Update: A soft-launch of GameStop's Power Pass program has revealed some fundamental weaknesses in the current setup. Thus, Power Pass is currently on hold. Kotaku reports that GameStop employees claim antiquated sales systems were not equipped to properly track inventory, while the company has stated only that the decision came after discovering "program limitations".
If you were able to sign up for Power Pass during this soft launch, GameStop invites you to return the game you rented and the pass for a full refund. You'll also be able to take home and own one pre-owned game for free. The rest of us will have to wait until Power Pass is reinstated, if and when that happens.
Original story: The idea of a "Netflix but for games" has been around for awhile, with various companies each attempting their own unique spin on the games on demand formula. Now US retailer GameStop is introducing its own version, dubbed Power Pass, on November 19. Here's how it works:
For $60, PowerPass will grant you a 6-month, all-you-can-play ticket to GameStop's pre-owned stock of games. You'll take one pre-owned game home, play it as much (or as little) as you like, then swap it for another. There's no limit to how many games you can effectively 'rent' using PowerPass, but you can only take one one home at a time. When the 6 months are up, you can choose to keep one of the games you... tasted? Sampled?
So, effectively, for the price of a brand new game, you can (theoretically) play through multiple games and add one to your library permanently. Considering that PowerPass isn't limited to a curated selection, that's not a bad deal. Someone could play through and get tired of the next blockbuster real quick, allowing you to swipe it - and a few bonus playthroughs of other games - for yourself. That said, there are some stipulations.
For starters, Power Pass will only be available to PowerUp Rewards members, so you'll need to sign up for GameStop's loyalty program before you can participate. The basic, free membership should be adequate for taking advantage of Power Pass, but you can get extra benefits for either $14.99 or $29.99 per year. You'll also need to pick your games from what's physically available in-store, no pulling from GameStop's online selection. Fingers crossed your town is full of big spenders who speedrun all the latest games.