Blockbuster Imposes 105 Day Game Rental Waits

Dave Zatz —  September 14, 2010

Silly me, I had assumed Blockbuster’s 12/28/2010 ship date for Halo Reach was merely a typo. As it turns out, their mail-order rental service imposes a 105 day waiting period on new release games. Which means I’m Halo-less this week (thus far). It also means that Blockbuster’s recently enhanced rental service ($9/mo) won’t work for many.

For a brief moment I wondered why the long wait… Could it be a deal with the game studios, a way to recycle in-store games, or some other cost saving measure? But then decided the reasons are irrelevant. I’ll be calling in to cancel later today and have just reactivated Gamefly – it costs more ($16/mo) and delivery times are often ridiculously slow, but they provide new releases. Which will tide me over until I make my Call of Duty, Black Ops purchase in November.

10 responses to Blockbuster Imposes 105 Day Game Rental Waits

  1. “I wondered why the long wait… Could it be a deal with the game studios, a way to recycle in-store games, or some other cost saving measure?”

    [x] incompetence

  2. MMM, codbo tday marathon!

  3. Probably has to do with the cost of the new games – if BB is paying $50 per stick, that’s a lot of money to be sending out in an envelope….

  4. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to cancel Blockbuster service – was able to do it online without looking too hard or having to call in.

    Next up, canceling Clear iSpot. Couldn’t get 4G at IAD airport or in Fort Launderdale… too many coverage compromises, despite the nice hardware and good rate.

  5. While I agree this may be slightly annoying — just like with Netflix, there are tons of older games.. Can’t you just find other games to play in the meantime?

    I mean, the cheaper price seems well worth the ‘delay’. (I watch old movies and even old TV shows on netflix, so the 28 day window doesn’t bother me at all.)

  6. Gaming is different than movie delays due to the collaborative and/or competitive online elements – think Xbox LIVE multiplayer. Many of my pals will be playing this game over the next few weeks, so that’s when I’d like to be playing it (with them) too.

  7. I preordered on Amazon and got release date delivery for 99 cents. There’s also a $20 credit on a future video game purchase that I think you can still cash in on.

  8. Thanks for the tip. If Gamefly doesn’t ship today or tomorrow, I’ll cancel them too and take Amazon up on their offer. Then again, I have a $40 gift card and $10 credit at Gamestop… :)

  9. re: clear.

    yeah, service was pretty spotty, should be coverage at IAD but I didn’t really get much at all.
    Had GREAT coverage in ORD and in Chicago (read 6MB down!), but NOT INDOORS.

    I mean, in building was very poor (and customer service actually said, yes in building if the windows are double paned, it WON’T WORK!)

    It does work with all my devices though, macbooks, pro’s and two year old imac, and the start/stop nature of their contracting is nice. I’ll turn it on for when I am going to be somewhere where I can leverage it

  10. Well, my kiddos have been playing non-stop Halo Reach since release day, while you stare longingly at that 105 day delay. ;)

    I think the Neflix model for these blockbuster title games is generally a bad fit for game like this where the online play is sometimes months long. At the end of the day, it’s just easier and better to drop the 55 bucks and own the game and not worry about delays or damaged disks. You’ll get your money’s worth. You can even recoup some of it by selling the game used later back to gamestop or Amazon.

    I am thinking next gen consoles will finally eschew physical media altogether, putting this rental model out of commission. I think they’ve already talked about registering the media with XBox live, so that nobody else could register that game with another tag. Not sure how the rental folks will deal with that.