News Article

Former Video Game Destination Blockbuster Video Closes Its Doors In The US

Posted by Christopher Costabile

Wow, what a difference: no more Blockbuster

Although GameStop and Target remain as the two great retail destinations for video games in the US, the digital revolution has cemented the end of yet another large corporation — Blockbuster Video announced yesterday that it will be closing its doors for good. The movie and games giant has confirmed that it will shut down roughly 300 stores, the last remnants of what was once a veritable video empire.

Incidentally, while Blockbuster stores crumble in the US, recent news has also revealed that Blockbuster UK has gone into administration once again, forcing the cancellation of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One pre-orders. The company landed in administration once before, but were bought out of it by Gordon Brothers Europe, only to eventually suffer the same fate again last month.

In 2010, Blockbuster in the US was purchased by Dish Network after being forced to file for bankruptcy. With the advent of Netflix, Redbox, and perhaps most devastating of all, Video on Demand, Blockbuster struggled to stay competitive; it introduced Blockbuster By Mail to contend with Netflix, while frequently offering blowout sales in meagre attempts to remain afloat.

With Blockbuster completely sunk, and fellow US games retailer Best Buy — host to the rather charming "Nintendo Experience" this past June — just barely managing to keep its head above water, the future of the US gaming retail market hangs in the balance.

[via money.cnn.com]

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User Comments (83)

MAB

#2

MAB said:

Yeah that franchise isn't doing too well over here either. The Blockbuster near me moved from a big store into a smaller one a couple of doors down from the other store... Nobody rents movies & games anymore ;)

ajcismo

#3

ajcismo said:

Can't feel bad for them. They were king of the rental land around here in the 90s and early 00s. But refusing to adjust and change with the times, along with some rather unpopular policies, has made them obsolete. Digital distribution baby, wave of the future apparently.

Dark-Luigi

#4

Dark-Luigi said:

Figures! My blockbuster closed a looong time ago, now it's replaced with a bunch of useless mattress stores! :P Oh well, at least I still have gamefly to rent from.

Ristar42

#5

Ristar42 said:

I remember before dedicated or chain video rental shops existed here in the UK. Used to rent films from a local shop that just had them on shelves above a freezer... I also remember those 'wow, what a difference' very American style ads and renting 80s movies from the Blockbuster that opened locally. Funny how things changed so fast.

heathenmagic

#6

heathenmagic said:

Its a real shame in some ways. I still buy and rent dvds and blu rays, but do a bit of streaming with those offers that come out.Same with games I guess, can't beat having a nice shiny display case and opening it up to watch / play.

Yamitora1

#7

Yamitora1 said:

seriously? I thought they already closed down their brick and mortar stores a year or more ago. Regardless, I foreseen this coming back when all Block Busters threw out their VHS and bought DVD which while better, didn't have nearly the library options VHS did/still does. It was fine if they were trying to keep up with the times, but they short changed themselves and the many VHS hold outs. Plus there were movies that hadn't made it to DVD at the time, some still haven't. I mean it took a year before my local blockbuster got their horror section built back up, and even then it wasn't as plentiful as it was when the VHS roamed the isles.

As for Best Buy, the Best Buy part is in name only, nothing best about it. Target and Walmart have way better prices, even Kmart has better prices. Everytime I see one of those Large Yellow stickers, I want to punch someone's grandmother and yell That's higher then Target's price!

Granted Best Buy does a better job at stocking anime then the targets around here, but they still charge out the coin hole for them. Usually $5 more then online.

MAB

#8

MAB said:

I remember we had a local shop back in the 80's called Chicken Video where you could buy a roast chook at the same time as rent your VHS & Betamax... Maybe Blockbuster should take a note from that place and merge with KFC ;)

JimLad

#9

JimLad said:

The end of an era, sad really but these things happen.
If they didn't we'd stop moving forward as a society.

Einherjar

#10

Einherjar said:

Since it isnt a local chain around here, i have no idea what tye of business it actually was. But rental stores died around here long time ago, partly because of our copyright handling. Its kinda sad nonetheless.

