Lately, Sony and Microsoft have declared a truce on the console wars to go after GameStop. Between digital storefronts and the unstoppable Steam Sale, GameStop has struggled, and recent policies and decisions haven’t helped matters. But its latest move is a bid to take on digital storefronts: For the cost of one new game, you can get all the pre-owned games you want to play for six months.
What’s the catch? There really isn’t a major one. You do have to join GameStop’s reward program (although you can do that for free), and you do have to borrow the game from a physical GameStop location, not from their online archives. But considering we’re talking about a franchise with a solid wall of games. $60 basically gets you a library of games to play and at the end of six months, you pick one to keep, to boot. That’s it. No limits on how many games you can play, no pools, no limit on systems, just find a game, grab it, and go.
Yes, this is basically a return to the days of Blockbuster and renting games, but that’s a part of the market that’s sorely needed. At $60 a pop, most gamers simply can’t afford to stay on top of video games. And while recent flirtations with restoring rental, especially the Xbox Game Pass, are a start, that’s all they are. This is a much broader move.
So why would GameStop, the black sheep to many gamers, even consider this? It gives them a role in the market digital storefronts just can’t easily fill, for one. And for another, GameStop is increasingly shifting to a model of selling pop culture merchandise, so they need to get people into the store. It’s easy to forget many GameStops are heavily dependent on foot traffic at malls and similar shopping centers, which has been taking a beating as people decide the mall is awful, cookie shop or no. But for gamers who either can’t access online storefronts, or who simply don’t have the budget to buy every game new, this will come as no small help.