Video Game Rentals: Where Can You Borrow Your Fun?

Ben Stegner 16-09-2014

Gaming is a fantastic hobby Playing Video Games Will Make You A Better Person. Here's How If you can get through these negative aspects of the video game world, you just might come out on the other side infinitely better for it. Read More , but unfortunately, it doesn’t always come cheap. While most games offer a cheap hourly rate when compared to the price, some players may not have much money to spare. Because of this, it’s easy to get behind on the latest releases, which quickly becomes overwhelming. Justin has shared great tips on how to score premium PC titles for free How to Get Free PC Games: 4 Sites to Download Premium Games Want great games, but don't want to pay? Here are the best sites to download premium games for free. Read More , but you won’t find brand-new titles in this way.


One solution to this issue has seemingly gone out of style, but it’s actually still an attractive option for budget-conscious gamers. Renting video games instead of buying them can save a lot of money, and gives you a wider variety of titles to try, since there’s no commitment if you end up disliking one. Let’s look at some places where you can still rent video games.


If you recognize one entry on this list, it’s probably GameFly. The service is to video games as Netflix (which we’ve written a full guide The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Netflix This guide offers everything you need to know about using Netflix. Whether you're a new subscriber or an established fan of the best streaming service out there. Read More on) is to movies – both allow you to pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited access to their content.


Never used a service like this before? It’s easy enough to grasp: Sign up for an account, choose which games you’d like to rent, and GameFly will ship the physical games to you. There are never late fees, so you can keep a title for as long as you want, and when you’re done, you send it back and get another. They have a great variety, from just-released AAA titles Destiny Beta, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, and Amplitude Sequel [Video Game Hub] Another episode of Video Game Hub is here to bring the latest news from the crazy world of video games. Read More on current-gen systems to Game Boy Advance games.



You’ll have to choose between having one disc checked out at a time or two. After trying out the service for 30 days free of charge, $16 a month is your cost. Should you skip the trial, you’ll pay $10 for a two-month introductory period, then $16/month. If you want two discs at once, it will cost you $20 for two months and $23 for every month after. This price is easily worth it if you play enough games, considering that at launch most games cost $60 brand new.

In addition to renting out physical games, GameFly ran a digital subscription service GameFly Opens Digital Download Service For Subscribers [News] GameFly is essentially the Netflix of gaming (though the two have no official ties), and the company’s maneuverings have closely resembled that of its movie-oriented cousin. Offering some sort of online service similar to Netflix’s... Read More , dubbed GameFly Digital. Like Netflix, it let you download a client and play as many games as you wanted for no extra cost. However, Gamefly recently sold this part of their business to another company, AtGames, who created some of the Atari Flashback systems. It’s regrettable that this happened so soon before the writing of this article, but GameFly is still a solid, well-known choice for renting your games.



Redbox is a rental service known for its red kiosks and placement outside serviceable spots such as grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations. Rentals of movies cost about a dollar per night, so you can return them as soon as you’re done for minimal cost. Like Netflix, it features Redbox Instant [No Longer Available], which credits a certain amount for discs at Redbox locations and allows you to stream on your console or other device.


What you’re here for began in 2011, when Redbox started offering video games. At the rate of $2 per night, you can go to any Redbox location, choose a game, and keep it for a maximum of 35 days. Since a credit card is required, they can charge you should you not return the disc. At that point, you’ll own the title, but that’s more expensive than just buying it outright, not to mention the disc won’t be in the original case.

Redbox boasts nearly 36,000 locations in the US, and you can return games at any one of them. You can use the online interface to reserve games for pickup, or simply stop by and see what’s in stock.


The major downside of Redbox is that has nowhere near the variety of GameFly. Right now, they only have games for Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3, so there’s no current-gen support. However, they do feature recent games, such as Madden NFL 15, and even have otherwise digital-only games for rent, such as Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.


If you’re looking to fully enjoy ultra-long games 5 Games You Can Play For Over 100 Hours – That’s Value! One of the many traits unique to video games is the sheer volume of entertainment a game can provide. While a movie is over in two hours on average, and a TV show may offer... Read More or want to have a game checked out all the time, Redbox probably isn’t the most cost-effective option for you. Since you’ll be paying $2 a night, after 8 days you’ve exceeded GameFly’s price of all-you-can-rent for $16/month.

