Is a Gamefly Membership worth your money?

As someone who has used Gamefly’s services various times in the past (along with similar knock-offs like the Blockbuster mailing rental system – may it rest in peace in the big outlet mall in the sky), I thought I could try and help some other people struggling with the question “Is Gamefly worth my money?” Because who are you gonna trust: someone with a Gamefly history, or Blake Griffin with a rocket pack?

“He’s lying to you, don’t listen!”

The answer, like most things, unfortunately, is that it depends. No, while that may sound like a really wishy washy response, my hope is that it will still provide enough detail for you to make an educated decision that is perfect for yourself.

If you ignore the free month starting memberships, Gamefly is about 16 dollars a month for one game rented out at a time, 23 dollars a month for two, and…more than that for 3. I don’t know what the price is for three because you’d have to be crazy to select that option, so I never did, and I don’t feel like looking it up right now.

Now, when you boil it down, 22 dollars a month for two games out seems like a STEAL! How could you NOT be paying that for two games every months?! It could completely replace your gaming library! Gamefly, here we come!

Well, it’s not that simple. For starters, if you’re wanting to play a brand new game like all the cool kids are doing, be prepared to…not do that. At least not through Gamefly. I don’t know who stocks these stores, or what the problem is, but be prepared to wait at least two months to play brand new games of any sort of popularity.

And that’s not just with new games. I recently put in a request for Grand Theft Auto 5, which released September of last year. The wait is STILL high, which means I’ll be twiddling my thumbs for at least three weeks waiting for that game to come in, not to mention the time it will take to actually play it.

Now, I don’t know for sure, but I’m assuming Grand Theft Auto, with the three different characters, gigantic open world, and tons of missions, is going to take me more than a couple days to beat. Let’s be absurdly generous and pretend I don’t have a full time job or other responsibilities, and say it takes me two weeks to beat. That’s over a month right there, already sapped up, not to mention the time it takes to ship back.

If I was on the “one game a month,” program, I’m already 32 dollars in (because it’s rolled over into the second month), but they haven’t even shipped my second one to me yet. See how the time starts to stack up?

It's too sad. Don't make me look anymore.
It’s too sad. Don’t make me look anymore.

So, if you’re looking to Gamefly as a substitute way to play new games, I’d say you’re better off just buying the games, playing them in your own leisure, and then selling them back to Gamestop. You’re going to save way more money in the long run.

However, this piece isn’t just a complete indictment of Gamefly – if, on the other hand, you are looking to catch up on a backlog of older games, Gamefly is perfect for you. Older games are much more available for rent, and in many cases, will be shipped out almost immediately upon entering your queue. If you get the two games a month plan, that 23 dollars will easily cover the 3 to 5 games you’d be able to play a month. Get a membership, take advantage of some free months, get through your backlog, and then cancel. This is where Gamefly really shines, and becomes totally worth the investment.

Tip: In my experience, when I’ve gone to cancel my membership, the company offered me one more month, free. Which of course I took and then canceled the next month. I don’t know if this is the case in all instances, but it could net you some extra Gamefly time, so keep an eye out for it if you’re considering cancelling.

As always, let me know if I helped you reach some sort of “game rental” piece, if you have any questions, or if you love Gamefly and have just sworn me as your eternal nemesis.

24 thoughts on “Is a Gamefly Membership worth your money?

  1. I have been using this for a few months and I definitely agree with your issues, but have a few tips that might improve things if it is okay for me to mention these in the comments.

    For one you can buy gift certificates to bring the price down. I did the two month trial for 2 games out at a time for $10 a month to start. Then I bought myself a gift certificate for 3 months of 2 games out at a time for $39 dollars total which makes the 2 games out at a time around $13 dollars a month which is a pretty good deal. They say this is only for new members to use, but it works for existing members as well.

    Getting new games is definitely tough. I’ve mostly been catching up with old stuff. I actually started it right after the PS4 launch in hopes of renting some PS4 stuff, but had no luck. But if you put new stuff in your queue ahead of time and just leave it in there going up to release, it works better. I got Tearaway and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition PS4 on release day by doing this though of course you have to make sure to send a game back before the new one releases so you have an open slot. Also keeping your queue empty besides the new game and other unreleased games helps because it forces their hand. They can’t just send you an old game instead. It doesn’t always work but it helps.

    Anyway, not trying to shill for Gamefly, but these have helped me particularly the gift certificate thing. It’s definitely best for catching up with older games you don’t think are worth buying or too risky to just impulse buy perhaps, but I think the gift certificate thing helps make the price easier to swallow. Anyway, sorry for the long comment, but figured these might help out a bit!

  2. That trick Matthew mentioned, about placing only the game you want (new release or otherwise) in your queue has worked for us on several occasions. But it does require a bit of work and queue-watching, as he also says, especially if you’re on the 1 game/mo. plan.

    We’ve been with Gamefly for a long time now (having switched recently from 2 games/mo. to 1 game/mo. plan), and we’re pretty happy with the service. It’s nice to not have to shill out money for new games all the time. I really like its store and “keep” feature that allows you to buy the game you’ve rented at a lower cost. In most cases, the prices are comparable to those on Amazon, and you have the comfort of knowing that the game works.

