The game's afoot at Blockbuster
The DVD rental giant is ramping up its presence in video-game retailing. The chain has always been an active renter of game titles in the past, but now its company-owned stores will begin selling a wider array of hardware, accessories, and software. The move should redefine its stores as a place for permanent purchases, rather than transient rentals.
Blockbuster has undoubtedly noticed what niche leader GameStop
I like the move, but the tactical shift itself isn't a slam-dunk. Awhile ago, Hollywood Video was clearing space among its flick rentals to add Game Crazy video-game sections within its stores, and where did that take it? Blockbuster's nearest competitor wound up cashing out to Movie Gallery and is now wading through bankruptcy court.
Blockbuster has a better shot at making it work, in part because it's using its strengths as a shoehorn. For instance, the chain is now selling a PS3 package that bundles the 40-gig version of the console with a Blu-ray movie, a PS3 game, and a dozen free weekly Blu-ray or PS3 game rentals.
OK, so maybe Blockbuster needs to brush up on its price points. It is selling the system for $500, when the console, Transformers PS3 game, and Spider-Man Blu-ray disc can be bought for just $450 a la carte through Amazon.com
In a year or two, Blockbuster may resemble a smaller version of Hastings
"Blockbuster still rents movies, but that's just a small fraction of its business," I suggested recently in taking a glimpse at what Blockbuster may look like come 2010. "The chain has become more like a RadioShack
OK, so maybe I should have rolled with GameStop instead of RadioShack. Either way, Blockbuster is taking the right steps to build a stable of stallions before it has to retire its one-trick rental pony.