More and more frequently, analysts and other people pontificate on the gaming industry's future to say is that brick-and-mortar retail locations are going to become a thing of the past. Like movies, music and even books, they say, video games are probably going to leave physical media behind.
So, in anticipation the day when things go all broadband, Gamefly did something smart earlier this year. The mail rental company purchased download site Direct2Drive, best known as a provider of PC and Mac versions of new and back-catalog releases. Shortly after the acquisition, Gamefly announced that they'd be offering games in the newly expanded company's joint catalog for download. That service, called Unlimited PC Play, opens in public beta today. If you're already a Gamefly member, you can download the client and access a selection of games for no extra charge. Unlimited PC Play's launching with titles from publishers like THQ, UbiSoft and Capcom. Users will also be able to by games through Gamefly as well
This move makes GameFly a bigger player in the digital distribution gaming space, landing them in the same territory as 800-lb gorilla Steam or cloud-based, on-demand operations like OnLive or Gaikai. But, the advantage Gamefly has is the pre-existing of a physical component for customers who may not have broadband fast enough to avail themselves of downloadable games. If you've already got a Gamefly account and the bandwidth to download full games, this sounds like a no-brainer.