If you’ve spent any amount of time in the world of video games, you’ve probably heard of the game rental service Gamefly. Even if you’re not a gamer, you may have at some point seen a commercial on TV or online for it. Gamefly is a service that operates like the DVD service for Netflix. You set up an account, create a list of games that you’d like to play and then games are mailed to you as they become available. When you’re done with a game, you put it in the return envelope and send it back to Gamefly for the next game on your list. I’ve used Gamefly off and on for a number of years now, and thought I’d share a few thoughts on it.

Is a Gamefly subscription worth your money? That depends. If you’re looking to rent the latest and most popular games you might be disappointed. Understandably, the games that have the highest demand are the hardest ones to get and you’re more or less just hoping to get lucky with those. However, if you’re like me and you’re always several months to a year behind on game releases, then Gamefly works well because after a number of months most people have moved on to other games and the availability of games that have been out for awhile is usually high.

As a service overall, Gamefly is fairly good. So far I’ve only had two times where I got a game disc with issues, and those were both years ago during the earlier days of Gamefly. In fact, as I was thinking over this post it occurred to me that nearly all the issues I’ve had with Gamefly were back in the first year or two that I was a subscriber, so there’s been improvement as time passed. The only ongoing issue I have with Gamefly, which is honestly a minor one, is that there’s no distribution center here in Colorado, so it takes an extra day or two for my games to be received on either end.

Is there an ideal way to use Gamefly? I think there is, but it’s not possible for everyone. Although you can hold a game you’ve rented for as long as you like, it doesn’t make financial sense to hold games for more than a few weeks. At that point you may be better off just buying it and then trying to resell it on Craigslist. Rather, the best way to use Gamefly, in my opinion, is to have a rental plan where you have two or more games out at a time and rapidly work through them. By this I mean that you would burn through a game quickly, mail it back to Gamefly, and while that game is out you should work on the other game so that you’re finished or close to finished by the time the next one arrives. This requires a serious time commitment, which not everyone can make, but if you can it will allow you to experience a large number of games within a relatively short period of time and for minimal expense.

If you’re thinking about opening a Gamefly account, take into consideration what types of games you want to play and what time commitment you can make for playing them. Hopefully this brief commentary provided some useful insight into how well Gamefly works. For further information you should check out Gamefly’s website and then search out other peoples’ opinions to balance against mine. For me Gamefly is worthwhile, but it might not be for you.

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