Blockbuster Considers Games-By-Mail, Netflix Bashes Idea

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Blockbuster Considers Games-By-Mail, Netflix Bashes Idea

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Blockbuster thinks that consumers might want their movies and videogames mailed from a single source, but Netflix doesn't.

Blockbuster was once synonymous with retail movie rentals, but has seen a huge decline in business since the advent of movie-by-mail rental services such as Netflix. Perhaps in an attempt to get back on top, Blockbuster may be adding videogames to its own mail service called Total Access that the company implemented to compete in today's new rental market.

An email forwarded to the Consumerist read:

In addition to sending your favorite movies by mail, Blockbuster is considering giving Total Access members like you the ability to rent video games by mail for no additional charge. You would be able to choose from over 3,000 different games, including many popular new releases. All you'd have to do is add them to your Queue, and we would send them to you just like we do your favorite movies! Please take a moment to complete the following short survey so we can gauge your interest.

The key here is that Blockbuster wouldn't be charging its customers anything extra, in effect merging both movie and videogame rentals into one service for free. Depending on if Blockbuster ends up implementing these videogame-by-mail rentals, and gets them properly up to speed, Total Access might be worth subscribing to.

The Consumerist picked the brain of Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications for Netflix, on the issue, who expressed zero interest in the videogame-by-mail market. Swasey said that: "Videogames are a different economic model than movies and TV episodes ... A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden '95?"

I'm not a business guy, but Swasey's view seems awfully skewed by sports videogames like Madden that come out every year. Even in their case I would guess that there is still profit to be made on rentals of Madden even if the game discs become coasters in a year. Disregarding EA Sports titles, there are plenty of people that will conceivably still want to play titles such as BioShock in 10 years, and for goodness sake even those that will still want to play Atari 2600 or NES titles as they do today. Could videogames be a way for Blockbuster to get a leg, or at least a pinky toenail, up on Netflix?

Source: Consumerist

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FUCK YES!

Pardon my language, but I am so god damn giddy. I rent a lot, and my local blockbuster seems on the verge of going out of business and the nearest other one is a couple towns over. This is perfect!

Hooray!

Tom Goldman:
"Videogames are a different economic model than movies and TV episodes ... A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden '95?"

And therefore Blockbuster won't need to waste money on buying a massive back catalogue. Score 1 Blockbuster.

For once I've got to go with Blockbuster on this. Especially if they kept an inventory of last-gen games (lots of people still have PS2s and original XBoxes) up for rental. It could make them a tidy sum.

Although with the USPS considering stopping Saturday deliveries possibly screwing up things with all sorts of Netflix-like services, it might behoove Blockbuster to hold off on the idea for a bit.

That Netflix guy seems to be wearing massive irony blinkers. People said similar things about how netflix's model wouldn't work out and look at them now.

Thus, the world just go lazier.

Calumon: Does this mean we're going to get fat?

The Rogue Wolf:

Although with the USPS considering stopping Saturday deliveries possibly screwing up things with all sorts of Netflix-like services, it might behoove Blockbuster to hold off on the idea for a bit.

... Man, Canada Post gets enough schtick that it doesn't deliver on Sunday, let alone that.

Netflix is just complaining because they don't want to do business, not because they think its a bad idea. If marketed correctly blockbuster could take over in sales.

Gamefly anyone?

Cryo84R:
Gamefly anyone?

Except that I could get Demon's Souls and Iron Man shipped to me at the same time while only paying for one sub fee. Sounds like a much better idea to me.

I think that it could give them a somewhat larger market, especially if they have it as a separate service. Could then directly combat GameFly. If they make it affordable, then gamers who use Netflix may be persuaded somewhat to switch. Time will tell.

yeah i side with blockbuster on this. it would be like having netflix AND gamefly, but only paying for one. sounds like a good deal to me!

Um... yeah. Freakin' awesome idea! (Not sarcasim, by the way). I like to rent stuff, and having just one price for movies and games would make life a whole lot sweeter. I'm surprised they haven't done this already.

Also, I don't rent by mail, but this might change my mind.

For me Gamefly was kind of a waste of money because I don't have a lot of time for video games, but if I could get a rental service for both movies and games, I'd definitely sign up. The Netflix guy is obviously completely clueless about the matter if the best argument he can come up with is that people won't want to rent old versions of Madden, which isn't necessarily true.

The main deal breaker for me on this one would be netflix like services on the 360/PS3/Wii. Since you can be assured there wont be 'Buster on demand on 360, I wont cancel netflix, and since i already pay ~ $5 for every game i buy (Buy it day one, beat it in 2-3 days, ebay it for 55 + shipping) I have no need for a gamefly like subscription. Sorry BB, you wont be getting my vote.

