in Gaming, General, Libraries/Info Sci, Tech

The Economics of Video Game Rentals

On my lunch break today I popped down the street to Blockbuster. I had an itching to play a new video game, and a gift certificate in my pocket.

$6.99 for a video game rental now!! That pricing is simply insane. If I hadn’t had a gift certificate I would have walked out gameless. Let me point out the insanity:
(as a side note, imagine the value to patrons of libraries with console games circulating!)

For $14.99/month you can subscribe to Blockbuster’s online Netflix-type rental service. That gives you three movies out at a time. In addition, you get two free in-store rentals each month via printable coupons. Let’s assume that you use both of those rental coupons on video games, which incidentally cannot be rented through the online service; they’re in-store only. Using your coupons on video game rentals covers $13.98 of your monthly fee. If you would have rented those two games anyway, you can in effect get the movies by mail service for a mere $1.01 per month.

I can’t understand why Blockbuster’s game rental fees are so out of line with their standard movie fees, which I believe are in the $4.50 range.

Meanwhile Gamefly has popped up to deliver to the games-by-mail market. Their pricing seems out of line to me as well: $21.95 per month to have just two games out at a time. Most games that I really want to play I can probably find used for that price.

Speaking of video games, any corporate sponsor want to send me a PSP? I’ll give you free ad space for life 😀
In seriousness, it looks like an amazing convergence of wireless, video games, and portable media players.