Let's hope that the quality of this image won't be analogous to the quality of the Qwikster service.

As of today, that's all about to change. Eventually.

Effective "soon," Netflix is about to make a massive branding change, essentially splitting the company's online streaming business and its mail order media business into two distinct properties. A blog entry from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings outlines that the Netflix name will remain with the online streaming service, while the DVD rental business will be re-branded Qwikster. For everyone hastily scribbling down notes on jokes to make about this fairly awful new name, make sure to include the Qwikster Twitter account, which presumably is not under the control of the folks at Netflix--unless, of course, Qwikster's new mascot is a thoroughly blazed up Elmo who enjoys bench pressing, casual misogyny, and using the word "shyt" a lot.

Almost an afterthought in Hastings' announcement, though likely a fairly big deal for anyone reading this story on this website, is the fact that video games will be added to the Qwikster service. This will include Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii titles at the outset, and users who opt to rent games will incur a slightly higher subscription fee, much as anyone who rents Blu-ray discs does. There is no specific launch date for the games service, unfortunately. All the hastily photoshopped announcement image (see above) says is, again, "soon."

All of this craziness is likely in response to the massive bleeding of subscribers and utter vitriol hurled at the company following its latest round of price hikes. Netflix's stock has taken quite a tumble over the last couple of weeks, and Hastings is clearly trying to stop the hemorrhaging. Whether or not this will have much effect on that remains to be seen, but hey, at the very least we're getting some damn video games out of the deal.

Provided the selection is up to snuff, one must ask the question: Is this enough to get you to drop GameFly for good? And if so, what would GameFly have to do to get you to stay on as a customer?

#2 Posted by SlasherMan (1725 posts) -

Nice!

#3 Posted by Slaker117 (4843 posts) -

I like the idea, but "Qwikster" is a horrible name.

#4 Posted by benjaebe (2783 posts) -

If they can get newer games out to me faster, I'd happily sign up. The only problem I have with GameFly is that there's no point in trying to get a game that's been out for less than half a year because most of the time they're all out. Shipping speed is also a problem for some, so with Netflix's larger distribution centers that shouldn't be a problem.

#5 Posted by Luddite (75 posts) -

It'll be nice to see some competition in that market. I currently use Gamefly, and it's adequate to the task. But it isn't stellar in the same way that Netflix with their distribution centers 'could' be.

#6 Posted by Drazat (171 posts) -

Get netflix to the UK now!!!

#7 Posted by Brad (3259 posts) -

Gamefly is too expensive for the amount of inventory they keep on hand. If Netfl... sigh, Qwikster is competitive on price or availability (or ideally both), I'm all the way in. I'm keeping the disc rental service anyway -- the streaming lineup is far from complete, and nothing looks as good as a Blu-ray.

Staff
#8 Posted by McQuinn (651 posts) -

great. I probably will have to get dis.

#9 Posted by Thuggish (107 posts) -

The question I'm asking, is will it be priced in such a way as to convince me to keep my "Qwikster" account after the change. Seeing as how they're UNintegrating the Disc & Streaming sides of the business and making them more of a pain in the ass to use in tandem, it's not likely that I'll continue to subscribe.

I don't currently subscribe to Gamefly, because it takes 3-4 days to get a game where I'm at just outside of Boston. If I could get games with Netflix (Qwikster I suppose) speed, that could change.

#10 Posted by Sword5 (150 posts) -

Keep it under $10 a month and have two day shipping. This will put Gamefly in the ground.

#11 Posted by DefaultProphet (549 posts) -

@benjaebe said:

If they can get newer games out to me faster, I'd happily sign up. The only problem I have with GameFly is that there's no point in trying to get a game that's been out for less than half a year because most of the time they're all out. Shipping speed is also a problem for some, so with Netflix's larger distribution centers that shouldn't be a problem.

Have a slot open when a game is released, only have that release game in your Q and you get it 90% of the time I find

#12 Edited by Veektarius (4968 posts) -

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/09/wired-tired-new-netflix/

This link has some interesting theories, including that having a separate DVD mailing service will allow Netflix to pay lower rates for streaming films, and that the lousy name might be intended to kill off the DVD end of the business entirely - though branching into games suggests this is not the case.

Also see the below link as a somewhat less dire outlook on Netflix subscriptions than the ever-sensationalist (edit: Alex's) 'massive bleeding'. Here.

#13 Posted by theMixxer (41 posts) -

Yeah, that name... ugh.

However, if the games service is any good I may make the jump from Gamefly. Right now my only beef with Gamefly is the time it takes to get games from them (usually 2 days, occasionally 3) and the time it takes for them to receive my games (usually 3 days, sometimes 2). It's even more absurd considering the distribution center is in Austin, TX (I'm in Dallas, TX). If Netflix can leverage their distribution centers towards this game service to provide games next day for me like they do with movies, I'm sold.

#14 Edited by LetsRockBaby (241 posts) -

If the price and availability of games are better than Gamefly's, I'll certainly drop it in favor of Qwi... Qwikster? Anyway, the fact that I can rent DVDs and games is pretty solid.

