Netflix: Without Qwikster, No Game Rentals

By  |  Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

When Netflix backtracked on its plans to spin off DVD rentals into a separate company called Qwikster, the company didn’t say whether it would still add video game rentals to its mail-order service, as announced along with the spin-off.

Now, it’s official: Netflix will not rent video games, or at least it has “no plans” to do so, CEO Reed Hastings said in an earnings call. He did not elaborate.

Netflix had planned to rent video games as an optional upgrade for movie renters. The news excited me because both GameFly and Blockbuster have trouble sending out the newest games in a timely manner. I was hoping that Netflix, with its huge DVD operation, would be able to do a better job with new releases, or at least pressure its competitors to do so.

But without a spin-off, it’s no surprise that Netflix doesn’t want to make the investment. That money is better spent on acquiring more streaming content–the inevitable future of media consumption–instead of trying to rent more discs.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. @blake Says:

    I was bullish on Netflix when it made the initial announcement, but I think the backtracking was a bad call.

    The notion that "the customer is always right," is nice and all, but it's just not true. Netflix knows its business and it shouldn't have been daunted by the initial backlash. If it had stuck to its guns, the plan would have unfolded accordingly and NFLX would likely be in a healthier situation right now.

  2. jakeescholl Says:

    Dumb idea Netflix. Your missing out on the game rental market.

  3. Dani Says:

    I’m glad I didn’t keep Netflix in the hopes that they would one day give me game rentals. After a free 3-month trial of the Blockbuster Movie Pass, I decided to drop Netflix because I could get more and pay less. I get streaming, DVD/Blu-ray and video game rentals with the Blockbuster Movie Pass and it’s just $10 a month for regular subscribers and employee subscribers like me. I may have to wait a little until I get newer games, but it’s well worth it considering how much I would pay if I bought games on new release day.