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