Given that older titles cannot be played on newer consoles (unless you have a PC or download via XBLA, PSN, or WiiWare) Netflix has a good point. DVDs can be played anywhere, even on Blu-Rays, but older video games (even from the last generation) might have backwards compatibility issues with newer consoles. I know the PS3 is the worst of the three, which is a shame since the PS2 had most of the best games of the last console generation. And don't even bother with a PSX disk, the PS3 will just laugh in your face. Downloading older games is a fine option for now, but it would be nice for downloads to have a rent option instead of a purchase option

GamezNFlix used to do that exact thing. Until they went out of business.

Heh, for someone who isn't an inhabitant of the USA, I find this a great idea. I'd use the servicve, especially for my older consoles or just play games for old time's sake. And of course, get rid of the EA's sport titles. There's zero improvement in every year with another roster.

Keep it up!

Well, people won't rent Madeen '95, so Blockbuster doesn't need to get it. How about that idea, not getting things that people won't buy. Complete madness, isn't it? [/sarcasm overload]

The netflix guy seems kind of butthurt. I'm not really a game/movie renter, but this plan seems like a good idea. Even better that it's one service.

Suicideking:
GamezNFlix used to do that exact thing. Until they went out of business.

High loss rates, or no one cared?

Wait.. Doesn't blockbuster have next day delivery? If their library of games is good, i can finally kick gamefly out (who sends me a new game a week after i send mine).

Well, anything is worth a shot, and, if it means that people can get access to old titles and still play them in years to come I think it will be pretty epic!

An investment for sure

Haven't Blockbuster been doing this for years already? I thought they jumped on the bandwagon when Lovefilm offered both games and movies through the post (mail if you are an Americano). I certainly find renting games through the post (mail) more convenient, but since they typically only have the really crappy games I don't actually want to play I don't use them. It's also a discrete way to rent porn, just a shame the internet is even more discrete.

Starke:

Suicideking:
GamezNFlix used to do that exact thing. Until they went out of business.

High loss rates, or no one cared?

If wikipedia is to be believed, their financial loss was higher than their revenue.

Heck, I might even get in on this. Especially since I watch so many movies...but what really needs to happen is a Blockbuster Redbox type thing, that also will include games. Or just a video game Redbox. Who wouldn't pay like a dollar a day to play video games? I'm sure it'd be higher then that but I think it could be doable with an easily justafiable cost.

And here I had been theorizing that Netflix would eventually buy out Gamefly. What an ignorant viewpoint. Since when does, "It's a different economic model," automatically lead to, "It would never work for us."

I agree with you that there are definately profits to be made, but honestly I prefer to go to specialist shops like game

Suicideking:

Starke:

Suicideking:
GamezNFlix used to do that exact thing. Until they went out of business.

High loss rates, or no one cared?

If wikipedia is to be believed, their financial loss was higher than their revenue.

Then again they have not even a quarter of the name brand recognition that Blockbuster has.

Its like if you somehow got away with opening a fast food parlor that was exactly like Mcdonalds but cheaper. More people would still be going to Mcdonalds because of the renowned Golden Arches.

Good job Blockbuster for thinking with the times! Id get Blockbusters total access over have a gamefly and netflix subcription! This idea is total win! do it blockbuster and then u can rub it in netflix faces when your fiscal quota rises!

Tom Goldman:
Could videogames be a way for Blockbuster to get a leg, or at least a pinky toenail, up on Netflix?

Yes, and this is the crux of why Netflix is bashing the idea; they don't want a whole new entry of competition rising up and potentially putting them out of business.

Renting movies and games by mail is very interesting and all, but has no one ever considered providing a download service for rentals? Such a service would provide some obstacles, like movies that aren't available in a digital format yet, but with piracy the way it is, that can't be hard to overcome. Speaking of piracy, it might provide a larger window of opportunity to crack games and upload them for free, because you're paying less for the full game for a limited amount of time. I don't think the limitations to the time it is rented would be a large problem, seeing as Steam is already providing free weekends of certain games for some free publicity. Why not expand that with a rental service where you can download a game to play for a week? You download, you play, the game gets locked after a week, the end. You need do nothing more but remove the game, or simply pay for another run without having to leave your chair. It should be feasible, right?

Sounds like a smashing Idea, now I can get Mass Effect 2 and Rent Desperado on the Same subscription. Also, I'd for one still like to play a game from 1995 mr. Netflix executive..

it'd work if the games and movies had separate queues.

If Blockbuster incorporates this I would either wait for them to also incorporate Watch Instantly or for Netflix to adopt the game idea. Until then, I don't plan on switching anytime soon. Sounds like a superb idea, though.

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