As its financial woes continue to mount, and more and more Blockbuster stores are shutting down for good, the rental giant continues to eye new ways to return to their glory days. First it was the shift to an online model similar to Netflix with a subscription based mail service that complimented their retail stores. Next, a series of negotiations with Sony, Fox and Warner gave them exclusive arrangements on several new releases for 28 days, giving them a big head start on Netflix (who settled with a larger selection of online titles to stream). Now Blockbuster is looking to the video game rental market for a new stream of income.
Stepping into the ring with online video game rental service, Gamefly, Joystiq is reporting that Blockbuster will soon be offering its online subscribers the option to upgrade their plan and rent one video game at a time for an unlimited period of time. The service will cost an additional $7.99 on top of the standard monthly movie rental fee. By comparison, Gamefly charges $15.99 for one disc.
The plan will be in addition to existing services, and a game will take the place of a movie, meaning a three-at-a time plan would mean two movies and one game. Users can trade in games at a store location and rent new titles for an additional $1.99.
With Redbox now considering its entry into the streaming video subscription model, the online and mail rental services are looking at ways to differentiate themselves. The Consumerist asked Netflix if they were considering a similar movie to include video games into their libraries, but they made it clear that there are currently no plans to pursue such a course.
“Video games are a different economic model than movies and TV episodes, on which Netflix concentrates to provide the greatest convenience, selection and value to consumers… Movies are perennial. A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden ’95?” Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications for Netflix told the website
The service is still being tested, but it should be available to the public soon.