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Netflix backtracks on Qwikster, 'still considering' games

Online rental service cans plans to bifurcate streaming, DVD-by-mail branding; game integration now a maybe.


Netflix is on quite the tear when it comes to rankling its subscriber base. After hiking its subscription rate by as much as 60 percent in July, the company announced last month that it would effectively be splitting itself in two. The Netflix brand would offer on-demand movie streaming through its website, while a second website, called Qwikster, would handle by-mail physical media.

Expect to continue seeing Netflix's iconic red envelope in your mailbox.
Expect to continue seeing Netflix's iconic red envelope in your mailbox.

However, the Qwikster brand that emerged from that decision has proven to be short-lived. Today, Netflix announced that it has canceled plans to spin off its by-mail physical media business into the Qwikster brand. As a result of that decision, Netflix subscribers will continue to use the company's website for physical media and streaming content.

In a company blog post, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that while July's pricing changes were necessary and will be retained, following through with the rebranding plan, "would make things more difficult" for consumers.

When Netflix announced Qwikster, the company also revealed plans to add Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii games to the subscription service as a premium priced offering. However, it appears as if those plans are now in question. Speaking to GameSpot, Netflix VP of corporate communications Steve Swasey would confirm only that the company is "still considering" the inclusion of games.

That tone is a marked change from the initial Qwikster announcement, where Hastings wrote, "Members have been asking for video games for many years, and now that DVD-by-mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done."

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