Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 22, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 22, 2014
PR Newswire
View All

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:

Netflix Renames Mail Service To Qwikster, Adds Game Rentals
Netflix Renames Mail Service To Qwikster, Adds Game Rentals
September 19, 2011 | By Mike Rose

September 19, 2011 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Netflix has announced that it will change the name of its DVD by mail service to Qwikster in a few weeks time, while also adding the option to rent video games via the service.

The company is separating its online video streaming and DVD rental services, with the streaming service keeping the original Netflix name.

Once Qwikster launches, users of the DVD by rental service will be able to upgrade their package to include video games, and order Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games for rent.

Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix, explained in a blog post, "Members have been asking for video games for many years, and now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done."

He noted that Qwikster is not a brand new service, but rather, "merely a renamed version of the Netflix DVD website, but with the addition of video games."

The Netflix video streaming service is available on various games consoles, and currently half of Netflix users stream content through a home video game console.

In fact, nearly 20 percent of peak hour downstream traffic in North America is used for streaming video over Netflix through a home video game console, representing the most usage of any source.

Related Jobs

Nexon America, Inc.
Nexon America, Inc. — El Segundo, California, United States

Localization Coordinator
Petroglyph Games
Petroglyph Games — Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

DeNA Studios Canada
DeNA Studios Canada — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Analytical Game Designer
Xsolla — Sherman Oaks, California, United States

Senior Business Development Manager


[User Banned]
profile image
This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Leo Gura
profile image
Apparently the folks at Netflix haven't been told rule #1: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

John McMahon
profile image
They're reasoning is that the DVD and streaming services are going in opposite directions. I think they just may be looking to sell off the DVD mail-in service.

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
" I think they just may be looking to sell off the DVD mail-in service."

I truly hope so. Streaming for the majority of movies and TV shows is the future for me personally entertainment wise.

Alan Youngblood
profile image
They could have handled giving it a more attractive name if they want to sell it off. But then again, a bad name hasn't stopped iPads from selling.

Geoff Schardein
profile image
Netflix has made a possibly fatal business decision in the way they handled this paradigm shift to split the two revenue streams. The streaming business does not contain enough new titles to keep my interest. I had 2 DVDs and the streaming; I dropped to a single DVD at any time monthly. With the advent of more nimble companies such as Redbox even the $7.99 a month starts to look high. I have to get and watch 8 DVDs a month to break even vs. going to a Redbox location. On the streaming front there are other options that may give Netflix a run for their money since the Netflix library is very incomplete and does not include new releases. Much like Netflix was the beginning of the end for Blockbuster, this new poorly handled split could well be the end of Netflix and the newly formed Qwikster. I am likely to drop Netflix altogether soon and select other options and I don't think I am alone in this decision.

Bryan Wagstaff
profile image
The problem is trying to get older movies.

I saw a bit of "Jurrassic Park" on cable a while back, and want to see the whole thing for nostalgia reasons. It is not available through any (legal) online service I can find, nor is it in Redbox or most chain rental stores.

I could either go through a movie rental shop in the city that stocks old movies, or hope that the Netflix disk isn't too scratched up.

Fortunately for me they had it, and I could watch it, and return it.

There is still a very good market of movies that Redbox cannot fill; their business model only works for popular titles. The studios are still fighting to keep everything else out of digital streaming. Many older titles are blocked from streaming because the studios are unable to work out permissions (read: unwilling to pay royalties) from the people in the shows.

With Starz decision to cut netflix streaming thanks to a 10x rate increase, and similar decisions of to cut services from Hulu Plus (the dreaded "Streaming rights are no longer available"), it is no wonder that movie piracy is again trending back upward.

Disney did the same thing with their shows a few months back: The stupid executives were afraid of piracy, so they turned off their own (legal) streams of the shows. They were afraid of piracy, but the action is to remove the only legal source, thereby leaving piracy as the only option. I hoped they learned.

If I could get Redbox to stock the old movies, the classic cult movies, and all the awesome harder-to-get stuff, then yes, it would be a great replacement.

Until then, seems like netflix/qwikster is still the only option in town.

Alan Rimkeit
profile image
All right, I am coming in defense of Netflix, sort of.

I use Netflix but only streaming through my PS3. I am hoping that the streaming becomes their main focus. I am willing to pay a little more as long as the movie selection grows in their streaming library. What I, and pretty much all streaming customers, want is for them to get new releases and as many of their DVD movie library on their streaming service. That is what I am hoping that all this extra cash is going toward. If it all works out for Netflix that is. We shall see what fruit this all bears.

Allen Danklefsen
profile image
My household used netflix a lot the first 2 months we got it. However, it's become backseat to hulu plus lately; and will most likely be canceling the service soon.

Ali Afshari
profile image
Hulu has its issues, too: 1) Most of their licensing agreements force them to only keep about 5 of the most recent episodes available for popular shows; 2) They force you to watch advertisements; 3) Their streaming library is definitely lacking when compared to Netflix.

I really wish Netflix had considered some sort of grandfather clause for the subscribers that had been around before 2011.

Ujn Hunter
profile image
Looks like I'll be canceling my "Netflix" and watching closely how craptastic "Qwikster" becomes. Poor business decisions all around. My mind is boggled.

Jeremy Alessi
profile image
Netflix was built for this purpose. In reality this is the moment of truth for the company. I think it's a great decision. The housing and mailing costs associated with DVD's is outrageous not to mention the direction the world is going environmentally. The freed up cash can be used to create or purchase must have content for the service. Finally, I'm sure their analytics show greater use of the streaming over the physical discs. In my household we watch the streaming at a rate of at least 5:1 compared with the mail service. People are going to have a knee-jerk reaction of course but I'm sure they trust their numbers over the collective Internet sigh we heard today. If ever there was a decision backed by the book "Super Crunchers" this is it.

Nathan Mates
profile image
Streaming may be the future, but is it the present? I'm not a netflix/quickster subscriber (present or past), but from what I hear, their streaming offerings have shortcomings in catalog depth and quality (e.g. subtitles, 1080p). Add in concerns about bandwidth caps, etc, and it doesn't seem like enough things have been resolved yet.

It seems as if this move is aimed at 2016, not 2011. That's fine. But, programmers have an aphorism: "Premature optimization is the root of all kinds of evil." To me, this seems like a case of serious case of premature optimization.

Matthew Cooper
profile image
As a person who has never used Netflix, I am now intrigued by Qwikster. I don't want to fork over $15.95 a month to GameFly just for their selection of games, but I might do it if I can switch back and forth between games and blu-rays with Qwikster.