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Online Video Game Rental Services - Are They Worth It?

by: James Taylor ; edited by: Aaron R. ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

As video game development budgets grow bigger, how can your wallet keep up with the rising cost of games? Instead of selling your legs to science, or turning to a life of crime, or, god forbid, ignoring a couple of games, perhaps an online game-rental service could help you meet your quota?

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    Weighing Your Options

    As video game development cycles get longer and their budgets grow bigger, how can your wallet keep up with the rising cost of games? Trying to keep up with the holiday glut of games can break a man. Instead of selling your legs to science, or turning to a life of crime, or, god forbid, ignoring a couple of games, perhaps an online game-rental service could help you meet your quota?

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    GameFly

    Gamefly.com

    Initial Cost: $12.95/Two games out at a time

    Monthly Cost: $22.95/Two games out at a time

    Rarest game available: Gitaroo Man (PS2)

    How many games a year you'd have to usually buy to make it worthwhile: Five

    The reigning champ, Gamefly was one of the first to apply the Netflix formula to online video game rentals. Games can be kept as long as you like, with no late fees and no shipping charges. With shipping centers in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Tampa, game transit usually takes two to three days, or about a week between games. Most customers are impressed with the large library of games, including many hard-to-find last-generation titles,while complaints mainly focus on unusually long shipping times. So, GameFly can be a great way to make sure that you get to play some of the latest video games without having to shell out a ton of money.

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    Gameznflix

    Gameznflix.com

    Initial Cost: $12.99/Two games out at a time

    Monthly Cost: $12.99/Two games out at a time

    Rarest game available: Odama (GameCube)

    How many games a year you'd have to usually buy to make it worthwhile: Three

    The cheapest rental service comes with a twist -- you can rent games and movies on the same plan! The consolidation is nice, but let's stick to the meat and potatoes. Their video game rentals selection is sorely lacking in comparison to the competition's, and the website is a bit of a mess, with ads crammed in every corner and a logo stolen directly from Second Life. Despite nine distribution sites spread across the country, many subscribers complain about availability and shipping times. Seems to be a case of getting what you pay for.

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    Gamerang

    Gamerang.com

    Initial Cost: $20/Two games out at a time

    Monthly Cost: $24.95/Two games out at a time

    Rarest game available: Fatal Frame (PS2)

    How many games a year you'd have to usually buy to make it worthwhile: Five

    Something strange turned up in my research: there seems to be noticeably more positive comments for Gamerang than negative. Thanks to the internet, any irked yokel can and will shout anonymously into the ether, especially when instant satisfaction is demanded. But somehow, Gamerang just might have quelled them. Distribution centers in California, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and New Jersey seem to cover the map pretty decently, with subscribers reporting acceptable ship times. The video game rentals selection is healthy, but is still missing many niche titles found in Gamefly's epic catalogue.

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    Video Game Rentals Overall

    Will online video game rentals work for you? Much of it depends on your distance from the distribution centers. If you're stranded in the Midwest, it can be hard to get your money's worth from the service. Also, it's very possible that you won't get super-popular titles right away. If you can't treat your rental queue with a laid-back patience, sticking with retail might be better for you. If you can overcome these criteria, a cornucopia of gaming goodness awaits you.