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Renting games is not as popular as it once was, and that’s got one of the top players in that space adding something new.

GameFly, the rent-by-mail company for games and movies, has acquired cloud-streaming company Playcast. This will enable GameFly to build an online gaming platform for games very similar to Netflix’s movie-streaming platform where people beam films and television shows from a centralized server right to their television sets. GameFly’s new tech is live now exclusively on the Amazon Fire TV. The company plans to later expand its digital-gaming solution on other devices as well as smart TVs.

The new service will launch with a bunch of familiar games. The Batman: Arkham series, Darksiders 2, and Dirt 3 are all examples of what you can stream, which isn’t surprising considering they are all a part of Nvidia’s Shield cloud-gaming offerings. GameFly plans to sell access to these games in $7 bundles.

It’s a pricing strategy that may confuse gamers, who are used to clear-cut prices for the software they want on consoles and PC. But GameFly director Michael Moritz, who is also the chairman of Sequoia Capital, thinks that this is how people want to game. He said that “consumers have expressed strong interest in streaming games, much as they do with TV and movies.” And he thinks that GameFly can establish itself as a leader in the space.


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But while consumers have definitely adopted streaming movies, gamers haven’t done the same with their hobby. We’re just about two months removed from Sony buying and closing down OnLive, one of the first game-streaming companies. That never caught on, and it’s possible that GameFly’s won’t either.

But it does make sense. GameFly is trying to apply the model that Netflix has made so popular to games.

“This represents the perfect evolution of GameFly by extending its mission of providing the highest quality video games available to gamers however they want to play,” GameFly chief executive officer David Hodess said.

GameFly claims that the United States is technologically ready for cloud gaming. It says that 80 percent of Americans have high-speed Internet, which is a requirement for the bandwidth-thirsty streaming technology. Now, we’ll just have to see how GameFly executes its newest strategy.


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