#15 Posted by ckeats (489 posts) -

"Qwikster's new mascot is a thoroughly blazed up Elmo who enjoys bench pressing, casual misogyny, and using the word "shyt" a lot." That made my day.

#16 Posted by PLWolf (939 posts) -

I already dumped Gamefly, so I'm good.

#17 Posted by StealthRaptor (530 posts) -

Thank you so much for linking that twitter account.

#18 Posted by ZipCrash (175 posts) -

It could also be a response to...Blockbuster? They've been doing game rentals for a while now on their online service and since Dish bought them they have been throwing a lot of effort behind it.

But yea the split clearly has to do with them trying to get better deals for streaming and might even be a response to so many people raging over the price hike.

#19 Posted by StealthRaptor (530 posts) -

@Veektarius: Alex wrote the article.

#20 Posted by DeadMonkeys (827 posts) -

Aww shyt.

#21 Posted by Manatassi (791 posts) -

@Drazat err Lovefilm has been doing Games for Years.

#22 Edited by Bistromath (639 posts) -

As a former abused customer of Gamefly, my body is ready for some more rental competition. For some reason GF would consistently send me games from their Texas facility when I live not an hour away from their Pennsylvania coaster shipper. Supply or not, it was just stupid and wasteful.

Hopefully, Qwikster will have a good stock of game copies, as my other fond memory of GF was sitting in a queue for a low availability game for weeks.

Blegh.

(On second thought, given how badly both companies are run, fuck it all. <3 Steam.)

#23 Posted by BigBlueCheese (68 posts) -

Netflix's movie rental speed with a large collection of games sound great. Gamefly was terribly slow.

#24 Posted by sirdesmond (1256 posts) -

If this is somewhere around $10ish a month and is just as fast as Netflix is now and has been in the past then Gamefly is dead and there is no reason to stay. I tried two-three months and canceled. It was one of the worst services I've ever used.

#25 Posted by tmj (66 posts) -

Like everyone has pointed out if they have a better turn around than Gamefly I'm in. One of the roommates had GF and he signed up for the 2 game plan only because he didn't want to be paying for a service but not have a game in hand and with the 1 game plan there would be 4-5 day gaps with no game.

Even if it's 10-12 bucks a month I'm in. My DVD Q is already pretty huge on netflix and I dropped Instant simply b/c I didn't want to pay the price hike. The amount of money I could save on video game by paying an extra couple of bucks a month is totally worth it to me. Esp if they have a 'Keep' option like GF.

#26 Posted by Corvak (1158 posts) -

Oh hey more stuff that's US only. Maybe if 75% of what I searched for wasnt "unavailable" I would'nt have cancelled my subscription, Netflix. And most of that stuff is what friends tweet about being available on Netflix. When my eight bucks gets me the same as my American friends' eight bucks, I might resubscribe.

#27 Posted by ICryCauseImEmo (522 posts) -

If netflix lets me rent games and have the same speedy shipping as the movie service. Count my money back in.

#28 Posted by icytower38 (464 posts) -

Had numerous problems with GameFLY before they just up and canceled my account, that was 3 or 4 years ago and they still will not let me back. Add to that the fact that my girlfriend and everyone else I know with Netflix has never had any kind of problem and I think this could put a big dent in GameFLY.

I'll probably be subscribing to the service for the games once it launches.

#29 Posted by PenguinDust (12598 posts) -

If it's only a few bucks like the current Blu-Ray option for Neflix, I'm be very open to the idea. I recently changed my Netflix plan to just be the DVD/BDs so I'm very curious to see how this all plays out.

#30 Posted by FifiChiaPet (45 posts) -

I find it a little odd that the Blockbuster mail service never seems to get mentioned. I know they committed suicide by ignoring Netflix for too long, but they offer games and Blu-Rays at no extra fee.

If there are any horror stories about the Blockbuster mail-service, by all means educate me--I don't have any of these services at this point.

#31 Posted by AlexW00d (6382 posts) -

A non-sarcastic headline by Alex Navarro? WHAT THE FUCK?

#32 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -
@ckeats said:
"Qwikster's new mascot is a thoroughly blazed up Elmo who enjoys bench pressing, casual misogyny, and using the word "shyt" a lot." That made my day.
And his gamertag is Qw1k5t3rKillz.
#33 Posted by Alex (2366 posts) -

@FifiChiaPet: Honestly, I keep forgetting it exists, because I never, ever hear of anyone using it. I feel like it's a weird afterthought, because hardly anyone has a Blockbuster account anymore. I, too, would be curious to hear if anyone has any specific anecdotes about using that service as well.

#34 Edited by spookyfaust (54 posts) -

Any competition into the game rental-by-mail service is desperately needed. I've been an an on and off Gamefly subscriber for the past 5 years or so and their service (delivery time and availability of new games) has steadily declined over the years. But, being the only service available, they've had little motivation to improve.

If nothing else, l hope that the presence of competition will ultimately result in better service. The name of the company that ultimately offers that better service is wholly irrelevant to me.

#35 Posted by chilibean_3 (1677 posts) -

I wasn't expecting Netflix to ever get into the games side of things. Everything about this news is kind of crazy.

