Blockbuster has released details on its new Games by Mail service. Subscribers to Blockbuster Online will be able to rent one game at a time, for the extra monthly price of $7.99. Any game rented will count against whatever your limit of discs out-at-a-time is, based on your plan. If you don’t rent a game in a given month, you won’t be charged the $8.
Games will only be available for the Wii, PS2, PS3, and XBox 360; so no handhelds, and no classic titles (well, I guess the PS2 is a classic title).
While this is certainly a better price than Gamefly (more than $16/month for a 1-game-at-a-time plan), it’s sort of a dubious deal if you don’t have a subscription to a by-mail game rental service.
$8, you see, is the same price you would pay to rent a game from a Blockbuster store. Where you can get it immediately. Without waiting three days for it to ship. And there are still no late fees. Meanwhile, that game rented in the store isn’t taking up a slot in the number of movies you can get by mail. The pricing gets better if you rent more than one game per month, but with a six day round trip to send a game back and get another, I don’t see this happening too often in a given subscription.
Unless, of course, you consistently rent terrible games. For now, the service is only available in Cleveland, Ohio, but Blockbuster plans to “expand this nationwide before the end of the year.”
Blockbuster’s FAQ on Games by Mail can be found here.