PorllM

#14

PorllM said:

@Pit-Stain You just reminded me of Duckie from the Land Before Time.

@Dark-Luigi Is gamefly any good? I'm a lovefilm customer but they've recently stopped doing games which is annoying...

MAB

#15

MAB said:

@ajcismo also throw SEGA Master System into the mix and yeah, you could say it was better than a slice of heaven for a young MadAussie ;)

Dark-Luigi

#16

Dark-Luigi said:

@PorllM It's pretty good. Even though you have to wait a while for your game to come, and the new games ability to come is low, but all the old ones aren't. It is a pretty good renting service.

Blue-Thunder

#17

Blue-Thunder said:

I feel sorry for the people in the UK who paid blockbusters for PS4 and One and still have not got their money back.

kingston589

#18

kingston589 said:

Wow i thought they closed a long time ago since all the ones around me vanished in like 2008.

allav866

#19

allav866 said:

We all saw it coming. I just hope the BlockBuster down the street is remade into something useful, like a GameStop.

TreesenHauser

#21

TreesenHauser said:

I forget what my local Blockbuster turned into. Nonetheless, it's kinda sad to see the stores finally shutting down for good. It'll only be a matter of time before all other video and game rental stores follow suit.

ikki5

#22

ikki5 said:

I had though blockbuster had died years ago.... it did in Canada....

3DSfan134

#23

3DSfan134 said:

I think that in South Park,Shelly(Stan's Sister) burned down Blockbuster because of what's happening with THIS Blockbuster today.;)

SMW

#24

SMW said:

I thought they were all gone. The one here did turn into quite the nice Mexican restaurant, though! Its still Blockbuster to me, though. "Hey lets go to Blockbuster for supper!"

Beetlejuice

#25

Beetlejuice said:

The one near me turned into a pet store nearly nearly eight years ago.

I remember when I was a kid there was a rental store named Jumbo Video, and one night the store closed down and the next day it was emptied out and closed up. I knew several kids at school who got to keep the NES and SNES games they had rented as there was no way to return them.

Spoony_Tech

#26

Spoony_Tech said:

At one point there was one in every city around me. I could hit 9 or so in a half an hour. Does every city really need one?! They expanded way to fast right as times were starting to change! We still have Family Video around here and they seem to be doing well! Best Buy you're next!!

N64ever

#27

N64ever said:

Our area still has rental places called Family Video. They actually have been very competitive to redbox with 50 cent rentals on classic movies and letting you rent three new releases and getting a fourth one free. Their game selection isn't too bad either with rent one get one free on older titles. It's how I discovered house of the dead overkill and de blob. They just started renting out 3ds games too.

Pokefanmum82

#28

Pokefanmum82 said:

Haven't been to a blockbuster in years. Well here in Canada Best Buy & Future Shop have a better selection of games than Target or Walmart combined. Although my Target did have or does have Project X Zone for $19.99.

OGGamer

#29

OGGamer said:

I remember renting an N64 game (I believe it was Battle Tanks) from blockbuster . I returned it using the drop box and a week later I received a letter saying that I still owed them the game . I spoke with them and they said "no we never received it back". They sent me another letter saying that I had to pay 85 dollars for the game !
The same thing happened to me again with a movie . I can't imagine how many other people that was done to . Goodbye and good riddance blockbuster.

Starzsixty9

#32

Starzsixty9 said:

Theres one by my house still :p can't wait to raid their dvds and games when the liquidate :x

DiSTANToblivion

#33

DiSTANToblivion said:

I work at a video rental store that still gets fairly consistant customers. The only thing is we've had to take all our games away as we'd hire out maybe 2 a month (if we were lucky).

burninmylight

#35

burninmylight said:

@OGGamer Yeah, I remember when everyone started having that issue with BB, which is part of what led to its downfall. It tried to change to some stupid "NO MORE LATE FEES!!!" policy that was awkward, insincere and complicated to actually explain. That, and its refusal to have several different levels of renting tiers, turned a lot of folks away BEFORE Netflix, Redbox and the digital revolution.

