GameStop Plans for In-Store Video Game Rentals

A few days ago, my attention was stopped short by this headline on Mashable:

GameStop basically just turned itself into a Blockbuster for video games

Wait…what?

Is exactly what I thought. And the article that followed said exactly what the headline promised. It seems GameStop is getting in the rental game…sort of.

In short, later this month GameStop is launching a new service called PowerPass. For the price of a new game, sixty bucks, users will be able to sign up for a six-month subscription during which time they’ll be able to rent games from the store, one game at a time. And at the end of your six-months, you’ll get to keep one game for free.

So, you’d sign up for the service, and over the course of twenty-six weeks, you’d get to play any(?) games you want, switching them at any time, but only one at a time. If you rent a game a week, that’s twenty-six games. Breaking down that sixty dollars over those weeks, you’d essentially be paying a couple dollars per game. (Gosh, it is just like the olden days with movie rentals, only there’s no overdue charges or angry glares when you forget to rewind a tape!)

Of the viability of such a program, Mashable noted:

PowerPass may be a good thing for the company, but that’s the message between the lines: GameStop is looking for new ways to monetize its assuredly massive overstock of secondhand games. A program like this — which, at this point, has the feel of a public beta test — could help to shrink that stock while creating a new subscription-based source of income.

Guys, show of hands. Who’s SUPER! EXCITED! to relive the days of traveling back and forth from your home to a store in order to get your game on?

Alright, I jest. But…yeah.

Then again, y’know, I get it. GameStop is in the business of making money, and the one thing they aren’t making money off of is used games, which are extremely plentiful. These are troubling times for brick-and-mortar stores, and any gimmick to get people buying is worth trying. So what do I know? Maybe there are video game players frothing at the mouth for a chance to try out actual games, games on discs and even cartridges, old games, new games, at a nominal price and that don’t rely on Internet download speeds or streaming capabilities. Not everyone wants to be a collector, after all. And hey, a free game comes out of the process, so that’s okay, right?

On the flip side, part of this seems like a losing battle from the get go, because what of upkeep? There was a reason why movie rental places once got so huffy about customers rewinding tapes, one of which was that it cost time for staff to do it. Will GameStop employees be responsible for making sure that every rentable game actually works, and then still works when it’s returned? If a game comes back damaged beyond repair, will a new copy be sought out if one isn’t readily available? Will they manage waiting lists for popular games? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see on all accounts.

Between free games from other subscription services, “game pass” options, places to get discounted game keys, online retailers and game rental providers, small used game shops, and that friend who’ll let go of that copy of Neverwinter Nights for a dollar, there’s no shortage of ways for players to get their hands on ye olde bygone games of yore. While I’m not sold on the notion, if GameStop’s PowerPass becomes one more way, then good for GameStop. And even better for the players.


What do you think of GameStop’s PowerPass program? Are you ready to sign up or duck out?

[Article source: Mashable]

Lede image from Flickr user Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Tentatively waiting to find out more information over here. I hate to see brick and mortar stores disappear, and unfortunately GameStop is the only game store in town (or in a few surrounding towns), so I do try to support them even though they get a bad rap (rightly or wrongly). But honestly I’d have to really take a look at my gaming habits… I have such a backlog already, I’m not sure I’d pay for a service like this. Maybe if, like Blockbuster, I could rent a single game with a single fee for that game, I’d go for it. But $60 is a lot for me, especially if I don’t think I’d be renting one game per week…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      The up-front investment is a little hard to swallow, especially if you don’t switch games frequently enough to make it worthwhile. You’d really have to intend to commit to getting your money’s worth from the service. I do like the notion, instead, of just allowing ol’ timey rentals. 🙂 Get a membership card, rent a game for a couple bucks, play it, return it.

      It does make me sad to see GameStop going the way of the dinosaur. There’s only one left in my vicinity. It always seems to be doing well enough, but each day I wonder when I’m suddenly going to see something else in its place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d be okay with a rental system like this… maybe if we yell loudly enough, it’ll happen! haha

        But yeah, I’ve found myself frequenting the store much more often than in the past….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

    I think it’s a great idea and a win for gamers. It’s definitely a great deal and amazing bang for the buck. It is probably a desperation move by Gamestop though. I don’t see it fitting in my lifestyle because 1) I have too many games that I can’t be adding 2nd hand games just yet. Maybe if I clear my back log significantly, sure. 2) I really love digital games too much and the convenience they bring. I’d be more open for this for the PS4, but the Nintendo Switch, no, simply because of it’s portability and me not wanting to carry cartridges everywhere.

    It is a neat way to try games though at the very least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Good point. It could be a great way for folks who may not have easy access to games, or who don’t have a large backlog, to try out games, and maybe before they seek to purchase them. And you really can’t beat the fact that you can rent as much as you want during your subscription. If you hate a game that you just rented, you can bring it back and get another one. Not bad.

      It’ll be interesting to see exactly which games will be available for rent. I can imagine there might be issues with renting games for any portable system. Large cartridges and discs seem probably easier to keep track of.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

        Yea availability of games will be key. I don’t go to GameStop m because in Canada we have their sister company EBgames. But anytime I check there pre-owned games, they have tons of pre owned AAA games available and usually pretty recent ones so I’m predicting the selection will be good.

        Liked by 1 person

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