    1. The “process,” not trick. Of course that would work, if you want to rent -a- game via gamefly then what would be the logic behind placing any other games on your Q?

  3. Here are some tips to GameFly that have worked for me (This is a system I have used from a source and copy and pasted here)

    “5 Tips To Using GameFly Effectively

    1. Get The Two Game Plan

    GameFly shipping times are longer than Netflix’s. Once a game has been shipped, it takes anywhere from two to five days to get in your mailbox. Added to the fact that games don’t ship automatically after they receive one back from you, your wait time can be longer than a week. This is the biggest reason why customers aren’t satisfied with their service. However, by using the two game plan, you can minimize the amount of time you spend without a game. Play one game while waiting for the next to ship. Two game plans are $24.56 a month.

    2. Keep Your GameQ Small

    GameFly will advise you once you’ve joined to make sure your GameQ has ten games in it at all times; however, I advise you AGAINST this. The more games you have listed, the less likely you get the one you specifically want. Games are shipped based on three factors: their availability level, the amount of time you’ve been without a game, and how long the game has been in your queue. If a game’s availability is low, GameFly will skip over it to the next game in your list. For this reason, I recommend keeping your queue small, with no more than five titles.

    3. Get Releases Early

    If you want to get a new release as soon as it comes out, put it in your queue early. The second thing that GameFly keeps track of is how long you’ve had a certain game in your queue. I recommend putting it in at least a week in advance. Added with the next tip, this will make sure (I can say this almost 100% positively) you get that game within the first week of its release.

    4. Open Up a Spot Early

    The third factor GameFly ships based upon is how long you’ve had a slot open to receive a game. About 12 days before you’re expecting a new game to release, send in one of your games to open up a slot. Combining this with step three will insure you get that game within the first week.

    5. Most Importantly, Make A Plan

    You’ve probably noticed that all of these tips involve thinking ahead. My biggest and most important advice to using GameFly is to make a plan. Send in games ahead of time, keep your GameQ small, and pick your games at least a week before they release.”

    I have been a member of GameFly since 2009 and these 5 tips have helped me get new release games on the day they come out, so kudos to the person who came up with this system, it had worked wonders.

  4. buy used games plus you always have your games because they are yours are you a gamer or a renter the only way game fly is worth it is if your copying the games and mailing them back to copy more

    1. Oh my god. Maybe you should put down the game controller, go to the library, check out a grammar BOOK, learn what a period is AND when to use one! I guarantee the answer isn’t “never”!!

      That being said, I have a question about your “are you a gamer or a renter” comment. Are you implying that people who rent games are not gamers? Seriously? Did I read that right? Are you seriously one of those lil sh!ts who thinks details like this actually matter? So, in your opinion, for one to be an actual gamer they have to try games by buying them first?

      What are you, 12 years old?!

      Ya see, kid, Im gona let you in on something that may or may not get you to realize what kind of a douche rocket you are.

      What makes a gamer a gamer is SKILL.

      ..NOT the money he spends on his silly collection.


  5. Wow so things haven’t changed or improved much. I tried Gamefly about 4 years ago and ended it because the amount of time it took to receive a game and for them to get the game back took too long. I know at one time none of the games in my que were available (no they were not new releases) and that’s when I ended my membership. Also being people can take their sweet time returning a game I think that makes the service worse. If they gave a lets say 3 week time period to have a game out and return it that would help keep the games in rotation and less waiting time for others. 3 weeks is enough to play a game and if you want to keep it than buy it.

  6. Gamefly is awesome. To get new release u have to make sure they are at the top of your q days before they release. If you do it on the release date you out of luck. I got grand theft auto,wwe 2k15, and dragon age headed my way as i type. All for ps4, I love it!

  7. I really don’t see what all the b!tching is about. Gamefly is a great service! Yea sometimes you have to wait a few days longer to get the new releases you reeeeally want but so what! Learn to be patient! I mean, what are your other options other than going out and paying upwards of $50 to $60 for a brand new copy which, in less than a year, will almost certainly drop at least %50 in price and even cheaper than that if you don’t mind buying a used copy. Personally, I don’t understand why some people insist on buying brand spanking new games. ..silly.

    However, as stated here numerous times, they way to get around potentially waiting weeks a new release after it comes out is:

    * make sure you add the game you desire to your Game Q AS SOON AS IT IS AVAILABLE to be added regardless if it’s release date is still months away.

    * also ensure that the game remains AT THE TOP of your GQ, #1, as soon as you add it, again, regardless if it still has months to go before its release.

    * the last thing you should do, ooohhh, about a week before it comes out is to purge every other game from your GQ except, of course, the one you oh so covet.

    Now… qui’cha’bitch’n!