Despite that, Blockbuster has a special place in my heart. I rented dozens of Genesis, N64 and Dreamcast games that I never would have had a chance to play back then, because this was before you had a dedicated game store like Gamestop on every corner selling used games for cheap and nonstop game sales everywhere like on Amazon and Steam, and cheap indie games.

Can't say I'll miss ya Blockbuster, but thanks for the good times.

Barbiegurl777

#36

Barbiegurl777 said:

@N64ever

Yeah we have Family Video over here too. :)

The BlockBuster Store that was in my area where I live closed down at least 10 or 11 years by now. It's a big blockbuster too but now it just sits there as an empty building nothing so far has ever moved in or replaced the building yet...

Happy Gaming! (^_^)

SetupDisk

#37

SetupDisk said:

It's strange how they are closing down(closed down a while ago in Canada) but local rental stores that were around before them are still going strong.

Platypus101

#38

Platypus101 said:

@Pit-Stain it was an over-priced showroom for abused videos (both tape and disc) and games in my neck of the woods... At one point, they required two forms of identification as well as a copy of a utility bill at your stated address! Mind you, this did not keep newer movies/games from disappearing. :( not gonna be missed.

Platypus101

#40

Platypus101 said:

@Spoony_Tech it was not expansion (or converting to DVDs, as some have suggested) that buried Blockbuster, it was their attempt to keep prices at a premium. While video on demand and streaming services were offering hundreds of movies (albeit, older titles at first) at less than 50 cents a day... Who on earth was willing to pay nearly ten times plus late fees (in my town anyhow) for the same service? Simply a bad business model.

Platypus101

#41

Platypus101 said:

@Starzsixty9 best of luck! Get there early, I learned my lesson on the first two 'busters that closed down... But I got a heck of a deal the third time round! ('Member, some games were opened, yet never played, shop for the best disc in stock!) ;)

Marioman64

#43

Marioman64 said:

this is EXTREMELY old news. blockbuster went out of business here years ago, around 2001

Diddy_kong

#44

Diddy_kong said:

I know this isn't exactly news in North America anyways, but this still makes me sad. I have fond memories of going to Blockbuster and renting games when I was a kid.

N64ever

#45

N64ever said:

@Barbiegurl777 What's amazing in our area is the family videos were so competitive they actually drove the blockbusters and Hollywood videos out of business before red box and online streaming even existed. So clearly family video knows how to compete. Lol. Happy gaming to you too :)

gregrout

#46

gregrout said:

Retailers are becoming more irrelevant in this age of digital downloads. I wouldn't be surprised to see Best Buy go under. Their PC Games sections are basically empty or stocked with outdated games, it's only a matter of time before console software runs into the same irrelevance bug.

Ryno

#49

Ryno said:

I will never forget you Blockbuster. We rented some many NES & SNES games in the 90's from you.

paburrows

#50

paburrows said:

Its funny Blockbuster pretty much killed off all the Mom and Pop video rental stores and now Redbox and Netflix killed off Blockbuster. I prefer RedBox anyways since its so cheap and in nearly every grocery store and Wal-mart and only ^$1 for movies and $2 for games.

MetaRyan

#51

MetaRyan said:

Blockbuster's been open all this time? I thought it shut down back in 2009 or so when all the stores were shut down near where I live.

DerpSandwich

#52

DerpSandwich said:

Wow. Does that mean video rental stores just don't exist anymore? I know there aren't any more in my town. Blockbuster, Showtime, and Hollywood Video have all gone down.

But that's life, I guess. Things just change!

SphericalCrusher

#54

SphericalCrusher said:

Sad that they are gone. I rented games from them all the time as a kid, and until a few years ago, had their in-store rental pass which was the best thing ever. RIP

ChrisCostabile

#55

ChrisCostabile said:

@MetaRyan I had the same experience until I moved about a year ago and suddenly there was one by me again. Guess that one will be shutting down soon and I can grab a game or two!

