One of the biggest distributors of digital PC games might soon be sold to videogame rental service GameFly. Direct2Drive is, according to MCV, in the process of being sold by IGN, with an announcement expected no sooner than next week. The site has been told that the deal is "almost complete."
GameFly rose to a prominence as a Netflix-style, game-by-mail rental service that deals exclusively with physical games. An acquisition of Direct2Drive would give it a foothold in the PC games market, an area that it has yet to touch due to the inability to facilitate rentals of physical PC games. Direct2Drive launched a rental service back in January on select games; $5 gets you 5 hours of play time. If you opt to buy the game, that $5 would then be deducted from the final cost.
Should the deal go through, it'd be interesting to see if GameFly opts to flesh out Direct2Drive's rental service and make it a part of a GameFly subscription. MCV's report made no mention of it, but it seems like a natural way to expand.
The deal would also put GameFly in even more direct competition with GameStop, which acquired digital distribution platform Impulse earlier this year. Impulse differs from Direct2Drive in that it operates through a client, as opposed to a website, though the two are still very direct competitors (along with Steam, GamersGate, and others). GameStop also acquired streaming tech company Spawn Labs, providing it with the option in the future of offering trial versions of videogames through an OnLive-like service. That, to some extent, has it stepping on the toes of a rental company like GameFly.