Buying and trading video games has been a major market in the gaming world for years, as has renting video games. Remember the days when you wanted to try out a major game and you went to your local Blockbuster and picked what you wanted, had your mom or dad rent it for you, and you played it at home? (Or maybe you rented it all on your own, that part isn’t important). I’m sure we all have memories of that time, whether you consider them fond or not. And there have been those times we have all saved up for a while to finally buy a major video game and when we got it home we were so excited! We owned the big game we wanted, we didn’t have to take it back to the store after a few days! What a time that was. Now, for the most part, it’s easier to buy games for yourself since you likely have a job. If your job is even somewhat decent you can get a game here and there so it’s more common. The same is true for renting. You don’t need to get your parents to drive you to the store to rent a game. You can simply hit any Redbox and get what you want. Times have changed. But the basics still stand with firm resolve: when it comes to playing games, outside of visiting a friend and playing theirs, the top two ways to get a new game in your house is to either buy them outright or to rent them.
There are other new things you’ll see on the Xbox One and PS4 (and others but these are the focus for me just for simplicity) that allow you to have a trial for a certain game for a specific time. It’s like renting but you can give it all a shot for free, and unlike a demo that ends at a certain point these trials are attached to full games and you can make as much progress as you can until the time limit has been met. Again it’s different than renting in that you get to try it out for absolutely free but you are severely limited in your progress overall unless you make the purchase. That’s not the case with renting, or even buying the game outright. So this article is only really going to see those two ways to getting a game in your house. I’m not going to go into each different form of renting games and how they all differ from one another. Maybe one day down the road I’ll do that. But this article is here to just state some major pros and cons for renting vs buying a game outright and helping you see things maybe from a different point of view to add to your opinions. Renting has a fairly common theme all across the different types but to keep it simple I’m going to be comparing, mostly, Redbox renting vs outright buying. Again, I’m not going to go in depth with all the renting forms and their differences. But at the end of the article I’ll put up a few links that take you to different websites that show what they offer now and will in the future. So that way you can see more of that if that’s what you’d be interested in! So without further ado, here we go!
Renting: Pros and Cons. So what are some of the pros to renting video games? Well if you’re fast at beating a game this is much cheaper overall. You can rent a game disc for I believe about $3 a day at Redbox so say you beat what’s normally a $60 game within 5 days. That’s only, give or take, $15 you had to spend to play and beat a game. That’s a major pro point. If you’re slower at beating games it may not be as good for you but that’s such a huge point overall, spending far less to get through the main story. But what’s the main con to renting games? You know where this one is going: you don’t own the game. Sure, you were able to beat it for less money than by buying a game, but you can’t just pick it up a month later and keep playing it since you’ve already traded it back in. You could just re rent it, true, but it’s not as convenient as simply having the game ready to go at any time you’d want. There are other pros and cons to be sure, but I have to say I think those are the tops for renting: you can play the bulk of the game for a fraction of the cost, but yet you can’t play it anytime you want since you don’t actually own it. With Redbox for sure you can keep a rented game until so many days have passed and you’ll simply own the game, but since that’s essentially buying it I don’t count that for much. By the way, there are some renting services where you pay a low monthly fee for at least a game or two a month, and you can keep the game as long as you want so long as your service stays active. You can even buy the game outright at a discounted price! I didn’t use that as my main point, opting to go instead with the general “normal” renting process, but this plan may be something for you to look at. Like I said, I’ll put a link to the services that I think you’d be interested in. Now let’s look at buying games and my top pros and cons for that.
Buying: Pros and Cons. you may not like my pro and con for this part, since they are essentially reversals of what I stated for the renting. But those really are my top reasons in the buying vs renting wars. If you have your own opinion please feel free to share them in the comments, because if you have a different thought process than this I’d love to hear about it personally. So here is the top pro to buying: you own it. You can play it anytime you want, as long as you have power and things like that. There is a convenience with getting your brand new game and you don’t have to give it back at any point. I mentioned that in the above sections but it’s really something to think about; there’s something about owning the game immediately and playing at midnight on launch day and things like that that can’t be beaten. The top con? You know where I’m going. Price. It’s great to have the game but some games cost as much as $100 to get started as a base game, with a majority falling in the $60 range. Say you buy the $100 game and don’t like it. Guess what? You won’t get that money back. If it breaks or something sure, but you simply not liking it after a week or two and returning it at Gamestop or something won’t get you as much money back as you spent in the first place. (Not to my knowledge anyways; I don’t imagine that many stores give you a full refund simply because you didn’t like it). And what about if you buy a game that has tons of bugs and issues? Then you’re stuck with something that’s a mess that you can only hope gets fixed down the road. The Arkham Knight (PC) fiasco comes to mind. If you rent a game and don’t like it or it’s buggy you’ve only lost a few bucks. No worry, no major loss, no having to take the game back and be worried and anxious about your money and what you’ll get back or not. That’s a major con potential to owning a game. Plus it does cost more money to have it in the house even if the game has no issues, so if you’re the type to beat a game once and not really play again then buying it outright isn’t a good deal.
So which is better, renting or buying? I’m going to say a bit of both. The pros for each are major points but so are the cons. If you’re going to just give a game a shot for a week or so max then renting is the best way to go, through Redbox or otherwise. But if you know for sure you’re going to put a ton of time in a game and want to own it at midnight and the such then buying is the way to go. They both are good and have good value. I prefer to own the game personally but I can certainly see why renting is a good way to go. So my preference says buy the game. But other moments make renting make more sense for me so buying wins but barely. 51% vs 49% type of thing. With all that said I’m going to put a few links right now that show you some options as far as renting games, from Redbox to GameFly. I won’t do the same for buying because it’s simple. You buy it or you don’t. But the renting does have more options than just renting one game. Sorry that I didn’t put more depth on that part but again I wanted to highlight the major differences between renting and buying and what I thought were the top pros and cons. Here are the links, and again, don’t forget to leave your own comments in the comment section!