Tasuki

#56

Tasuki said:

All the Blockbusters around me closed down months ago. Not a big surprise since there is Netflix and GameFly now, still its sad to see an end of an era. I remember as a kid going to a video store each week with my dad and renting a game. I am just glad that my son got to experience that before the brick and mortar stores went away for good.

unrandomsam

#57

unrandomsam said:

Gamefly are scum. There is no way to buy from them without storing your details and if you try and use you card then whatever they do is the same as what scammers do.

TrueWiiMaster

#58

TrueWiiMaster said:

Sad days. Though I haven't used Blockbuster in years (I prefer to buy now that I'm an adult), I have many fond memories of browsing their shelves for a new game or movie, something you can't really do with a service like Gamefly. I played many of my favorite games thanks to Blockbuster, and I'll miss seeing their stores.

retro_player_22

#59

retro_player_22 said:

Wow Blockbuster is finally gone for real this time, really thought it was dead back in 2003 guess I was wrong.

Caryslan

#60

Caryslan said:

Honestly, what's the point of Blockbuster in today's world? With Redboxes, Netflix, and devices like the PS3, Xbox 360, and tablets offering everything that Blockbusters does and more, what's the point of runing to a video store and fighting over the last copy of a movie?

My PS3 can play all the hottest movies, so what's the point of Blockbuster? For the same price, I can just download it onto my system and enjoy a movie without ever messing with the hassle of Blockbuster or even a Redbox.

Plus, Blockbuster stores have been poorly run for years. The only one left around me has disorganized shelves, and its almost impossible to find what I want to watch. I've spent close to 20 mins in some cases looking for a new movie that just came out!

Like alot people, I remember Blockbuster during their glory days in the 90s. Now, they are just a hollow shell of themselves. In today's world, are they really needed?

Austroid

#61

Austroid said:

Never really went to Blockbusters back in the day, I went to Hollywood Video.

Those were fun, magical times. I remember their video/DVD aisles being HUGE; with a wide variety of genres. I got into Godzilla thanks to their Foreign Section, as well as discoverd the classic Sonic OVA movie.

Game Crazy was the best; they had much more reasonable prices on their used games, let you actually try before you buy, and didn't dump all that "sign up for such and such" junk. (I do remember getting an NP subscription from them, though.) It was saddening to see it close its doors, and become some tire store. Truly the end of an era.

Going to video stores on a friday, renting a game and/or movie then getting a pizza from Papa Murphy's next door; was heaven as a kid.

OptimisticLink

#62

OptimisticLink said:

Rest in peace, Blockbuser. I hardly went to their stores, but they are, in no doubt, an iconic store chain to a point.

Donjwolf

#63

Donjwolf said:

@Yamitora1 Same here man. I haven't seen a Blockbuster anywhere in my city for many years. I thought they all had gone extinct ages ago.

Tony_342

#64

Tony_342 said:

I will miss this store. The one in my town shut down a couple years ago, and I've had to rent all my games and movies from Hastings since. Also, we could really use another place to buy games right now, as I refuse to ever set foot in Walmart ever again after the way they treated me recently (refused to honor their own advertised sale price). Worst customer service experience I've ever had.

Thanks for the memories, Blockbuster.

theblackdragonAdmin

#65

theblackdragon said:

I had no idea there were brick-and-mortar Blockbusters around still — all the ones i ever knew of have long since closed their doors.

i've still got my old Blockbuster card around someplace, it's probably with my library card. i should find that sometime.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#66

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

This happened long ago in my area, although I knew they kept some stores around in the bigger markets. I always went to a rental store by my house called Video Villager back in the day. They had an awesome selection of NES games when I was a kid. I'd ride my bike and rent a game for $2-3, spending what seemed like hours perusing their selection, and ride home as fast as I could. When I got home I'd run to the basement and blow the cartridge out, nearly passing out from lack of oxygen. I haven't rented a game in idk how long, but that's how I used to roll. I'd beat games in 3 days or so, and if I couldn't and liked them game I'd rent it again. The only games I'd buy, or rather my parents would buy for me, were the uber popular games like Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Contra, ect... /reminiscing

Zombie_Barioth

#67

Zombie_Barioth said:

I'm actually surprised they were still around. Haven't rented games since I was a kid and every rental store around here is long gone so while its sad that a chunk of the past is gone, it doesn't really bother me either.

