The internet is buzzing about GameStop’s new service for video games, it has a similar business model as Blockbuster Video. Yeah, you’ve heard right! A rental service for video games. You all know what happened to Blockbuster Video back in the day right!? Well, one hint…Netflix.
What is it called?
GameStop has announced the “Power Pass Program” which is a rental service for used games at its stores. I was intrigued with the concept because, during my younger years in the 90’s, I rented video games at Blockbuster. I know Netflix was the main reason why a physical storefront like Blockbuster was put out of business, but Netflix has movies and not video games. This could be one of the reasons why GameStop has created the Power Pass Program. There are no services currently out there that allow you to rent out “ANY” used game. Maybe that’s not 100% true, but you wouldn’t see a just-released game on a streaming service. Those streaming services have a library of classic games and never of the newer titles.
How does Power Pass work?
To obtain the Power Pass perks, you need to purchase a six-month membership for $60 USD. You must be a free or paid member of GameStop’s Power-Up Rewards program in order to take advantage of the rental program.
Once you’re a member of the Power Pass rental program, you can rent out any used video game at participating Gamestop locations. You could play the rental game for as long as you want or just for a little bit. There’s also a rental limit of 1 game out at a time with this membership.
What’s in it for GameStop?
As a consumer of video games, I always wanted to demo a video game prior to making a purchasing decision. I thought most game demos are available online? Yes, but there is one drawback with that version, it’s a dummied down copy of the full game and that will not suffice for a gamer.
The benefits are clear for GameStop, they want to lend you the game in hopes that you will purchase the full game. Games are released every month and I’m sure that you don’t want to waste a full month of your 6-month membership on just one rental. This way Power Pass customers can try each and every game without the risk of purchasing a game that may not suit your taste.
The hassle of making multiple trips to GameStop might be the “Game Stopper” for it’s Power Pass members. You would have to make one trip to rent a game and then back again to return it. The upside for GameStop would be that the customers will be in the shop and make a second transaction whether it’s an in-store purchase or pre-order. I will probably sit back on this one for now and wait for the customer feedback on this program. I’m pretty sure people with have plenty to say after the 6 month Power Pass expires.