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Blockbuster Readies Game Focus

13 May, 2002 By: Joan Villa

Hoping to capture young gamers in summer's school vacation months, Blockbuster Video unveiled a new $19.99 monthly game pass and extended its five-day rental term on games to one week.

For the summer months, the “games freedom pass” will let members rent an unlimited combination of two games at one time for a $19.99 monthly fee. The rental term is limited to 30 days, but the chain will not impose extended viewing fees on the two titles.

Also, from June 24 through Labor Day, customers may rent any game that normally has a five-day rental term and keep it for a week at the same price.

As reported last month, the chain will also remerchandise game sections in 4,300 company-owned stores and participating franchise locations to cluster rentals, sales, accessories and hardware by game format.

Each game platform – GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameBoy Advance -- will have its own dedicated section covering rental, retail, previously-played product and a selection of accessories and publications. The new layout is “what gamers told us they want and it's what we're giving them,” chairman and CEO John Antioco said recently.

Over the summer the chain will continue to roll out an expanded selection of games, consoles and gaming accessories, including controllers, memory cards, extension cables and publications, in time for the holiday shopping season. Additionally, Blockbuster will introduce a "Rent It! Like It! Buy It!" program for games similar to one in place for selected DVD movies. It will give customers who rent certain game titles a later option to purchase either a new or previously-played copy of the game at a $5 discount.

"Blockbuster's goal is to become the leading one-stop location for gamers who want to buy or rent their games," added Nick Shepherd, EVP and chief concept officer.

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