Video Games: The Future of Game Rentals

blockbuster[1] I recently read troubling articles about Blockbuster’s finances. It’s entirely possible that the video rental chain could go out of business. That’s not a big deal when it comes to renting movies. Alternate options include Netflix, Redbox, and video on demand from cable, Xbox Live, or the PlayStation Network. Even your local library gets in on that act. Not only do we have choices, we have some healthy competition there.

But If Blockbuster does go away, imagine the impact that has on video game rentals. There’s Gamefly, but that’s a monthly subscription based service. And… nothing else. Hollywood Video is gone. Mom and pop video rental stores, if not entirely gone, will not likely have the latest games for rent. What happens when there’s a game you know you don’t want to buy but would like to play for a little while? It’s even a common phrase for game reviews. “It’s worth a rental.”

Here’s a modest proposal for a solution: Gamestop. The used video game retailer has locations everywhere, sometimes even just miles apart from each other. In bigger malls, they have two or more stores. They could easily offer the option to buy or rent their used games. This could be a great new revenue stream for them. They kind of have this in effect now. Buy a used game and if you don’t like it you can return it in a week. Lots of scumbags take advantage of this just to play some free games. This would close that gap for them. “Not sure you want to buy it? Why not rent it to try it out?” The price of the rental could be deducted if they choose to buy the game. It’s something that they should consider, especially if Blockbuster closes.

Karl Cramer

June 16, 2010

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