Federal appeals court sides with GameFly in dispute with U.S. Post Office.
GameFly claims it spends millions of dollars every year adjusting to the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) handling of its games, unlike Netflix, which allegedly receives the white glove treatment. As the USPS's biggest customer, Netflix's DVDs are processed by hand and with specially designated containers, which could serve a dual-purpose of limiting damage to and loss of DVDs. This was the basis for GameFly taking matters to court.
GameFly has stripped its digital PC game distribution client of its beta tag and launched it as a polished download. It's both a storefront for over 1,500 Windows and Mac games, and a queue management frontend for subscribers to GameFly's game rental service, essentially a Netflix equivalent for games with a Steam-like distribution model baked in. To celebrate the launch, GameFly is offering up BioShock for free.
If you subscribe to GameFly, your plan just got a whole lot better. The GameFly Unlimited PC Play finally threw off its private beta shackles and entered public beta today, which means that anybody with a GameFly account can play select PC titles as much as they want, as often as they want after downloading GameFly’s client. The program also lets you manage your queue and buy games. Best of all, it’s completely free! No extra subscriptions required.
In what was largely overshadowed by the intense backlash over Netflix's ill-fated decision to spin off its DVD-by-mail rental business into Qwikster is that you'd be able to rent videogames in addition to DVDs and Blu-ray movies. It was to be an upgrade option similar to the one for Blu-ray, except you'd be able to rent Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 games. Did Netflix nix those plans when it axed Qwikster?
Netflix's decision to spin off its DVD rental business into a separate entity known as Qwikster and add videogames to the mix means gamers now have another option to get their pixelated fixes. It also means big competition for GameFly, which doesn't appear to be threatened by the move, or is at least playing it tough in the public eye.
Like Netflix, GameFly sends discs out to subscribers by mail. The only difference is GameFly deals with videogames, and Netflix deals with movies and TV shows. So if the two services are so similar, at least in terms of their by-mail rental model, why then does the United States Postal Service give Netflix better rates than GameFly? That's the question David Hodess, president and CEO of GameFly, is demanding to have answered.
As Netflix looks to move further away from DVD-by-mail rentals and focus more attention on its streaming service, GameFly is taking the exact opposite approach and continues to beef up its games-by-mail operations. The videogame equivalent of Netflix (minus the streaming capability), GameFly is adding a fifth distribution center to help serve its expanding membership. This newest one will land in Seattle.