Netflix Abandons Game Rental Service

Netflix Abandons Game Rental Service


Last September, Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings announced that the company would be splitting its Internet streaming service and DVD rental business into separate companies. The announcement instantly caused a significant amount of public backlash, and eventually Netflix threw in the towel and reintegrated the two services.

From a marketing perspective, Netflix’s decision to spin its quickly declining DVD rental wing into a business that could quietly fail in relative oblivion was a subtly brilliant. However, the execution left something to be desired.

In fact, one of the things that made the whole decision confusing was the news that Qwikster would begin offering game rentals when it finally opened its doors. If Netflix was looking to protect the central brand by amputating the destined-for-failure DVD appendage, why would Qwikster begin offering a new service? The whole thing was a bit bewildering.

Either way, the whole plan imploded long before it ever got the chance to fail on it’s own, and no one had the misfortune to see the word “Qwikster” on their credit card statement. But gamers like me have been keeping their fingers crossed that Netflix would begin offering the game rentals promised by Qwikster back in September. However, we collectively uncrossed those fingers yesterday evening when CEO Hastings reported that the company had “no plans” to begin offering video games. The announcement was made in during Netflix’s Q4 earnings report conference call.

Obviously there’s a certain amount of disappointment felt by those of us who are anxious make the switch from GameFly, a company notorious for being incapable of getting rentals out on time. But I guess we’ll have to just stick with GameFly’s sporadic service, at least until Netflix decides to make another colossal marketing mistake.

By Josh Engen

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