August 9, 2011, 1:52 PM

GameFly plans to launch a digital download service

The online games rental company says it will launch during the holidays.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

GameFly Inc. is taking a page from Netflix’s former playbook, announcing today it will allow customers to download and play as many Windows and Mac games as they want for the service’s $15.95 or $22.95 monthly membership fees that includes getting games by mail.

While Netflix last month split up its combination DVD-by-mail and unlimited streaming rental plan, GameFly is looking to launch its combination service during the holiday season. It plans to offer more than 1,500 games for Macs and Windows PCs.

The online games rental company also plans to allow its subscribers to buy digital copies of video games and download them directly to their computers rather than just renting them and receiving them via the mail. An invitation-only beta testing period for the service will begin Sept. 8.

The online games rental company will also launch gaming-related news, as well as add a social component that will let gamers updates their friends on the games they’re playing.

“We’re thrilled to bring digital to the gaming consumer in a meaningful way, as no other service or retailer brings physical and direct gaming together like GameFly,” says Sean Spector, GameFly co-founder and senior vice president of business development and content. “GameFly members have the ultimate choice of how, what, when and where they game.”

The evolution of GameFly’s business model comes after the retailer earlier this year bought Direct2Drive.com, an e-commerce site owned by IGN Entertainment that enables consumers to download some 3,000 video games for personal computers.

It doesn’t appear as though the retailer envisions a strictly digital transformation in the near-future, however, as it opened its fifth distribution center in June that sends out games to subscribers in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.

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