Saturday, March 28, 2015

R.I.P. play.com

play.com was for years by far the best online shop for video games as well as many other media products (such as movies, accessories, etc.) In most cases you could almost always get the video game you wanted cheaper on play.com than anywhere else.

The reason why is because play.com wasn't actually one single shop, but a centralized service for other vendors (mainly in the UK) to sell their products. This creates healthy competition, and you could always compare the prices of various vendors to get the best offer.

In addition to that, there was an absolutely marvelous feature to play.com: Free delivery to almost everywhere in Europe. That's right, no additional postal costs of any kind.

This was absolutely marvelous and absolutely crucial. When you are a big consumer of games that are on sale, like I am, free delivery is just paradise. In other online shops, especially when buying cheap games, delivery costs can easily double the total price you will be paying. But not so on play.com; if the game you were buying was being offered at 5€, then you paid 5€, period, and had it delivered at no additional cost. With other online shops, especially abroad, you end up easily paying double that, even when they would otherwise offer the game cheaper (which in itself was quite rare.)

But very sadly play.com is no more. It has ceased to exist.

Sure, it didn't disappear per se; it was simply merged into the larger "Rakuten" online shop. But this effectively killed it.

For some reason it doesn't show the prices on your own currency anymore (like was the case in play.com), only on British pounds, and no longer can you see the user reviews that vendors have got.

But these are only minor points. The hugely major drawback is that the free delivery system is gone. Bye bye. No more cheap games for you, sorry.

Currently buying a game from rakuten.co.uk has a delivery cost of 4€ to my country. This is an almost total killer for me. Now it has effectively stopped competing with other online shops closer to home, and pretty much stopped being my de-facto source for game purchases.

Goodbye play.com. It was good while it lasted. I will really, really miss you.

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