UPDATE: More details come from USA Today, of all places. Gamefly will be doing a subscription-based PC game rental service after all — so my complaints below are addressed mostly. Details are still limited, yet Gamefly co-founder, Sean Spector, is quick to compare their service as Spotify for games, claiming around 100 titles available during launch, with more to be added. It’ll be interesting to see price and terms of the subscription service. We’ll look into it more next month, when the beta launches.
Gamefly has just started promoting their new game download service which will launch sometime this Holiday season, with a limited beta starting September 8th. Details are really sparse at the moment, but what this looks like is yet another digital storefront, complete with client that will have its own friends list, gaming news and other stuff that you are already happily getting elsewhere. No where is mentioned any ability to rent PC games.
What’s unclear, is how this will interact or possibly replace Direct2Drive, which Gamefly bought a few months back. It would seem odd to create a totally new service in parallel to D2D, especially since they spent significant money in that purchase. If Gamefly’s download service replaces D2D’s model with another Steam client competitor service, that will be a bit of a disappointment for me. One of the key advantages D2D had is that it was just a storefront, and installing games bought from there didn’t require a separate client, requiring managing yet another profile, complete with its own isolated friends list. It’s bad enough that Origin is making us do that, but now with Gamefly going that route, I just don’t think there’s enough room in that space for yet another client. Gamefly will have to offer some really compelling reason to get up enough inertia to have a worthwhile number of gamers to install another piece of software that duplicates functionality that’s already entrenched with Steam. Let’s face it, all your friends are already on Steam.
But if you’re ready for more game clients and Steam, Origin, Impulse, Xfire and whatever else aren’t enough for you, you can request beta access here.
Bonus, semi-worthless promo video: