Blockbuster: Publishers see rental model as deterrent to pre-owned

Forget Online Passes – renting is the new weapon for the war on pre-owned.

Publishers have backed Blockbuster’s marketing push for its rental business as it ‘takes away from trade-ins’, the entertainment giant has told MCV.

Consumers renting a game for 5 for five nights is a better option than buying the game then trading-in, the retailer argues.

The firm is running its first TV campaign for games in almost two years, promoting rentals during Champions League and international football as well as The X Factor. The ad features Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3, and boasts renting is ‘a cheap way to play’.

Take Q4, there must be at least 35 major games out,” said Blockbuster’s commercial director Gerry Butler. You physically can’t buy them all. But you’d like to play them all. So we have put together a very cost-effective way for consumers to play games.

We have ramped up the rental side of our business and we have got an awful lot of support from publishers. Publishers like renting as it takes away from trade-ins. The problem with trade-ins is the publisher doesn’t get any money. The advantage of renting is that they get quite a lot of money.”

Blockbuster has changed its rental system. It no longer charges late fees, letting customers extend their game rentals for 1 per night. Also, customers who want to buy a game after renting it will have their original rental fee refunded.

Gaming is very important to Blockbuster,” added Butler. We have a large percentage of the heavy core gamers in our stores. And we think rental is a great way to play games in austere times.”

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