Never visited Blockbuster much though, we mostly stuck to Total Video and Hollywood. Unfortunately, when Hollywood went out they also took Game Crazy with them.:(

Thats-what-she

#70

Thats-what-she said:

RIP, Blockbuster. I'll always have good memories of our time together... except for your near-criminal late fees.

shonenjump86

#72

shonenjump86 said:

Man, I use to think Blockbuster was the coolest thing back when I was a kid. Have not been inside that store in years now.

OdnetninAges

#73

OdnetninAges said:

I remember going to Blockbuster and Hollywood Video with my mother to rent Sonic and Mario cartoons on VHS and DVD, and to rent Xbox and GameCube games. There was also Game Crazy. I miss Game Crazy. They had amazingly low prices. Anyway, I went to Blockbuster all the time as a kid, so it's actually kind of a part of my childhood (along with Hollywood Video and Game Crazy). The last game I ever rented from Blockbuster was Super Smash Bros. Brawl (which I ended up paying $12 to keep), and when that store in particular shut down, I was able to get Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity on PS2 for about $7. (I think I got another good game from them too, but I can't remember it right now...)

Rest in peace, Blockbuster. It truly is the end of an era.

...Now time for some sweet 'GOING OUT OF BUSINESS' deals!

JuanitoShet

#74

JuanitoShet said:

I don't remember much about going to BlockBuster stores. Over 10 years ago, there was one here in my local area (I live in Mexico), but it was closed about that long ago, at least. It was convenient having a nearby store that you could rent media from, but it went out of business too and shut down.

Oh well though. I have my swapmeets around me. I don't really need any stores. :D

TySoN_F

#75

TySoN_F said:

Aww a little sad. I actually stopped my a local Blockbuster to pick up some cheap games (too bad there was nothing good left) and just came out with a few cheap brand new blu rays.

Blockbuster was how I played the newest, latest games as a kid. It saved money for my parents and I always got to try something new. Sad to see something meaningful in my life disappear with the ever changing times. RIP Blockbuster ~

2Sang

#76

2Sang said:

Rest in peace. Last time I went was 2010 when it was going out of business. Anyone here old enough to remember the pokemon snap machine? I remember seeing it, but never got to use it because I never had an n64.

FJOJR

#77

FJOJR said:

I remember when going to Blockbuster was the greatest thing in the world as a kid. I'm so old.

lilman390

#78

lilman390 said:

RIP to Blockbuster. When I was little kid, my mom used to rent Nintendo 64 and Playstation 1 games at Blockbuster like every month. But in 2004, my mom started to used Gamefly. Now I just buy my own games.

GreenDream

#79

GreenDream said:

I have... more than a few memories of Blockbuster.

There was a store called Erol's Video when I was about 4, that's where I began with renting NES games at the time... Then Blockbuster took it over nationwide around 1990-1991. I went there with my parents once a week or once every other week for years...

There was a "Blockbuster World Tournament" sponsored by GamePro magazine, from which I learned about them, and prepared for them... there were two such tournaments, in 1994 and 1995. You could choose which game you wanted to participate in for either SNES or Genesis, and your score world be tallied with all the locals who tried to get a high score in specialized tournament edition copies of the games. In 1994, I played Clay Fighter for SNES. In 1995, I played the Donkey Kong Country 5-minute Tournament Edition. Out of all the children, teenagers, and adults who participated, as a 7- and then an 8- year old, I got in about 8th place on the local SNES leaderboards both times. I still have an old photo of one of those leaderboards...

My parents did get one of the few thousand limited edition copies of the DKC 1995 Tournament Cartridge through Nintendo Power Supplies Catalog for me after the fact... It was about $30. To think it's now worth about $3,000... I've held onto it, needless to say. If no one else does, I hope to donate it to a video game museum someday.

