If you were to ask any game journalist worth their weight in salt what they thought the retail side of gaming retail would look like in 10 years, they’d all come back with one word: digital. But while the number of purchases made as digital downloads has grown steadily over the last few years, there are still a few things you can’t do with a virtual product that you can do with a physical one – like rent it. WildTangent is looking to change that with a new service they’re preparing to launch for Android gamers later this year.

The service will provide Android gamers on smartphones and tablets with three options for checking out the latest games: play for free with advertising, rent a game, or make a purchase. What’s really neat about this service is that the amount a player spends on a rental will be tracked, so if they choose to purchase it at a later date, that rental cost will be deducted from the purchase price. It’s the perfect try-before-you-buy scenario.

“Through this new service with T-Mobile, we will give developers new options, modernizing the industry with a service model that fully monetizes game play through advertising and repeat-game-play,” said WildTangent CEO Mike Peronto. “T-Mobile will give consumers more gaming options on Android devices and will present games in a fun, curated fashion.”

A few of WildTangent’s other endeavours will help to power the service, with their WildCoins virtual currency being used for rentals and in-app purchases, and their BrandBoost advertising platform providing the backbone of the free game session experience.

Initially launching exclusively to T-Mobile customers, WildTangent has plans to announce more partners at a later date. Depending on how successful they are, don’t be surprised if this sets a new standard for digital distribution.