Video game rental service GameFly operates on a disc-by-mail system, and their recent announcement of a streaming service means they’re poised to dominate the market as the Netflix of gaming. Dubbed GameFly Streaming, this new feature will allow subscribers to stream select games to their Amazon Fire TV. Packages are purchased on monthly subscription, and the GameFly website lists the following packs available immediately:
Action Pack(7 titles) - $6.99/month includes F.E.A.R. 3, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, Red Faction: Armageddon, Red Faction: Guerilla, Mafia II, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman
Adventure Pack(7 titles) - $6.99/month includes Dark Void, Overlord II, Darksiders, Darksiders II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins
Gamer Pack(16 titles) - $9.99/month includes F.E.A.R. 3, Red Faction: Armageddon, Red Faction: Guerilla, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Darksiders, Darksiders II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins, Shank, Shank 2, Dark Void, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, Mafia II, Overlord II
Speed Pack (7 titles) - $6.99/month includes Ace Combat, Dirt 3, GRID, GRID 2, MotoGP13, Ridge Racer Unbounded, WRC 4
Fun Pack(7 titles) - $6.99/month includes Flock!, PAC-MAN Championship Edition, PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Rise of the Owlverlord, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
LEGO Pack (7 titles) - $6.99/month includes LEGO Batman, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, LEGO Lord of the Rings, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, LEGO Marvel: Super Heroes, LEGO The Hobbit
GameFly Streaming is a fantastic concept, but a few immediate drawbacks require refinement. Cloud-based game delivery means instantaneous delivery, which eliminates necessary discs. While this is great (assuming you have a solid internet connection), GameFly Streaming is only available on the Amazon Fire TV, at least initially. This means the target audience is limited to gamers with a certain mircoconsole, and moreover one with an atrocious controller. Thankfully, according to GameFly’s FAQ, the Fire TV is compatible with select gamepads, like the Xbox 360 controller, and the Logitech F-710.
Aside from device restrictions, effectiveness of the pricing structure remains to be seen. For a low monthly price, subscribers receive a bevy of games, but the frequency of play determines whether it’s economical. Take the Gamer Pack, for example, which boasts 16 games for just $9.99. While this price seems like a great deal, users must factor in how many months they’ll maintain a subscription, and how many games they’ll actually play. Depending on the individual findings, it might be more reasonable to simply buy a game outright. This affords the freedom to re-sell a game if it’s a physical copy, and many digital titles are frequently on sale. Thanks Steam!
Ultimately, GameFly Streaming is a step in the right direction. Sony unveiled a streaming service, PlayStation Now, on the PlayStation 4. Not only is game streaming on the rise, but this further perpetuates the trend of microconsole gaming, which has become increasingly popular. Hopefully we’ll see an expanded list of compatible devices, which seems feasible considering Fire OS is an Android-based operating system.