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Netflix drops plans to offer video game rentals
Netflix drops plans to offer video game rentals
January 25, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi

January 25, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi
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After a brief period of indecision, video streaming and disc-by-mail company Netflix has officially dropped earlier plans to begin offering video game discs by mail.

The news was confirmed by CEO Reed Hastings in a conference call with Netflix investors attended by tech blog Engadget. Hastings said the company has "no plans" to offer games for rental.

The company's ambition to expand into game rentals was first teased in September of last year. At that time, Netflix was splintering off its digital and physical divisions into two distinct categories: the video streaming service would continue to be called Netflix, while the disc-by-mail portion -- which would expand to include video games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii -- would operate under a new company called Qwikster.

"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," Hastings said at the time.

Plans to split the company quickly dissolved among analyst denouncement and declining stock prices. When asked the following month if video games would still be introduced into the service, Hastings said the company had "yet to decide whether or not to offer video game discs."

The move, had it gone through, would have offered substantial competition to the current leader in games-by-mail, GameFly.


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Comments


Evan Combs
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While the splitting of the company was almost universally hated, the addition of games would have been loved by many. I don't quite understand this decision. Maybe some behind the scenes stuff we don't know about?

John Byrd
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Loved by many who don't actually work in the game industry, maybe.

Mike Lopez
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Smart move. Games only appeal to a small fraction of customers and would not benefit from the same economies of scale. Plus, Retail games are continually declining and no sense investing in infrastructure to rent games when in a matter of years everything will be digitally distributed.

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

Ujn Hunter
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Guess I'll have to quit playing games.

Eric Geer
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I agree--and even if not digitally distributed--Netflix would probably take a hard hit with the incoming online passes--and likely something similar in new consoles that probably won't even allow for used games to be run in the system(rumor for next xbox)--which will more than likely kill rentals and used games as a whole.



but will drastically increase piracy...imo

Michael Padilla
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It makes me wonder if they'll run with a streaming service similar to that of OnLive and/or Gaikai. Streaming is their forte, after all.

Brian Arthur
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You guys/gals ever hear of gamefly? I have been a member for a little over a year and I like it. They just sweetened their deal too with Unlimited PC play if you are a member. kinda like Steam ( you can buy for digital download, or free play as well). They activate the keys electronically, not sure how that works. You can have console games come in the mail too with the same price. Its 15$ a month for one game at a time with the PC play as well.


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