When the N64 came out, I was so desperate to play Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64, I begged my parents to let me rent an N64 with the games... multiple times. Blockbuster would continue to be a frequent spot for my family to spend 20 minutes or more, every week or every other week throughout the 90s, to look for things to rent.

During about 1998, that single Blockbuster location finally got enough money to buy a storefront outlet location 10 times the size of their location at the time; in a huge, yet-to-be finished shopping outlet bar that was being built. When it was finished around 1999, Blockbuster moved there, and the old location became... a county liquor store...

That then-new location would last until about 2011. My family continued renting there throughout the 00's, and I watched as the Dreamcast faded, the GCN and PS2 and Xbox faded, the new PS3's sat on shelves for years at a time, and the Wii got just as much attention and rentals as the 360... And now, that place is a pet store...

Ultimately, their downfall was the same as elsewhere- their business model did not keep up with the times, their stock planning was fit for the earlier decades, not for the coming ones, and they were forced to sell used copies of items that almost never got rented. (Gotta admit, though, many of their used game sales were on par with holiday Steam sales, Gamestop sales had nothing on these... PS1 RPG's for $5 back around 2002 FTW)

In hindsight... Blockbuster was "a product of it's time". It was well-suited for that particular point of history... but the franchise was owned by someone (Michael Kelly, the President of Blockbuster? I forget...) who also owned a football team in Florida. They spread their arms too widely and too thinly, and eventually became overwhelmed by debt and internal power struggles and power feuds, especially relating to the movie industry. (It's notable that Blockbuster heavily influenced the American consumers' decision to go Blu-Ray over HD DVD...)

A pitiful, whimpering end for Blockbuster, but 1990-2010 felt like an almost magical time to be a kid... if you were lucky enough to participate.

GreenDream

#80

GreenDream said:

Woo, that was a long post...

I could probably write a small book about all my Blockbuster-related experiences...

GreenDream

#81

GreenDream said:

@2Sang My sister and I used the Pokemon Snap machine plenty of times! Probably have about 6 of those Snap machine cards still laying around... It was discontinued before I could use it for Pokemon Stadium, though...

I'll never forget seeing this one kid using the machine who couldn't even figure out how to hold down the Z button to aim the camera... he just kept mashing the A and B buttons...

BulbasaurusRex

#82

BulbasaurusRex said:

Rental stores still have their uses, as they're still the only way to rent older titles without locking yourself into a subscription, but Blockbuster didn't adjust very well at all to the digital/Internet age.

Capt_N

#83

Capt_N said:

I believe Blockbuster was trampled here in my area, by Circuit City, or vice-versa. Ironically, both died out. In my area, Best Buy's 3DS game prices are very more, or less the same as my local Target/Wal-Mart, & all 3 stores are slightly different in their stock of less popular games for each console.

I really prefer hardcopies of games. That's why I support buying physical copies when i can. I buy digital, too, but only for what I can't get physical.

The nearest Blockbuster to me, closed doors a few years ago(was between 2-4). I remember renting some games I enjoyed, & some i didn't, just like the movies themselves. For at least, the past year, or two, it has been an empty building, until it recently became a church, I believe a makeshift Latter day Saints? Anyway, I remember using it during the Gamecube, & very early Wii era(6th, & 7th gen), then a small handful of years ago(don't remember specifically how many), more, or less, my family stopped going there. I introduced my family to Netflix a couple years ago, & they enjoy it.

As for games, I currently don't have any subscriptions to any game rentals (services) like GameFly, although 1 year I got a paid-for mini subscription for it for Christmas. Although nostalgia is buying the game on very little information, & opinions of others, game sites that do reviews by site staff, & have opinions of games by users, etc., go against the grain of nostalgia, but sometimes(not always), supply enough info, or even more than enough(/more than I wanted, like spoilers sometimes) to make it easier for me to not waste money on games I would not end up liking.

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