  8. I’ve tried Gamefly multiple times. The first time I tried it wasn’t so bad, because back then they had a fulfillment center in Austin. I lived in San Antonio at the time too, so I got my games within two to three days, but the last time I signed up was a complete disaster. They no longer have a fulfillment center in Austin, but now the closest center is in Kanas City, which ended up taking between 7-10 business days to reach me. I find that I’m better off buying new releases, renting from Red Box for games I’m not sure about and buying older games used. In theory Gamefly sounds awesome, but unfortunately it’s not worth it when you start to calculate the time it takes for the game to get you, and back to Gamefly.

  9. If you are a long time user and you explain to them (not because your trying to cheat the system) that you have nothing to rent from them because everything is low; epically with ps4 and xbox they will jump you right to the front of the Q to keep you subbed. (Or will offer you a free month).
    I found myself ever since ps4 (stopped playing 3) sitting there paying for a month or 2 sometimes with nothing to really play. Ill grab something just to make use of the fee; but they just sit there on my table.
    I bring this to their attention and each time when somethings low I find myself getting it that week. As far as stuff just coming out I wait usually 2 weeks myself before even trying to bother because of coarse it will be gone.
    I guess it would be fair to add I actually use the 3 or 4 subscription.
    So I don’t know if that is factored in when they do this for me. When I lived in DC swapping games out took like 1-2 days tops. Now after I moved it takes a week or more every time so I just get the options over 2 (I don’t think avlb if your new) so that im not down something and waiting.)
    As some in here have said; if its a situation where it takes to much time to swap out or even receive new games its not worth it. But they obviously know that which is why Im posting this. (They will listen if you contact them.) +++ been using for years now.

    I myself just buy new releases now since gamefly is hard to support with such a slow rate of games coming out for systems still.

  10. The amount of time it take for you to swap out or receive depends on how close you live to one of their centers…
    When I lived in DC it was 2-3 days tops. When I left DC it took 1-2 weeks :/ So I upped my sub from 2 to 3 or 4 games at a time so I always had room to grab new stuff. To me its all about variety so GF for less even at max rentals is worth far more then buying 1 game a month. Down the road most those games would be worth 1/2-1/3 anyway. So you really don’t lose money; its a convenience thing.
    The current problem is PS4 and XBOX are still tech new and the game selection is not exactly huge. So the demand is huge especially for new releases.

    It wont matter how soon you put in your top Q if new game. There is a Q for the Q because they list the games long before release. So they cant track and there for get an estimate on what the demand will be before getting it. The sheer bulk of orders they get for a new game could prob never be met.
    Its lit a luck of a draw. Ive been with them for years and during a new system release first year or so its ruff. Usually 2 weeks in and the chance starts to increase; he’s right though it will be 2 months in most cases before it moves from low to med. (1 for most games though.) Even then your still 50%-50% getting it.

    Just make sure you remove all other games from Q if its one your really trying hard to get. The prob is doing that at low wont get you the game and you probably pay a sub for no reason. Because if its on low for sure they will always skip to whats next; which could lock you out of the rotation if your max amount of games is already out.

    People saying just put it up at top or as soon as the game goes into rent will get you it; no way. They are just the lucky ones.
    As I said before if your a long term sub and I guess especially if your a 3+ sub and you explain to them the well is dry because there is nothing to rent othr then the new stuff they will bump you up to the next copy in.

  11. I think the way of the future may well be digital renting. You download the game and then get to play it for a limited amount of time. That way limited stock is never an issue.

  12. As vtuiom of the blockbuster by mail shutdown their new movie and video game combo renting system is right up my alley.

  13. I like the idea of Gamefly. I’ve started and stopped membership several times because I do not game often. I’ll get a game from Gamely and not touch it for 3 weeks, then play through it quickly, send it back, and resume the cycle. These are generally older titles, such as Dead Space 3 that I just finished, which might end up cheaper to just buy than to rent in the long run.

    I’m stuck between Redbox which charges by day, Gamefly which charges by month, or just buying the game for a one-time fee.

    Decisions, decisions.

  14. $16 a month!!! F that. If it was like $4.99 a month maybe…then if they would just charge my card if I wanted to keep the game, that’s fine. I’d rather buy a game for $19.99 after it’s been out a while and keep it.

    1. Why buy it for a single play through? What if you buy it and don’t like it?

      I only buy games that I know I’m going to like and play a lot to get my money’s worth. Anything else I skip over or rent.

      Example: Halo 5 – I paid $60 for it and played it for 5 hours and I’m done. I regret ever buying it . Renting it would have been a lot better! I tried reselling but not one wants physical copies where I live , so I am stuck with it 😦

  15. see I use game fly to see if i want to buy a game or for most shooters that I know are not worth the money spent and as far as the Q problem I simply put 10 games i want to play not just one and then look at that problem solved…. I really like game fly and and as far as waiting on shipping time is says rite on site how that works it is that as soon as your return is scanned at the local post office the send the next one out and for me i have yet to wait more then 3 days after putting a game back in the mail box.

  16. Ok (1) the time it takes to get to your HOUSE and the time to ship it back… does THAT COME IF YOUR RENTAL TIME…….. (2) IF YOU DON’T RENT A GAME THAT MO…Do you still pay the monthly fee ???

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