On paper, GamezNFlix is a novel idea. A one stop shop for renting your favorite movies or trying out some new video games. With Blockbuster pulling video games out of their Total Access package, this became the only online DVD rental shop to offer up games in a convenient membership. Unfortunately, it didn't take us long to realize why most of these companies don't mix games and DVDs, as we found GamezNFlix to be riddled with issues that made it difficult to get our money's worth.
While many of you are on this site to find a DVD rental company, we did include the video game aspect of the company into our overall impressions. It does not weigh as heavily as the DVD side, but it is important as the site focuses more on video games than movies.
To put it simply, the DVD selection on GamezNFlix is just not that appealing. Their "new releases" are about a year outdated, and their overall selection just doesn't match up to competitors. While Netflix and Blockbuster hit around the 80,000 DVD mark, GamezNFlix comes in at around 19,000 available titles (although we see claims online of 40,000, we only saw 19,000 available). We got the feeling that they have just stopped focusing on the DVD side of things and pushed all their focus to video games over the last year. Typing in any movie that has been released in the last 3 months yielded no results on our end.
Even the popular movies that were in stock were hard to get. We noticed shipments that went as far down as 20 spots on our queue, and even times when none were available. That is simply unheard of and unacceptable for an avid film fan. They clearly don't have an inventory deep enough to provide subscribers with enough copies of particular titles. While this didn't seem to be a problem with more obscure titles they had, it does significantly lower your overall selection. If you're counting on getting that romantic comedy on your queue for the big date this weekend, odds are it won't be in stock. We did notice a large selection of music, sports, and anime titles in their inventory that were available.
The HD-DVD and Blue-Ray selections are poor. We found only a handful of each and it looks like little effort is being poured into this area of their inventory. The titles they do have are hit or miss with some newer ones and some older ones. It's definitely not a service you'd use to showcase that shiny new Blu-Ray player in your living room.
With movies out of the way, we switch our gears to the video game side of things and another maddening experience. New releases are promoted heavily on the site and a "coming soon" section even allows you to add all the popular games being released in the near future. However, when push comes to shove, we couldn't get our hands on anything remotely new or popular for a next generation system. We chose to place 15 games at the top of our queue, none were available. It took us adding some of the oldest XBOX 360 titles they had to get them to send anything. We were never able to get a single new or popular game to be sent, we even question whether they carry these games at all. If you have a next generation system, it's tough to find titles that you can get quickly. You will however be able to grab games for older systems like the PS2 and Xbox somewhat easily.
The biggest selling point behind GamezNFlix is the ability to rent any number of combination of movies and video games. They want their members to have that weekend movie in hand along with a hot game to play when bored. Their member's area utilizes Google search technology and is satisfactory in finding not only DVDs and games by title, but by description as well. Their queue has limits to the number of titles you can store and also doesn't allow prioritizing.
The company features a section called "GameBytes" which offers video reviews of newer titles for various systems. The reviews aren't detailed and come across more as an advertisement for the company. And speaking of advertisements, you'll find a lot of them for other companies throughout the GamezNFlix site. One of the more mind boggling decisions we've seen from a company that should want you to remain on their website.
Customer service seems to be a major problem with the company and one of the reasons we no longer bothered to keep them in our stable of rental services. We had called to inquire about delays in receiving DVDs and delays in when they were being shipped out. Each time we were met with an unhelpful, uninterested voice on the other line. It seemed like they had been through this routine quite often with other customers. There wasn't much help offered or any options for a refund or credit to our account for the slow service. While it's tough to judge a company by the actions of a few customer service reps, this problem seems to be a big one with GamezNFlix according to other recent reviews of the company online.
Movie information is average with each title offering its movie details along with a paragraph synopsis. Cast, genre, and awards are listed on tabs under the title. There is an area for user reviews, however they come across as basic and more like comments. There is nothing in-depth to them and you won't find anything close to what you see from users on Netflix or Blockbuster. This may be due in part to the fact that your rating doesn't mean anything on GamezNFlix. There are no site suggestions based on your ratings, thus no incentive to get involved in this aspect of the site. The do however offer recommendations based on the movie's title, genre, and other factors unrelated to your preferences.
Unfortunately this is where GamezNFlix falls off the cliff. Their shipping is so random, so inconsistent, it's impossible to describe it within the contexts of a couple paragraphs. Movie availability seems to be the primary culprit in the shipping of titles, but they still have their issues when receiving. While some are entered within the 2-5 day turnaround they claim on their site, others took well over a week and some even required a phone call in to customer service to inform them it was returned. Lost games and DVDs are met with skepticism and require a 10 business day waiting period before another rental slot opens in your account.
The company claims to have a number of shipping centers nationwide and we've heard varying reports that your proximity to it greatly increases turnaround time. Unfortunately, we just don't think the folks at GamezNFlix have their act together when it comes to shipping and receiving. It's inconsistent and slow as a whole, and this on titles that are readily available. While companies in this industry improve over time as they upgrade facilities, GamezNFlix is one of the few that has actually gotten dramatically worse in this area.
Despite their flaws, GamezNFlix does offer some of the most affordable pricing in the market. They offer 3 packages that allow you to rent both movies and video games. They are as follows:
1 at a time / $8.99 each month
2 at a time / $12.99 each month
3 at a time / $16.99 each month
The company offers a 14-day free trial to test out their service and discounts for members of the military (one month free trial and discounted price). They do offer DVDs and video games for sale on their site, although the price is inflated significantly.
GamezNFlix was a good service back in early 2007. While the inventory was spotty, they were still one of the more affordable companies that would get you your titles in a reasonable time. Unfortunately, a lot can change in this business and GamezNFlix has gone downhill. Lack of inventory, slow shipping times, and poor customer service just don't put them in the same ballpark as the big boys. We really wanted to like their service and be able to rent both video games and movies, but they unfortunately can't get it together.
Our suggestion for those on a tight budget, desperate for an all-in-one service, and not too picky on what they get is to give them a two week trial. Otherwise, we think you're better off using Netflix and Gamefly and spending the extra dollars to ensure your sanity.