Some months ago Netflix, the industry powerhouse in the delivery of home video content, pissed off millions of its customers by increasing costs of certain options by as much as 60%. This resulted in not just negative reactions via social media but actual losses for the company of nearly a million subscribers. This is no small bit as the negative reaction to the fee structure has resulted in huge shifts in market value for the company, once over $16 billion, now hovering around $5 billion even as earnings have increased.
This sudden shift left a massive opening for the failing Blockbuster Video just as the company was closing stores across the country. Could they offer a competing monthly subscription package? Could they possibly afford not to? Surprisingly, even though they have come out with what is an attempt to grab some of those Netflix customers, the plan isn't a Netflix killer.
To gamers, Gamefly has been the home delivery video game rental giant, and hasn't had any big competition in that realm until recently, with Blockbuster adding games to its own options.
But which one offers the best deal? Let's check it out. Note that I am going to round off the price points to give people the realistic cost and not the psychological-illusion-of-paying-less-cost:
- $5 a month for limited streaming of 2-hours per month, and a limit of 2-discs per month.
- $8 a month for unlimited streaming, no discs.
- $8 a month for 1-disc at a time, with no streaming.
- $12 a month for 2-discs at a time, with no streaming.
- $16 a month for 1-disc at a time, with unlimited streaming.
- $20 a month for 2-discs at a time, with unlimited streaming.
- $24 a month for 3-discs at a time, with unlimited streaming.
- $30 a month for 4-discs at a time, with unlimited streaming.
Though Netflix announced it would offer video games rentals, the recent decision to not split the subscription services between Netflix and Qwikster has caused the company to reevaluate that option.
Netflix offers a wide variety of home video options that are unequaled, especially when you look at the video streaming option. Even at the increased price, the 1-disc plus unlimited streaming option is better than anything else the industry offers. And if you don't care about receiving physical discs, the unlimited streaming option is a bargain when compared to virtually every legal on-demand option available anywhere. The lack of a video game rental option does hurt it but the company is still considering it (will update this article if they change their mind).
It should be noted that Netflix adds an extra cost to those who want to receive Blu-Ray discs, when available.
Video and Game Rentals
- $10 a month for 1-disc at a time, no streaming, but with in-store exchanges available.
- $15 a month for 2-discs at a time, no streaming, but with in-store exchanges available.
- $20 a month for 3-discs at a time, no streaming, but with in-store exchanges available.
Blockbuster does provide a streaming option but it is pure on-demand, where you pay per rental. I am not including that as part of this analysis since it isn't a monthly fee. Therefor, Blockbuster's current service only provides physical discs. For anyone leaving Netflix having utilized its streaming option and looking to Blockbuster, this is a no-brainer. Don't do it. However, if you want to have the option to rent games, then this is a viable option. Also, the ability to exchange those discs at a local store (if there is one still near you) gives consumers the most amount of options for receiving and returning discs, as well as the quickest possible service.
If you consider that the mail delivery service can take several days, having a Blockbuster subscription means you could easily watch many more movies, or play many more games, per month for the lowest cost option than even the highest cost option for its competitors provided there is a store nearby.
Unfortunately, the lack of an unlimited video streaming option makes this a much less attractive option to non-gamers than Netflix. However, if you have a nearby Blockbuster store and you like to watch a new disc every day, then this may be the way to go.
Let me also note that unlike Netflix, Blockbuster does not charge extra for renting Blu-Ray discs.
- $16 a month for 1-disc at a time.
- $23 a month for 2-discs at a time.
Gamefly has the highest cost per option but also the most available games. You are more likely to receive the game you want from Gamefly than from Blockbuster. However, you are paying $6 more a month for the 1-disc option, and $8 a month for the 2-disc option for that availability. If $72 or $96 a year increase is worth that to you, then Gamefly is your best option.
For pure video rental options, Netflix is still your best bet, especially if you are a big video streamer. However, for video disc and game rentals, Blockbuster is the only option. And finally, for pure video game rentals, Gamefly is still king.
However, I highly recommend trying out Blockbuster to see if their lower cost and greater amount of rental options serve your needs better.
Each service has a FREE trial period, with Gamefly also offering the first month at a reduced cost. Though, beware that when you order the service, they put the first-month price up front and toss the actual price in parentheses. This is done to entice people to the service with the appearance of the lower price-point. Sure, they include the actual price immediately following but this is yet another psychological-trick of marketing, implanting the initial price into the mind of a potential customer.
Out of the three, Gamefly is the only one utilizing this price-point marketing scheme and that may give a more discriminating consumer pause. Though, most gamers are likely too high on Mountain Dew and full of pizza to think much about it.