The U.S. Postal Service will end Saturday mail delivery in August and when it does, mail-in game rental service GameFly will become a tad less convenient for subscribers.
Sure, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of the business model (not yet, anyway). But it does represent one fewer day of service for customers, who will continue to pay the same monthly fee for five days they used to pay for six. Netflix’s DVD rental service is in the same boat, but postal service is quickly becoming a moot point there as the streaming video business continues to boom.
Since the majority of gamers still rely on physical discs to access video games on consoles, GameFly doesn’t have much recourse but to keep sending them out. The company did buy PC game rental service Direct2Drive in 2011, and the service came out of its beta mode late last year. We’ve yet to see how that is going to take shape, but if PC gaming on televisions moves in the way some anticipate, the GameFly business model will likely shift accordingly.
While there might be some immediate setbacks, I can see this steadily easing people in a post-disc world of gaming, one where more powerful but compact gaming PCs can easily download rental versions of games, all without the player ever having to leave his/her couch. Scary for retail, perhaps good for the consumer, and a real killer on Internet bandwidth.