Retailer GameStop have announced a new rental service for us in-store. The new service, Power Pass, will allow customers to take pre-owned games home as rentals. The Power Pass will cost $60, giving owners the chance to rent unlimited pre-owned titles for six months.
The Power Pass is exclusively available to GameStop’s PowerUp members, open to all those who have a membership even if it’s the lowest tier that costs nothing to join. Other PowerUp memberships are available for certain fees. Once members have signed up to Power Pass they can begin rental pre-owned games, taking them home for as long as they want. At the end of the six month period the last title that customers have rented will be theirs to keep forever.
Power Pass is an interesting service in an industry where more and more gamers prefer to download titles directly to their consoles. However, unlike purchasing a game, which can be done online, renting one requires members to visit a physical GameStop store.
The Power Pass service is likely to get a number of customers who would never visit a store again back onto the high street for their game purchases. Power Pass members are likely to assemble en mass around the time of new games launching as they compete for a pre-owned copy of the latest game to hit the shelves so they can take it home.
Brick and mortar video game stores are finding it harder and harder to compete with online giants such as Amazon or even digital marketplaces like Steam. GameStop is no exception and has seen an earnings decline in the second quarter of this year. However, they’ve since announced that all stores must sell new, used, and pre-orders of video games, and that their stores will be open on Thanksgiving.
The Power Pass has been compared to services offered by rental stores that have since disappeared entirely, Blockbuster for example. With Sony offering gamers the chance to rent games digitally via Playstation Now, and Microsoft following them with the Xbox Game Pass, it seems that GameStop is hoping to keep the physical video game store alive by offering a similar service.