#36 Posted by teekomeeko (629 posts) -

Yes, please. I wonder, though, if adding the game portion to Quikster will mean I get one disc and one game at home, or just one item at a time. Whatever, it'll surely be better than Gamefly, which I only subscribe to a month or two at a time during a special (it's not worth it otherwise, in my opinion).

#37 Edited by CottoneUD (314 posts) -

I would probably dump Gamefly for this if the price is right and the games are plentiful -- Gamefly needs Netflix to do this like a kick in the face.

I would stay with Gamefly if they improved shipping times (more warehouses) and inventory and maybe improved their rewards program.

#38 Posted by yoshimitz707 (2453 posts) -

I hope this comes to Canada now that it's separate. GameAccess here could some competition. Maybe it'll get them to fucking get a shipping center on the west coast!

#39 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -

It sounds like video games will be an upgrade option the way Blu-rays are. I understand why they'd charge more for games as the discs do cost more, but how about an option for games only? I've been streaming only since early this year for a reason.

#40 Posted by AmericanNinja (157 posts) -

Wow Netflix is really going downhill.

#41 Edited by TOYBOXX (310 posts) -

Will this mean that all of Neflix' movie catalog will be available for streaming? If so, then it's about time! It's great that they've decided to open up their business to video games, but they also need to work on their movie side, as well.

#42 Posted by cheapandtacky (130 posts) -

So Netflicks recognise the mail order market is on the way out so they make a few quid using their existing model for computer games.

So do they grab the money while its there before closing the post option altogether or do thy move into digital distribution?

#43 Posted by kennybaese (679 posts) -

This is interesting. I'm already over the name. I think the Vita and the name of any given smart phone out there (the Moto Citrus, anyone?) has proven very thoroughly that names are dumb, and don't matter. I dropped DVDs a while ago, but if the game rental stuff is good, and the price is right (around 10 or 12 for DVDs and games, one of each out at a time, maybe?) I"ll definitely be tempted to look into this more. Until then, I'm going to be reading the Qwikster Twitter account.

#44 Posted by aku (57 posts) -

i'll try it. if their turnover for game delivery is as quick as their dvds, then im in. the reason why i cancelled my gamefly account is it took too long for it to be worth it.

#45 Posted by DemonStration (17 posts) -

Unless they have a discounted "Keep" option like Gamefly does, I'm not interested. I get so much mileage out of GF's try-before-you-buy setup that I can't justify dropping it.

#46 Posted by Ronald (1383 posts) -

After considering dropping Netflix, I'm now thinking about keeping it due to this. Especially depending on what games are available and how fast they will arrive.

#47 Posted by Tizzzzzz (47 posts) -

To speak to Blockbuster's service--I've been a member since last September, been splitting it with two other people for the three disc plan [which was 18 dollars at the time so we're grandfathered in]. I'm someone who looked to the service as a great way of playing a lot of older games and [eventually] newer stuff, which is to say I wasn't going to feel bad if I couldn't get new releases in their first week or even month.

First of all, if you don't have a Blockbuster near you I don't think it makes a lot of sense in the long run, especially if you want to rent newer stuff. They don't allow you to rent multi-disc games at all, and you can't rent a new game within about three months of release, not because of availability but because Blockbuster straight up won't let you. As of tomorrow you can rent Red Faction: Armageddon on the service, and next week you can start renting Madness Returns, for example.

I had a great run with the service for a long time, but at this point most of the games in our queue are on at least short or long wait--50 out of the 130 titles we currently have on the queue are listed as "available" and the list spans the entire 360 library as far as years pretty much. I rarely get games on short wait shipped to me, which is really frustrating. I ended up with a game that was approximately 20 slots down on my queue--Singularity--and I've yet to play it because I didn't really plan on playing it right now, but there aren't many games that excite me enough to just ship it back. Also most of those "available" games are games my roommate is interested in, so that doesn't really help.

It's probably an okay alternative to GameFly, especially if you have a store nearby since you can bring your rentals to the store and they'll scan them and automatically get the next available game shipped to you. They also appear to have more shipping facilities than GameFly which I've heard is a big problem with that service. At this point though Blockbuster only feels competitive in terms of pricing and proximity, not really anything else, so Qwikster is sounding really appealing to me right now depending on what that price ends up being.

I haven't tried renting DVDs from Blockbuster as I also have a Netflix account but... I have a feeling Qwikster is going to be better about DVDs, just as a guess. Hope that helps any of you out who were curious about Blockbuster.

#48 Posted by MeatSim (10925 posts) -

Maybe I will actually rent games now. Gamefly was the only option before since there aren't any physical stores that rent games around here anymore.

#49 Posted by mattman734 (85 posts) -

I would love to have games in my netflix but im not sure about the splitting the branding, i get Netflix being such a big company feels they need to make changes before the market dose but this seems a bit drastic considering it looks like instant is going to be worse than last year without stars and some tv studio support.

#50 Posted by intelekshual (5 posts) -

This is interesting news, especially since I just cancelled my GameFly subscription this morning. If they can deliver newer games faster, and for a (relatively) cheaper price, I might be willing to subscribe to Qwikster. Otherwise, I'll just stick to Netflix.