GameFly continues to impersonate Netflix. The videogame rental service, which has long followed the Netflix disc-by-mail delivery model, recently announced plans to emulate Netflix’s Instant Streaming service by offering PC games for download at no additional cost to subscribers.

GameFly’s announcement comes almost three months after its acquisition of digital distribution service Direct2Drive from IGN Entertainment. Direct2Drive’s infrastructure should allow GameFly to meet the storage and bandwidth demands of “Unlimited PC Play”.

The new digital client will launch this fall, beginning with a closed beta on September 8, 2011. It will offer GameFly subscribers a variety of tools to manage their collection, but the killer feature is the ability for members  to “download and play as many Windows/Mac games as they want, from a large and ever-growing collection of titles.”

“It’s kind of like a Spotify or Rhapsody or a Napster,” co-founder Sean Spector told USA Today on Tuesday. “You have access to the content as long as you a subscriber, but when you are no longer a member, the content then disappears.” The service will begin with over 100 available titles, and Spector is optimistic that more aren’t far behind, adding, "We are in discussion with all the major publishers.”

GameFly’s “Unlimited PC Play” most closely resembles GameTap, which offers roughly 600 games and survives largely on the appeal of its nostalgia offerings. To gain any traction, GameFly’s service will need to offer new games from major franchises like Call of Duty and Mass Effect. If publishers say no, it’s bound to go the way of the Sega Channel.

Source: PR Newswire

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  • FITCamaro - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    I just don't see big name developers signing onto this for their biggest games. It not reduces the revenues they get potentially but how long until people hack the game to be able to play it even after the rental ends or they no longer subscribe.
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    There are easier ways to pirate games.
  • Craig Getting - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    That's my biggest fear. GameTap's library looks pitiful if you aren't into niche or retro stuff.

    I brought up the Sega Channel, too, because I could see some publishers being okay with it if games were only available for a limited time. Say Valve put Portal 2 up for the first few months after its release, then maybe they just take it down when the "rental" stops driving sales.

    But yes, it seems way too good a deal for the consumer for any major publishers to be on board.
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    Well, hopefully pricing won't go up, or they'll offer it separately if it does, as Netflix now does, but otherwise this sounds good to me!

    The only reason I'm not currently a subscriber is I keep buying cheap games, and don't have time to rent (crazy, right?) But geez, access to a PC library like that too, gametap style? Really neat.
  • CZroe - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    They need to buy and merge with these guys:

    Unofficial but legal online emulation of classic games (each user backed by a real copy that has been hand-dumped on the other end).
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