In an age where dozens of games are launched each month and can be purchased both digitally and physically, the concept of a game rental company becomes somewhat archaic. Nevertheless, GameFly remains a staple alternative within the industry, offering a mail-service game rental alternative to paying full price. Apparently Alliance Entertainment, a wholesale distributor, agrees. Alliance announced Friday morning that it had acquired GameFly.
Alliance CEO Jeff Walker provided a statement alongside the announcement of GameFly's acquisition. He describes providing Alliance customers with "what they are asking for" and applying GameFly's 20 years of experience to create "new offerings that previously were not doable." It isn't clarified or elaborated on exactly what new offerings Walker has in mind, but the GameFly service itself is confirmed to continue being available for the time being.
That doesn't mean that GameFly won't be changing, however. GameFly will apparently be making "unspecified changes" to its subscription over the next several months. Again, no specifics are mentioned but pricing and options for multiple game rentals would presumably be on the table.
GameFly currently offers four different game rental plans. Two plans, $8.95 and $15.95 per month respectively, offer one rental at a time but only the second allows new releases. The third and fourth plans both offer two rentals at a time and cost $22.95 and $29.95 a month respectively, with the second offering a "GameLock" feature that lets subscribers reserve new releases up to 1 week before they launch. All subscriptions allow for movie rentals, too, and there are separate plans for just movie rentals.
It's also worth pointing out that GameFly has apparently already suffered some layoffs as a result of the acquisition. GameFly informed GamesIndustry.biz that a "handful" of positions at the company have been eliminated, but that no more will be forthcoming. Given that the service remains unchanged despite the layoffs, that could be indicative of GameFly's service continuing to remain unchanged going forward, too.
That's not to say that Alliance doesn't have plans for GameFly. Those changes will just be to expand the service in different directions. Alliance has apparently said that it plans to expand the library of rental games for users, as well as adding accessories, hardware, collectibles, and movies for users to purchase. One of GameFly's most popular aspects has routinely been its used game sales over the past several years. Adding other physical items for GameFly users to purchase could absolutely prove a major boon. That appears to be what Alliance is envisioning in GameFly's future.
One large question remains unanswered, however. That being how GameFly's physical game rental service will be impacted by next-gen consoles that are increasingly focused on providing an all-digital experience. That, however, is a question neither Alliance nor GameFly can likely answer at this point in time.