Blockbuster expands game offerings

Video-rental chain now selling new hardware, software, and accessories at every corporate-owned US location; PSP and PC snubbed.

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Retail game sales are experiencing explosive growth, and Blockbuster is intent on getting a piece of the gaming pie one way or the other. After making a billion-dollar bid for electronics retailer Circuit City earlier this month, today the video-rental chain announced that it would be stepping up its game offerings in the company's corporate-owned US locations.

Customers will now be able to purchase software, hardware, and accessories for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and Nintendo DS at roughly 4,100 domestic Blockbuster locations. The company also said that it would be expanding the variety of games available for rental, and upping the number of rental copies as well.

Blockbuster's announcement made no mention of PlayStation Portable or PC offerings, and company representatives had not returned GameSpot's request for confirmation on those platforms as of press time.

As with other retailers, Blockbuster will also be offering exclusive promotions to get gamers in the door. For example, the company announced a $499 PS3 bundle that will include a 40GB system, an HDMI cable, Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray, Activision's Transformers game, a Blu-ray DVD remote, and one free Blu-ray or PS3 game rental per week for 12 weeks.

This is not the first time that Blockbuster has sought a foothold in the gaming retail space. Some of its locations have operated for years with Game Rush store-within-a-store sections selling new and used games. Blockbuster also owned Rhino Games, a 72-store chain in the Southeastern US, but it sold that operation to GameStop in January of 2007.

[UPDATE]: A Blockbuster representative confirmed for GameSpot that the company's new push into gaming does not include Sony's handheld. All Blockbuster stores will rent PSP games, but only existing Game Rush locations will carry new retail PSP games. As for PC games, Blockbuster will not carry them in any of its locations.

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