Ok, I know, that was a really stupid play on Gamefly’s name, but I have a bone to pick with the company. I have been a loyal, paying customer for a long time and, I’ve seen it go from an awesome service to a….less than awesome service. Please read on.
Gamely was dreamed up and started in 2002, according to their site. I became a member in late 2005. I think it’s pretty fair to say I was an early customer of theirs. I am it sure took the company several years to build any significant customer base. I did not see any of the now commonplace television commercials for it for at least 1 year after I became a member, probably more.
In the beginning, Gamefly offered me a great service. The only distribution warehouse they had at the time was in California, though, and I live on the East coast. Unfortunately, this meant the turn-around time on my games was about 2 weeks. I stuck with it, though, I felt the service Gamefly offered me was good enough that I endured the wait for my games.
Why was the service so good, you ask? Well, I could be fairly certain that, no matter how new or in demand a game was, Gamefly would have a copy of it waiting for me at their warehouse if it was at the top of my list. For the first few years of my membership with the company, I can’t think of a time where I had to take the game second on my list because the game in first place was not available. We are talking God of War, God of War 2, Final Fantasy (If I didn’t just go out and buy it), many others.
I sort of dreaded Gamefly’s inevitable popularity. I wanted the company to do well, and to stay in business, but I didn’t want it to do so well that their service began lacking as a result. Unfortunately, this very situation has now become a reality.
As you many know from a previous thread, I recently purchased a Playstation 3. As such, I immediately logged into Gamefly and began loading my “Q” with PS3 games I wanted to try. I made note of something I have been observing more and more when I log in to my Gamefly account. That is, there fewer and fewer games “Available now”. For example, right now, out of my list of 38 games, FIVE are listed as “Available Now”. That is abhorrent. It’s not like all the games on my list are Killzone 2, either. Here are some examples:
Tetris DS: Low Availability.
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Wii: Medium Availbility.
Pikmin 2 for Gamecube: Low Availability.
These are popular games, but older games as well. I honestly have not seen any of them “Available Now” in months. I used to be able to put the game I wanted at the top of my list, drop my return game in the mail and know that my top game would be mailed out. Now, I have to hope that, when Gamefly receives my last game, that the game on the top of my list is listed as having at least a “High Availability” in order to have a PRAYER of getting it. Even then it’s not likely. Here’s what a part of my Gamefly Q looks like:
So I am sure you all have an idea where this is going. I put about 8 games for PS3 on my list. I have 7 of them at the top of my list, any of which I would be happy to receive as my next game. Of course, not one of them are listed as “Available Now”, and of those 7, only 2 are listed “High Availability”. I have never before had a game mailed to me that was further down than 3rd on the list. Even 3rd is a relatively rare case. This week, however, with the top of my list packed to the gills with PS3 potentials, Gamefly gave me the ultimate middle finger when they received my last game. They skipped ALL 7 ps3 games and sent me the EIGHTH game (a PS2 game) on my list. I was enraged. Eighth? How could they do that?
Since I became a member, Gamefly has opened 3 additional warehouses. The closest warehouse to me is now in PA, and my turnaround time is typically 4-5 days, a marked improvement. They have also upped the monthly membership fee within the last year or two. So overall I am paying more, now, for crappier service. Faster service, but still crappier. I seriously doubt that out of the 4 warehouses Gamefly has, NONE of them had ANY of the 7 PS3 games on the top of my list in stock. I don’t think Gamefly distributes from an alternate warehouse that is not the closest to a given customer’s home. Why not? I would be willing to wait the extra day or two to have one of the games on my Q shipped to me from, say, the Florida location. Or, give me the option of waiting for the game at the top of my list to be come available for a few days.
I used to love Gamefly, and recommended it highly to those who asked me about it. Now, I am not so sure. I don’t think that, now, if someone asked me if they should join Gamefly that I could say “yes” without having to go home and drink heavily to allay my mind of the guilt of the aggravation I had just bestowed upon that person. That said, Jay, if you are reading this, since you asked me a few days ago, I think it would be a great idea for you to join Gamefly, it’s a great service!