GameStop is launching Power Pass, an unlimited, pre-owned game rental subscription service, reports The Verge. For $60 for six months, gamers can rent a used game at their local GameStop, enjoy unlimited play of that game, return it, and check out another game. Gamers can only rent one game at a time, however. Several sources have said that, at the end of a rental period, subscribers can keep the last game they checked out.
According to a GameStop print ad published by ResetEra.com, the deal applies to classic games as well as the latest and greatest games. GameStop will start accepting sign-ups on November 19. GameStop does not yet have any information about the Power Pass available on its website.
Users have to be members of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards program to participate. The PowerUp Rewards program uses a freemium model with three tiers: a free tier, a pro tier at $14.99 per year, and a new elite pro tier at $29.99 a year. Members get reward points to use on in-store coupons or as digital currency, sweepstakes entries, exclusive monthly offers, buy-two-get-one-free specials on pre-owned games and accessories and more. How much a member gets depends on the tier of membership.
Daniel R. Miller commented on the pre-owned game rental subscription service for GameZone:
‘With people consuming more games than ever, there’s a growing need for an alternative option for people who lack the means to buy a game whenever they want,’ Miller wrote.
In March, Fortune reported that GameStop would be closing at least 150 stores during 2017. Some have compared the new Power Pass to GameFly, a game and movie subscription rental service. GameFly offers the rental of more than 8,000 new and classic games and movies, including games for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
While this model is different than Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo’s gaming subscriptions, GameStop will still be competing with other services for recurring subscription revenue.
GameStop is the latest company to try to make the most of an excess of existing inventory using the subscription model. I’d compare it to what Esquire and Aviation Week have done with their digital archives. They’ve used the subscription model to generate recurring revenue for a product that already exists. It might work. It might not, but GameStop has low risk by trying something a little different…and just in time for holiday gift giving!