Conversely, in the case of a shorter game Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Hundred-hour games with loads of content are awesome, but sometimes you just want a focused, fun-filled experience. These 5 titles deliver just that. Read More like Blood Dragon, if you can beat it in three nights you paid $6 for the experience instead of $15 to download it. Doing some research with tools to find out game lengths 3 Ways To Find Out How Long It Will Take To Beat A Video Game Thinking of getting a game, but want to know how long it will take to play first? A couple of sites have statistics from other players, so you can look this up. Read More could prove helpful with Redbox. If you only rent occasionally or want to rent for a few days before you’re sure about buying a particular game, you’ll find an attractive option in Redbox.




Gamerang is a lesser-known but still fully-functional option for borrowing video games. Their model is almost identical to GameFly’s:


Gamerang is slightly more costly than its competitor, so it’s not quite a gaming bargain The Top 10 Sites for Video Game Deals and Bargains Video games can be expensive, but there are always deals available! Here are the best sites to buy video games at a discount. Read More . They offer an introductory price of $15 for one month, then $18 for every month after that for the one-game plan. If you need two discs at once, you’ll be charged $25/month – that’s two more dollars per month than GameFly on both types.

Gamerang offers more than 6,500 games compared to GameFly’s 8,000+, so they’re no slouch in the selection department. However, if you’re looking to play primarily older titles 3 Things I Miss About Old School Video Games Times change, and I understand that; but does that mean I cannot yearn for the old days? I cannot be the only one who misses some things about the good old days of video games,... Read More , this is not your best option. Upon searching for GameCube, (original) Xbox, and Game Boy Advance titles, you’ll find that Gamerang only has one for the GameCube and none for the other systems. GameFly, on the other hand, has over 60 games for each of these consoles.


On the positive side, they do carry current-gen titles, and are up-to-date with new releases. A unique feature of Gamerang is being allowed to borrow more than two discs at once. The number of people who could juggle renting three or four games at once is probably small, but the option is there if you’d like: it costs $50 and $60 a month to rent three and four games respectively, with an additional $75 and $100 refundable deposit for each option.

Should you cancel one of those two plans, you’ll have to return any outstanding games within 7 days or you won’t get your deposit back; this is presumably to prevent abuse of the system and theft.


Overall, Gamerang is a decent choice for renting games, but GameFly is superior in almost every way. It’s nice to have an alternative in the market; GameFly’s better back catalog, polish, pricing, and popularity win out, however. Unless you need to check out three or four games at a time, stick with GameFly for your renting subscription.

Borrow From Friends

This isn’t something you probably think of when you want to rent games, but it’s a fine option if you have some gamer friends. Taking the idea of used games, which are not evil Why Used Games Are Not Evil [Opinion] As a casual gamer I rarely buy brand new games. The number I've ever bought on launch day can be counted on one hand, though GTA V will be added to that short list soon.... Read More , and cutting out the middle-man game store is efficient and can even be fun. Sony illustrated it best with this instructional video explaining how to let your friends borrow PS4 games.

Humor aside, borrowing games from people you know is quick and easy. If you know someone who just finished a big release, ask them if you can borrow it for a while. Or, coordinate what games you buy with someone and swap when you finish; you’ll each get two games for the price of one.

Friends presumably trust you and live near you, so you don’t have to worry about shipping or monthly fees. Take games that you haven’t played for months off the shelf, offer them to your friends to borrow, and ask them to return the favor! It’s as simple as that.


Checking Out

Now you have four different sources from which to borrow video games. Local stores may also exist in your area that rent out titles, so be sure to check for those if you need an alternative.

Want to support your gaming habit inexpensively but don’t want to rent? We’ve covered ways to game cheaply 6 Ways To Game On The Cheap [MUO Gaming] Playing video games isn't the harmful activity some politicians and media outlets would have you believe, otherwise every single gamer out there would have psychological problems brought on by their hobby. However, playing video games... Read More ; in fact, we’ve done it twice How To Buy New Video Games Online for Really Cheap Read More , and if you’d rather sell your used games than let friends borrow them, have a look at the best sites for doing so The 6 Best Websites To Trade In Your Used Video Games Video games are an experience, and once that experience is over, you may not have much use for the game anymore. Sure, maybe one day you’ll pick it up and start playing it all over... Read More .

Do you rent video games? Why or why not? Did we miss any good rental services? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Sebastien B
    December 5, 2014 at 3:25 am

    You can borrow/lend your videogames from/to friends on the [Broken Link Removed] website. Get an account, list your videogames, your friends do the same and voila!

  2. Laura
    September 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Don't forget to ask at public libraries! Many libraries have developed their media collections to include movies, music, graphic novels and comics, ebooks, emagazines, board games *and* video games. Sometimes, they even have spaces where you can play them onsite!

    • Ben S
      September 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I didn't even think about libraries, but that's a great option, Laura! I'm sure it would depend on the library, but that's an awesome place to check - plus it's free!