Netflix breaks into gaming industry, Mixed reviews received concerning new gaming rental service offered by company
While it is no secret that Netflix has split its two services, streaming movies and DVD-by-mail, into separate businesses with different fees, one fact that may have been lost in Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’s Sept. 18 blog post is the fact that the company will also be offering video game rentals to the list of services.
While certain Netflix customers are not pleased with changes the company has recently announced, others think the video game rental will be a good addition.
“I think it’s going to be very good for the company,” UTPA Gamers Club President Daniel Salinas said. “If you just want to try it, I think it’s a good idea, see if you like it. Try it out for that one month. And if you like it, then you can purchase it.”
Salinas, who is working on his master’s degree in theatre, thinks it is a good deal for the company and consumers who enjoy video games. But its benefits may even extend to places that sell video games, such as GameStop. With 14 locations Valley-wide, including one along University Drive, the video game retail company has a strong presence in the area.
“If a person likes the game they might go buy it at GameStop or something,” he said. “They could work in conjunction with each other. If they don’t like it, they won’t buy it. It’s also good for the consumer. They can try the games out before they buy them. It helps both parties equally.”
While Salinas has a positive view on the matter, other members of the Gamers Club, such as Vice President Adrian Ponce, don’t think it is a good move.
“Personally, I don’t like using Netflix or GameFly or things like that to rent games,” the junior English major said. “To me, gaming is like a feeling. You’re either going to like it or you don’t. And I will actually go out and buy a game and if I don’t like it, I’m a true believer in buyer’s remorse. I might sell it, but then again I might not.”
Ponce, who had his first Nintendo Gameboy when he was four, considers himself a “gamer.” He points out that most dedicated players prefer to own games and learn them thoroughly.
“A gamer will spend time with a game and learn all of its ins and outs, everything about it,” he said. “Secrets, other passages you might be able to take, unlockables and things like that as opposed to a casual gamer who will just play the game for its fun value and story and either put it away or sell it right away.”
Freshman English major J.V. Requena, also a member of the Gamers Club, shares a similar view.
“I actually like to own the games,” he said. “If I have to turn it in before I beat it, it really sucks. I would rather just have the game there and I can take a break from it, but I know I have it there to beat later.”
In addition to the fact that some prefer owning games as opposed to renting them, Netflix also faces the issue of console availability. As of now, only Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games are being offered for rental, even though there are many more consoles out there that dedicated gamers enjoy using. When compared to companies that offer similar video game rental services, such as GameFly, Netflix’s variety pales in comparison. GameFly offers more than 7,000 titles on a variety of consoles, such as PS3, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, GameCube, Nintendo DS and Gameboy Advance. They also allow users to check out two video games at a time.
“I consider myself a gamer because I have a bunch of game systems,” Ponce said. “Like Nintendo, Super Nintendo, N64, Xbox, Wii, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy DS, I’ve been everywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever sold a game ever. And it’s hard to choose a favorite system because each one has its own game that’s special. And for everybody that’s a different game.”
While Netflix seems to be facing opposition from some dedicated gaming fans, to others it doesn’t affect their view of the company at all.
“It’s very similar to GameFly,” Margaret Rivera, the other VP for the Gamers Club, said. “It doesn’t really affect my opinion. For me, it’s not a big deal. I always know someone who has the game anyway.”
But Rivera, who is pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology, sees the point her fellow club members make.
“If you really love the game or the genre, you’re going to keep it,” she said. “For example, some of the Final Fantasy VII games, the original discs, are going for $100. If they own them, they don’t want to sell them.”
This is another observation that should not go unnoticed when comparing Netflix to GameFly. With GameFly’s unique “keep feature,” users are allowed to buy the games they rent, which could make all the difference for dedicated gamers.