True story: a guy walks into a Blockbuster wearing a NetFlix T-shirt, and the clerk shoots him dead. Just kidding. But it's been a long time since Blockbuster's profits from VHS rentals impressed Wall Street. What with that Interweb thing, it's been tough sledding for video rental stores. In a desperate, um - brilliant attempt to get traffic back into their outlets, Blockbuster announced today that they’re going to start selling complete gaming systems in their stores. They’ve been renting software for years, but now you can walk in and buy a variety of systems, including Sony PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS, along with games and accessories. They’re also going to expand their selection of titles for all systems.
To entice consumers to go to Blockbuster instead of Big Box retailers, they are going to offer substantial discounts on bundled packages. For example, a 40DB Sony PS3 console with Blu-ray playback, remote, cables, will come with Spiderman-3 on Blu-ray, a Transformers PS3 game, and a store card that gets you one free PS3 or Blu-ray rental per week for 12 weeks, all for just $499.99. This might be an attempt to strengthen the brand and hence ward off an impending takeover by Circuit City, or it might just be another way to try to stay relevant in these changing times.—Leslie Shapiro
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