Blockbuster testing postal mail game rentals

Blockbuster is testing its latest attempt at an online video game rental service in a select city in the United States, even though similar attempts from the movie rental company have failed in the past.

The struggling company has the 'Games by Mail' service available to Cleveland-area Blockbuster Online customers.  The service offers video games for the following game consoles: Sony PlayStation 2 and 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii.

As an upgraded version of the Blockbuster Online service, Blockbuster's latest attempt at video game rentals will most likely be met with little consumer interest yet again.  Its previous attempt cost $5 per month, but Blockbuster's latest attempt is $7.99 plus tax with just one game rental allowed out at a time.

If everything goes well -- and it's hard not to be rather skeptical at this point -- it's possible Blockbuster will introduce this new service nationwide before the end of the year.  The company had a similar offering more than a year ago, though the pilot project died as consumers simply weren't interested.

Despite the constant threat of bankruptcy, Blockbuster continues to attempt to evolve and expand its services.  It recently showed off the OnDemand service that will be available for Microsoft Windows and Google Android-powered smartphones -- though consumers haven't seemed enthusiastic about the service.

The company has faced additional pressure from Netflix and Redbox, as both companies have risen to the top of a market that Blockbuster used to have firm control on.  Redbox and other rental kiosks offer low-price daily movie rentals, while Netflix offers streaming services on top of a by-mail disc rental service.

On the bright side, Blockbuster has been able to keep day-of new release DVD distribution deals with several movie studios that have shut out Redbox and Netflix.

Redbox reportedly shows interest in renting out games, which could also mean trouble for businesses in the game rental industry. Blockbuster will also have to contend with GameFly, the largest and most successful video games by mail service, though GameFly have been criticized for being slow. Nonetheless, if Blockbuster is serious about renting games by mail, it needs to put an attractive service together immediately.

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