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Rent Video Games : Xbox 360, Wii, PS3 Game Rentals Save You Money

Updated on August 17, 2014

If you are a regular video game player, whether that means you are an Xbox 360 owner, regularly play on a Playstation 3 or Wii console or if you prefer to use a portable handheld gaming system like the Nintendo DSi or Sony PSP then there is a good chance you could benefit from renting video games rather than buying them.

Let's be honest, most of the console and handheld titles released onto the market today are not worth the price the manufacturers place on them on their release date. $60 for a new PS3 or XBOX 360 game is ridiculous when many offer less than 10 hours of play time on the campaign and often, the online play is lacking or you are one of the many who doesn't want to play online anyway. If you have sat through the wallet lightening joys of short games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 and beat the whole thing in one sitting then you know what I'm talking about. Equally, if you have ever bought a game and realised you HATE the way it plays, then once again, you know exactly what I mean.

New games are expensive, and trading them back in again to certain used game trading frachises is a sure fire way to lose tens of dollars every time and selling them yourself if a hassle. The easier way is to try a video game rental service instead, and rent games rather than buying them. That way, if you don't like it, you're not stuck with it and if it's a ridiculously short one, then it only cost you a couple of dollars to play the whole thing through - which is probably what it is worth!

Why Rent Video Games By Mail?

There are numerous ways you can choose to rent games. If you are lucky enough to have a Red Box or two in your area then that's a pretty cheap alternative, but the selection is invariably very poor. If you want older titles then you are guaranteed to be out of luck and there is no guarantee the newer titles you want are going to be available either.

You could choose instead to go to your local video rental store if they hire games out but this can prove to be an expensive way and again, many of these stores offer quite a weak selection. If you like to play a lot, or even if you are only a casual player, then this can quickly add up in price.

A better way for many, is to look at the online video game rental by mail sites which you can find online. The big daddy of these is GameFly which you have probably seen advertised if you've ever been anywhere near any gaming related online as they do a lot of promotional activities.

How Renting Video Games By Mail Works

How most of these sites work is simple and certainly nothing new if you have used an online movie rental site like Netflix or Blockbuster's subscription offering.

You simply pay a monthly subscription fee to rent out video games which are sent to you in the mail. You choose the ones you want to receive and they send them to you. Play them until you're bored and then send them back to receive new ones by return of post. The number of game discs you can receive at any one time will depend upon the level of your subscription package with the lowest being one game at a time. Some people prefer to pay a little more so they always have something to play rather than waiting for the rental site to receive the disc and send out a new one.

The benefit of sites like GameFly is that, unlike something like Red Box or your local movie rental store, the number of games they have available in their catalog is far larger. Instead of picking between a couple of titles, or maybe up to 100 at your local video shop, there are thousands to choose between instead. If you suddenly get a hankering to play a classic Gamecube game then they've got covered just as they can provide you with the latest blockbuster multi-million seller. You'll be spoilt for choice, not stuck renting out what's left as can often be the case with local video game rental stores.

It can also help save you money, or at the very least, put you on fixed budget so your entertainment spending doesn't get out of control as it can at certain times of year. After the trial period which pretty much all of these sites offer as a sweetener, you will be paying around $20 a month (for the lowest level plan) to rent games by mail. Let's say you hire and play 3 - 4 titles during those monthly periods (although you could do more if you chose to) that's enormously cheaper than actually buying them at $40 - $60 a game.

Which Is The Best Video Game Rental Site?

There are, in fact, several different video game rental sites to choose between. You've probably seen sites like or advertised around the internet if you frequent review sites or gaming blogs as these are two of the more highly recommended. Which is the best game rental service for you will depend on what the most important factors are for you. Gamefly has the largest catalogue of games but some of the others offer cheaper plans so it's a trade off you will have to decide for yourself.

The nice thing is, most of these video game rental sites offer free trials and reduced subscription offers to enable you to check out the services they have to offer. It's worth check out a few to see if you like the site design, ease of ordering, speed of delivery and condition of the discs when they arrive.

The Downside Of Renting Games Online

It's not all sunshine and roses of course, there are some issues some people have renting video games online. For some, the wait for games to arrive in the mail is simply unbearable, and for games you simply have to have on release day (like the latest Call of Duty or Halo release) because of the online component this sin't going to be the best option for you. Of course, you can still preorder and pick up those on day one as the chances are, if you are that excited about it, you'll want to own it and not rent it anyway.

Some gamers complain the titles they want are never available and with popular games this again, might be a problem for you too. I look at it like I look at Netflix. They don't always have the movie I want right now, but there's always something else to tide you over unless your taste are very, very limited in scope. If you have to have the game you want and ONLY that one, right this second, then mail order video game rental probably isn't for you. Most people however, have a wide choice of games they want to play and will not be hamstrung by this.

Whichever way you shake it however, you are going to be on a subscription based plan, so even if you don't want to rent a single title in a particular month you are still going to pay that month's fee. If you are a very light and casual gamer then renting might not be for you either.


For me, online game renting makes more sense because I play a lot of games. Whether they get good or bad reviews I like to check them out for myself if they look remotely interesting. I've played some real gems I definitely wouldn't have actually paid money for out of my own pocket because the reviews were so/so and often find I like them. Couple that with the "phew" feeling when playing those over-hyped blockbusters which turn out to be not worth the money and game rental services make a lot of sense for me. Those I like enough to buy, I do so, those which were only worth a rental get played and returned. I also use several game trading sites and swap games with other people which also works to keeps costs down. Paying full price for games sucks and gets expensive fast but with renting, swapping and sites like ebay, you can keep those prices to more managable levels.


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