Blockbuster Considers Games-By-Mail, Netflix Bashes Idea


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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