Mon. Nov 28th, 2022
Why buy just one when you can just borrow any used title for a low monthly fee?
enlarge / Why buy just one when you can just borrow any used title for a low monthly fee?

As instant downloads and other digital purchases grow in popularity, even among console gamers, physical game retailers are looking for new ways to stay relevant well into the future. To that end, EB Games Australia, owned by GameStop, is conducting an interesting experiment that essentially turns the shelves full of used games into a huge lending library for a fixed monthly fee.

As Press Start reports, EB Games has opened the “Swap ‘n’ Play” program for testing in South Australia for AUS $19.95 per month (about $16). The program allows you to delete any used game you want, one by one, and return it in exchange for another when you’re done. Players can cancel at any time after an initial commitment of two months.

While the program was originally limited to used games that sell for less than $50, that limit has since dropped. That means that even relatively new releases can be rented out as long as a used copy is in stores, which often happens just a few days after the “initial release”.

“We created Swap ‘n’ Play to add value for our regular customers, especially parents,” an EB Games representative told Press Start. “During school holidays, it’s not uncommon for families to come in and out of our doors to find new games to play. Swap ‘n’ Play makes for a hassle-free and more affordable store.”

The idea of ​​an all-you-can-play rental swap program isn’t entirely new; GameFly offers a similar rent-by-mail service that lets you swap back and forth one game at a time for $16 a month, or $23 a month for two games at a time (you also get access to a handful of streamable games to boot). Before Blockbuster Video finally went bankrupt in 2014, Blockbuster Video also offered a Games Freedom Pass that allowed users to rent one game at a time with no late fees for $20 per month (or less during promotions).

What makes EB Games’ rental experiment unique is its association with a major game retailer that has access to shelves full of used titles, some of which are hard to sell at any price. That game selection may not compete with the more than 8,300 titles listed on GameFly, but it certainly beats the relative handful of games available at a local Redbox kiosk, not to mention the more limited choices on digital “all”. you-can-play” services such as Xbox Games Pass or PlayStation Now. The convenience of exchanging your selections at a local retailer is better than waiting at the mailbox for GameFly shipments, and it doesn’t require lengthy downloads and/or messy streaming of digital “rental” offers.

At this time, there is no indication that GameStop or EB Games intend to expand the Swap ‘n’ Play program outside of South Australia. However, if they do, it could do a lot to give gamers around the world easy access to much of recent gaming history. Plus, it would be another reason for those gamers to actually get up and head to a physical store instead of sticking with Amazon shipments and digital downloads. What an understanding!

By akfire1

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