March 10: We've just completed a major update of the site, visiting every active rental service, updating prices and policies, taking new screenshots where needed, and so on. We're sorry to see the Tesco's free trial go back down to 14 days (recalling it was once 30), and with prices just 2 pence less than parent Lovefilm, there's no longer any reason to sign up with their watered down service.
February 10: PostaDVD has gone out of business. We're not surprised, in fact we're amazed this small service (which we don't believe had updated their Xbox and PS2 games in years) hadn't gone under sooner. We're now down to only 7 active video games rental services in the UK, and we count a whopping 24 which have closed their doors since we started these reviews back in 2005. Hopefully with the worst of the recession behind us there won't be any more casualties, as some healthy competition is essential to keep prices low and quality up (and there would be little point to our guide website if there were only one or two rental choices out there...)
January 10: Happy New Year--otherwise nothing new to report in UK game rental.
December 09: We hope everyone puts some cracking games in their queues for the Christmas break. In actual rental news we were sad to see Gametart is no more--gobbled up by GamesFrenzy (another good company we rank as fourth best). Or at least that's what we think happened, as Gamtart's page now points to GamesFrenzy.
November 09: We noticed the longstanding Lovefilm 30 day free trial offer for gamers is off, back down to 14 days. That is a pity, but Lovefilm remains excellent value, and their inventory continues to explode to far larger than any of the games-only companies out there. Don't get us wrong, there's still great choice to be had (not to mention a more personalised service) from a specialist like Boomerang, Swapgame, or Gamesfrenzy, but we still reckon Lovefilm deserves the number one slot
October 09: Nothing new this month, though we are seeing the traditional, annual pickup in visitors as cooler months arrive.
September 09: The big news in the video gaming world is Sony's introduction of a 120GB slim PS3 for 250 quid. Not to be outdone, Amazon is currently offering the Xbox 360 at a reduced price of 134 pounds, while the Wii is down to 140 pounds.
August 09: Things at their slowest for the summer, so nothing to report this month.
July 09: The latest news is that Boomerang have launched two options for purchasing used games: "Buy It" which lets you purchase ex-rental games at a discounts, often over 50% off retail, and "Keep It" which lets you purchase a game you're currently renting, and they'll dispatch the manual and box. All purchases are covered by Boomerang's 30 Day No Quibble Guarantee and shipping is free.
June 09: No news to report in online game rental this month--hope everybody gets out a bit to enjoy the summer (between gaming of course).
May 09: Again, little new this month, but we're entering the seasonal lull in rental activity (and visits to this site) as people spend more time outdoors and on holiday, and less time gaming. In our experience, rental activity (and site visits) pick up dramatically come September. Still, for the hardcore gamers out there, rest assured, we'll continue to track the industry during the summer months.
April 09: Not much to report in the world on game rental-by-post after last month's mega scrub of the industry.
March 09: We did a big scrub of all the sites, updating the numbers of title for each console where we could--major holdouts are Swapgame and Why Buy Games? which don't let you easily add totals of titles. Nimblethumbs and Game Flirt, previously Flirt Rental, have both gone out of business, probably several months ago, but we just noticed it. Likewise, lastminute.com's site which was powered by Swapgame has closed down.
At least our track record is good these 3 casualties were all in the bottom 4 of our main ranking table. And with that, we're down to 9 game rental sites.
We've just completed a redesign of our website, widening every page from 800 to 1,000 pixels. Our tracking shows that only 3% of visitors have a monitor with under 1,000 pixels, so we felt it was a good time to upgrade. This allows us to include extras like a sidebar beside our main table with definitions for the fields in the table. We can also use some larger fonts, larger screenshots of the various sites we review, etc. and hope the site is more functional and more modern looking as a result.
February 09: Boomerang has unveiled a new preference system we've never seen in a DVD or game rental site, so worth a look as described in our updated Boomerang review.
Our new blog is also going well. We've backdated all our site updates listed below, and have added some stories of interest for Irish DVD rental, and also what's going in in games and DVD rental in other countries--trends which may filter to us here, like Netflix's or Gamefly's latest innovations in the US.
January 09: Nothing new to report as yet in the new year, but we'll continue to watch the UK games rental market closely. Incidentally, we have received several questions from visitors if there are any companies which rent actual consoles, specifically the Wii. We don't know of any, but if anyone does, please let us know.
Happy renting and gaming in 2009!
December 08: Gamesmonster has revamped its site and launched support for the PS2, PSP, and Nintendo DS, but it unfortunately had to increase the rates for its single game out plan from 8.99 (which was the lowest in the UK) to a more industry standard 9.99, so we dropped half a star off their value rating.
November 08: Boomerang unveiled its new site design, so we've done a mid-month site update to reflect the improvements. We especially like their simple drag-and-drop queue management system as well as other innovations and implementation of a wider screen to display more info (something other sites should imitate, as few people use 800 pixel width displays these days). We've bumped their design rating up to four stars, leaving them in an overall rating tie for the number one spot with Lovefilm; either company is an excellent choice for game rental.
1 September 08: We've completed a massive site-wide update, visiting all the game sites, updating the number of titles by console, changes to tariffs, etc. We note that Lovefilm continue to offer their rare 30-day free trial, but we doubt it will last too much longer, as we pass into the cooler, peak rental portion of the year. We also rejiggered rankings slightly, moving Game Flirt down a bit as their simply don't seem to be expanding much compared to their competition, and moving Gamesfrenzy and WhyBuyGames? up given their recent improvements.
