Redbox broadens vidgame sales plan

Twenty game titles to hit 21,000 kiosks

With a firm beachhead secured in the film rental industry, Redbox is taking on the videogame world.

The company, which has been testing game rentals for two years, plans to dramatically expand the program beginning June 17 — offering titles at 21,000 of its 25,000 locations.

Rentals will cost $2 per day — vs. the company’s $1 per day rate for DVDs and $1.50 for Blu-rays. Games will be available for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. While the company experimented with carrying titles for handheld games during its market tests, it has decided to ignore systems like the Nintendo DS to focus on home consoles during this ramp-up.

The push not only expands Redbox’s footprint in a new arena, but execs said tests have shown that the move also increases the company’s core business.

“Second to movies, renting and playing games is a huge part of the entertainment pie in this country,” said Mitch Lowe, president of Redbox. “This is incremental. It’s bringing a new member of the household to us. What’s better is when people are adding games, they’re also adding movies.”

Kiosks will generally have an initial library of 20 unique titles. The company hopes to expand that number to 24 in the coming months.

Joel Resnik, VP of games for Redbox, said the company expects to offer 80 to 100 unique titles per year.

Redbox has famously put its kiosks in areas that are somewhat non-traditional, like pharmacies, grocery stores, fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. For game publishers, this poses an opportunity for consumers to sample game titles in locations the gamemakers haven’t previously penetrated.

“The publishers are looking for new ways to make revenue,” says Resnik. “Adding games to the Redbox kiosks helps make discovery of their content easier in places they’ve never been before.”

Until now, Redbox has only had 5,000 kiosks offering game rentals. Lowe said those kiosks have racked up more than 1 million rentals since the pilot program began.

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