My Experiences of GameFly

After moving to US I bought a new XBox 360. Then I became a “legal” gamer from a pirate. Basically there are 3 reasons:
1. It’s not easy to crack a console in US. I don’t want to buy devices for cracking console. And such service providers are in the dark and may be caught by cops.
2. Games are relatively cheaper here, 60$ is 3~4 lunches in US and over 10 lunches in China.
3. XBox live connection speed is much more faster. By my experience, it was a torture to use XBox/PS3 network in China.

I bought a few XBox games in last Thanksgiving season. Then Skyrim occupied my game time for over a month. I traded it in to Amazon after getting all achievements. I got that game for 60$ and traded it in for 20~30 bucks. Skyrim was a really long game. But some games are really short, like CoD if you don’t play online. And some games may turn out not to be my dish after trying it out. Dark Souls is a good example… So I decided to give game rental services a try. There are not many choices so I picked GameFly easily.

I started with a one-game plan, which means I can keep one game in my hands. Then upgraded to 2-game plan for a month. When the 2-game plan was about to end I tried to cancel, but GameFly website said they could give me one extra free month. OK, why not? So I enjoyed one more month 2-game plan then cancelled it…

So here are Pros and Cons of GameFly, by my personal experiences.


  • As I said above, it’s a very nice service to try “short games” and “potentially bad games”.
  • The system is pretty transparent. You can view game availabilities. New titles are available on time, though you need to be very lucky to get it at the first time.
  • Lots of promotions: the introductory price and the extra month before you cancel made me feel guilty..
  • Good if your gaming style is one by one. Not good if you like to play a few different games in parallel.


  • Shipping time is long for NYC. It’s surprising that they don’t have a shipping center in NYC. Most of my games were from Pittsburg. Usually it took 3~5 days to arrive, and 3 to 5 days to return. Well if you’re on a 1-game plan, that means 1/3 of your money may be wasted.
  • The “GameQ” is tricky. If you put lots of games in it, you may never get the game you really want. But if you only put several your really desiring games in it, you may need to wait for a few days if they’re hot.
  • Usual prices are still expensive. 15.95 for the 1-game plan and 22.95 for 2-game. It would make more sense if the shipping is as fast as Amazon Prime.
  • It somehow makes you want to rush because you’re “renting” the game. At least I don’t want to spend a month to get all achievements of a game I rent.

Anyway I have to say console games are fading out. There are a few super titles and some great titles which still have lots of fans. But the whole market has been sliding down so much in the past 10 years. Mid-tier and independent productions are totally moving to mobiles. This market is now much less prosperous and lack of creativity compared to the golden era of console games. Coming back to game rental services, I found there are actually very few games I wanted to rent. My queue was never more than 5 games and only 2 or 3 when I cancelled the service. I may consider to restart the service when the summer or Christmas game season comes, but not now.

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