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THE MORNING BUZZ: Rental Stores Aren't the Only Ones That Think Movies and Games Are a Match Made in Heaven

26 Aug, 2002 By: Stephanie Prange

Video stores have long rented movies on video alongside video games. While not always a hit with the game suppliers (scuttlebutt is one tried to take out an ad in the video trades warning retailers to cease and desist renting their product several years ago), the practice certainly has been a hit with consumers. Now game companies seem to be getting on the video bandwagon.

Acknowledging the rise of DVD and the fact that games now play on digital discs as well, game hardware manufacturers have built DVD playability into their machines. It's always been included on the Playstation 2; Microsoft's Xbox acts as a DVD player with the right add-on. In fact, the Xbox supplier this week gave an extra push to sell its game consoles over the holidays by offering full-price rebates for the console's DVD Movie Playback Kit through Nov. 2 to those who purchase an Xbox console.

Game companies are recognizing that the DVD movie fan is often a game player as well. Our recent Consumer Survey bears this out. According to the exclusive survey of 900 U.S. households conducted by Video Store Magazine market research, 64 percent of DVD households also have games, while only 35 percent of VHS-only households also have games.

Indications are game companies are warming to rental. Blockbuster in the last year crafted an exclusive 30-day video game rental window for the Playstation 2 game Maximo: Ghosts to Glory. Following the trend forged by major retailers, Pay-Per-Transaction firm Rentrak Corp. is actively soliciting revenue-sharing agreements with game companies and seems determined that now is the time to do such deals.

And, while game companies have long cross-promoted titles with videos, the practice seems to have ratcheted up. Such hit videos as Monsters, Inc., The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Scorpion King and even Veggie Tales sport game tie-ins for the fourth quarter.

With fierce competition among the game consoles, video rental stores are playing an important role in allowing consumers to try before they buy. And knowing their penchant for games, game companies are looking to reach the sellthrough DVD customer as well. So while video rental stores have known games and videos work well together for some time, it has taken a slick little disc – DVD – to seal the marriage.

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