The hard economic times appear to be hitting the games rental industry, with no less than four site closures in the past few months--PostBox Games, GamezGecko, RentGamesOnline, and Gamerstate all went out of business. Also, WH Smith no longer offer game rental. However, we did notice Lovefilm affiliate Tesco is offering game rental, and at a very attractive price, so we added them. This brings the total number of active UK games rental sites to 12, the lowest we've ever seen. However, within those 12 there is still plenty of choice and competition, and we at Games-Rental-Guide.co.uk will continue to navigate the field so you can pick the company best suited to you.
1 June 08: Lovefilm have offered a rare 30-day free trial, as well as adding Nintendo DS coverage (500+ titles), this combined with recent improvements like their 7-day customer service line convinced us to move them to the coveted number one ranking. In another reshuffle, we also moved Boomerang up a notch over Swapgame, as we continue to have great feedback about them and they continue to grow.
1 April 08: Nothing new to report for April Fools Day, but we'll keep looking...
1 February 08: We updated the reviews to note that Lovefilm has reopened their phone customer service line, and an impressive seven days a week at that.
1 January 08: Not too many changes in the games rental industry for the new year, though we do have a new review for relative newcomer Why Buy Games--jury's still out on them. Also, Gamerstate appears to have gone out of business (says the domain has expired) and Sofa Cinema appears to have stopped offering the game rental option, like several other Lovefilm powered by sites.
20 October 07: After a quiet summer, we've gone through and done a mass update across the industry, checking every site we review, and updating tallies of how many titles each company has for each console. This has prompted a few ranking moves. For instance, we noticed Lovefilm's games offerings and reputation have improved, so we moved them from number four to three--also, their new 5 quid tariff for two total games/DVDs in the month is a steal for gamers, who will likely take a couple week with a game anyway. We also moved the following up: GamesFrenzy, GamezGecko, and PostBox Games, while moving Gamerstate down. Two companies have gone out of business, Daddy Game and Games by Post.
With the prime winter renting season coming up, we'll be tracking the industry a bit closer, and future ranking moves are likely as we refine our assessments of the games rental companies.
1 April 07: Several updates this month--we removed Pearl and Dean and Boots, which really don't have separate games services, little to distinguish them from Lovefilm. This brings the total UK games rental sites to 19.
1 January 07: Significant movement in the rankings this month - Boomerang and Gameflirt have moved up at the expense of Lovefilm whose customer service has suffered following their October merger with Screenselect, also due to feedback on difficulty getting games titles vice DVDs shipped. Several sites have been removed because they are no longer functioning or have gone out of business including Games-to-go, GamingR, Sainsbury's, Boxchoice, Global, Mchezo, and ChoicesUK. This brings the UK total game rental sites to 20, though if you cut out the Lovefilm affiliates, it's really 15 independent rental companies. We also had a New Year scrub of the site, added more varied advertising, and tweaked the odd review. Also see our new next generation Console Buyers Guide with tips on whether to go for the Xbox 360, Wii, or PS3.
1 October 06: No major changes this month, but everyone is looking to see how the Lovefilm/Screenselect merger goes.
1 September 06: Sainsburys DVD and game rental service is closing down, so we'll be removing it from the rankings.
1 August 06: We conducted a major review of the industry for August, and found Boxchoice and Global e-Rental have closed recently.
1 July 06: No ranking changes for July; again, the industry is well into its summer lull, with few changes to service we can discern.
1 June 06: Again we have no ranking changes or major additions for June. We've noticed that between the very warm weather and the World Cup, interest in DVD and game rental has definitely entered its seasonal ebb.
1 May 06: We've noticed two new Lovefilm powered-by sites with game rentals, Tiscali and OdeonDirect.
1 April 06: Re-rankings for April include moving Screenselect further up to the number two slot; with those terms and selection for that low price, it really was an easy call. We also added two new Lovefilm "powered by" sites, Pearl & Dean and Choices UK, both rather lackluster clones which debut at the bottom of the table. We did move WH Smith up a bit--as on the DVD side of the house, we believe they are now the best Lovefilm clone out there, with excellent prices and a 30-day free trial to boot.
20 March 06: Out of nowhere Screenselect has debuted a very large and cheap games rental service; there were no press releases or even announcements on their front page to this effect, but the games are there en masse: 1200+ titles for PS2, 25+ for XBox 360, 700+ for XBox and are also supporting PSP (75+ titles) and GameCube (400+ titles). The hardcore gamer will still want the specialisation of one of the top games-only rental companies for their additional gamer resources, news, etc., but for most renters, Screenselect is a top choice. This brings the UK provider sites up to 22.
1 March 06: Re-rankings for March include moving SwapGame down a bit on the basis of the feedback we've had on their service, and in their place, GamesFrenzy (who despite their basic-looking site offer a great service) have moved up to the number one slot in all but the PS2 rankings tables. We've also moved Lovefilm up, which was a tough call as they really only specialize in PS2/PSP titles, but their new 21-day free trial special offer, which includes DVD rentals, weighed heavily in their favour.
1 February 06: We have just done our first of our regular monthly updates/re-ranking, including the addition of a new games rental company, Games Monster bringing the UK total up to 20. In this month's re-ranking, Sainsbury's have also moved up following good customer reviews on our DVD rental pages (and we admittedly had ranked them too low to begin with, being one of the better Lovefilm affiliates), and Games by Post has moved down following reports of poor customer service.
20 December 05: We launched this site by popular demand from visitors to our other site, UK-DVD-Rental-Guide.com; it was a natural extension really, as rental by post for both DVDs and games are two parts of the same industry.