Digital Game Rentals Are The Future

Game rentals used to be an integral part of every gamer’s life. 3 day rentals from Blockbuster or Hollywood Video were definitely highlights of my weekends as a kid, but movie and game rental stores are gone. GameFly is still around, but I’d argue that game rentals in 2017 are dead. Here’s my plan to revamp video game rentals.

I no longer want to deal with physical media, so game rentals should purely be digital. A few benefits of a digital-only rental system is there aren’t any discs to scratch, lose or ship, and digital licensing has proven to be a simple and effective way to control access to digital content. Most importantly with a digital-only rental system, publishers and developers could get a percentage of every single rental. I propose the following price structure:

  • $5 for 24 hrs
  • $7.50 for 48 hrs or weekend
  • $20 – $30 for 1 month

Unlike previous rental systems where the money you spend is gone forever, my rental system will allow the first $5 you spend on a rental to go towards the price of the full game. The only ‘catch’ is you must buy the game during the rental period or within 24 hours after it ends.

Why do we need digital game rentals?

Who knows how much extra revenue can be drummed up. For example, I’m never going to pay $60 for any Call of Duty (yes, I said it), but I probably would have at least rented Infinite Warfare for a weekend ($7.50), or even a month ($20 – $30) to play with friends.

Also friends will ask me what I think about a game. Sometimes I’ll have played the game, and can give them an honest opinion. Although when I haven’t played a game, I could easily tell a friend to rent it for $5 and try it out. Almost anyone will toss in $5 to try out a game they are on the fence about, especially if their $5 goes towards the final purchase (which my plan allows for).

Game rentals also have the possibility to expand a game’s audience. I might rent a game that I really end up liking, whereas now if there’s a game I kind of want, I will wait for it to be free. If it never becomes free, oh well, I have enough games to play.

How will digital game rentals work?

1) Pay
2) Download game
3) Play
Just like buying a full retail title, except it is time limited.

What about streaming game rentals?

Streaming isn’t a bad idea, but it isn’t good enough yet for competitive games. Latency is too high and quality isn’t as good. The point of a rental is to be able to evaluate the full product before buying.

That’s It!

Hopefully publishers, developers and console manufacturers get together to make digital game rentals a reality!

Hosted by
Jack Wager

I like playing games, but there's not enough time to play all of them

  • Why would it be vastly more expensive than gamefly even though it didn’t have to mail physical games?

    • I based prices on what I’d be willing to pay. Last time I had GameFly, I paid for months of service without any games to play because GameFly didn’t have them in stock.

      Even though my monthly price of $20 – $30/mo for a digital rental is more expensive than GameFly @ $15.95/mo, I might end up paying GameFly for 2 months of service to play 1 game for 1 month because I had to wait. Also the convenience of a digital download and the guarantee of being able to play on launch day makes a slightly more expensive digital rental even more attractive.

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