Blockbuster Gets Ready to Test Online Game Rental

Looks For at Least One Edge on Netflix

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As Blockbuster.com continues its struggle to compete with the much more popular Netflix movie rental service, the company is starting an online video game rental offering to compliment its movie offering.

This was announced a while back, but today’s announcement puts a date to its launch – June 30. It will start in Cleveland, but is planned to go nationwide by the end of the year. The Cleveland pilot test will be open to all Blockbuster Total Access and Blockbuster By Mail subscribers.

This will make Blockbuster the only provider of both movie and game by-mail services. This would be a much needed advantage for a service that has fallen behind in other areas (like on-demand movies). Looking at unique monthly visitors based on data from Compete, they have a ways to go to catch Netflix:

"Blockbuster stores already rent more video games than anyone else – in-store or online – so giving our consumers the ability to rent games from our online service is a natural progression for our business," said Bob Barr, Vice President and General Manager of Blockbuster.com. "This pilot allows us to test a variety of implementation details and gather invaluable key learnings and consumer insights before finalizing and launching a national online game rental offering."

The question is, will Netflix make a similar move? Netflix is already available on XBox. It would not come as much of a surprise if they went down this road too – by mail or on-demand.

Analysts Roth Capital Partners believe Blockbuster "will remain solvent this year and margins appear to be stable, which will likely spur investor confidence between now and year-end," they say.

Blockbuster Gets Ready to Test Online Game Rental
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