I Stand On My Soapbox is a series of editorials that cover more specific topics in the games industry and community. These articles are a little more extreme than normal editorials published here, and could just degenerate to outright ranting. Have fun and enjoy the show!
After two months into having Gamefly in the house (thanks sis!), I’ve been able to play games that, in my currently broke-ass situation, wouldn’t have been able to play. So far I’ve played Sonic Generations, Solatorobo, Digital Devil Saga, and Kirby’s Return to Dreamland. So all the games that some within my circle have talked about I’ve finally played and understand where they’re coming from. Now don’t get me wrong. Gamefly is a good service, especially in a place like the South Bronx. However, there are some things that Gamefly seriously needs to fix, especially if they’re serving a place like New York City (meaning all of the boroughs).
Gamefly Need More Shipping Stations
One thing Gamefly pushes in its commercials and website is that they have a lot of shipping stations. But they could use more. A lot more. Now, if you want to ship to New York City (or The Bronx specifically like some of us on the staff) and you can’t open a center in New York, your next best bet is to open one in New Jersey. Good idea right? They why the hell are we getting games from Pittsburgh!? Look at where it is compared to where New York is. It may not look far on a map, but when the next game you’re getting takes a week to make it to you mail box, then you got a problem. By comparison, Netflix delivers movies to The Bronx within 1-2 days. One of their stations is in New Jersey, and that’s where we get our physical copies of movies. But Maybe this isn’t a problem with location. No, this might be a problem with…
Gamefly Needs To Change The Ring Up
…this. Basically the ring up system is when you have relinquished the game for the next one and the system rings up the next item in the queue to send out. Again, with Netflix, they ring up the next physical movie in your queue the moment the post office scans the barcode of the movie’s envelope. That sends the message to Netflix that the movie will be returning to them and they’ll send the next one out. So as the movie is going to them, another is going to you. Gamefly though waits until they actually get the game back in their plant. Now, I understand that games are more expensive than movies. I mean, we’re comparing $12 movies to $60 games. This is probably Gamefly’s way of making sure that the game is safely in their hands (though quality of the disc probably means nothing to them). This might explain why they take a week to deliver the next game in the queue. Again, this could be fixed by having a plant closer to the city; probably cut 1-2 days out of the total trip time. Speaking of games on the queue…
Gamefly Needs To Follow The Queue
Now normally when something is in a “queue,” you expect the system to go down the list. For physical copies, Netflix follows your queue the best it can and sends you what is next. If there is no available item in the queue, the system will go to the next item in the list. Gamefly does the same thing, except it’s completely meaningless. The queue list acts more like a wishlist. Now at first the list did good and sent us Sonic Generations and another game that was at the top of the list. From there on, we added about 10 more games to the list. And just to be sure that we each got the game we wanted, we alternated between a game I wanted and a game my sister wanted. And what happened? I ended up getting two games and her none. The first was Solatorobo, which was close to the top of the list. The other was Digital Devil Saga, which was at the very frickin’ bottom of the list! Now, it’s cool that I did get to try a game I’ve been looking everywhere for, but damn! You mean to tell me that nothing between Solatorobo and DDS, which was about 10 games, was available? Not even Zumba?
And that’s all I could think of. Like I said, Gamefly is a good service, especially if you want to try out a game before buying. But it really needs to fix how long it takes to ship a game and which games goes to your house. While some of you might call foul at my comparing it to Netflix, it’s the only other service in the house that we use that is similar. If Gamefly can fix what I mentioned above, then it can definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the games industry and be a great alternative to buying a game, beating it quickly, and selling it back. Hey, worked for me with Solatorobo.