Blockbuster adds games-by-mail service

Blockbuster has added video games to its Blockbuster by Mail subscription service.

In addition to movies delivered via mail, where it competes with Netflix, Blockbuster will now offer more than 3,000 games for the Xbox, Xbox 360, PlaySation 3, and Wii game consoles. It will offer both popular new games and classics, allowing consumers to rent games, movies, and TV shows via a single subscription service.

Consumers can start renting games for as little as $8.99 a month, with no limit on the number of games rented per month. In doing this, Blockbuster will compete directly with rival GameFly, which offers games for rental via mail for as little as $8.95 a month. GameFly has a larger selection at the outset, with more than 7,000 games. Both GameFly and Blockbuster have free shipping, no late fees and let you cancel anytime.

While the new Blockbuster service is a good idea, it could be one more thing that hurts video game industry sales. Used games have put a big dent in sales of new games, and game rentals can do the same thing, removing the motivation to buy a new game entirely. Game publishers don’t make any money from sales of used games or rentals. But purveyors of used and rental products often contend they get more people to enjoy the products and can add sales, as people are willing to try out something that they otherwise wouldn’t buy.

“This enhanced offering supports Blockbuster’s multichannel strategy and shows our commitment to being the leading provider of home entertainment content,” said Kevin Lewis, Senior Vice-President, Digital Entertainment.

Blockbuster’s shift to mail and online movies is driven by necessity, as consumers aren’t going to video stores as often and are instead opting for digital or mail movie services. In addition to games, Blockbuster offers 95,000 movies and sees more than 47 million customers a year through its multiple channels.

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