With the increasing amount of ways one can get their hands on pretty much any game virtually, it’s a wonder that GameStop hasn’t gone the way of Blockbuster and the like. Unfortunately, GameStop has suffered quite the blow in the past few years as evidenced by its shares being down 8 percent and a 3.4 drop in video game retail at the end of this year’s second quarter. So it’s doing what any business that wants to stay in business would: coming up with alternatives.
What GameStop hopes will bring business back is its new PowerPass program that, for $10 a month ($60 for a 6 month long subscription) will allow gamers to rent as many games as they wish, as long as they’re only renting one at a time. There’s a nice little bonus incentive that will let subscribers keep one free game at the end of every subscription, too. The games GameStop will be renting out (and letting users keep as a thank you for subscribing) will all be pre-owned.
This isn’t the first business model of its kind – I am reminded of GameFly, to which my son was subscribing for a few years – but it might still be worth a shot for GameStop. It should be noted here that Netflix also briefly considered adding video games to their rental feature (which was launched for DVDs only initially) because of user demand, but later abandoned its unborn Qwikster program, presumably because of the increasing shipping costs associated with the venture. Redbox also offers video game rentals, so GameStop will have to step up to the plate if it hopes to be able to compete with at least two well-established video game renting companies.
I’m old school. I like to have the physical copy of my games. I even go to second-hand shops looking for games that you can’t find all that easily anymore – games for the Atari 2600, the original NES and Playstation and even the Nintendo 64. But for younger generations, the attraction to a nice, physical gaming collection is elusive. They’re used to buying stuff online, never leaving the comfort of their couch, and it isn’t clear if yet another video game rental service will reach enough of the younger generations to save GameStop.