Redbox Testing Game Rentals, Higher Prices

As anyone who has followed the nosedive of Blockbuster knows, it’s dangerous for a company in the video business to be too staid. Thus, DVD kiosk company Redbox is dipping its toes into the video game market at the same time it’s also testing out higher price points in some areas.

Redbox has already begun charging up to $2 for Blu-ray offerings, but they’re now testing various price points for regular DVDs in five markets — $1.50 in Albuquerque, $1.25 in Modesto, Calif., and San Diego, $1.15 in Spokane, Wash., and Miami/West Palm Beach.

Redbox says these higher price points aren’t necessarily permanent nor are they indicators of an impending across-the-board price hike.

“We plan to continue the test until we can understand the implications,” a Coinstar spokesman said. “There is no definitive end date.”

Meanwhile, Kotaku says that Redbox is now testing games for $2 each at some kiosks in Nevada, North Carolina and Texas (perhaps others). Unfortunately, those who have checked out these game-renting boxes weren’t terribly thrilled with the selection or how titles were divvied up by the various consoles:

Only 28 percent of kiosks were renting Wii games, despite the fact that console is found in nearly 29 million American homes, the highest penetration of any. Inversely, PS3 titles were found in 39 percent of kiosks, despite having the lowest market penetration. Xbox 360 games accounted for the other third.

Redbox testing higher-priced DVD rentals [Hollywood Reporter]

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  1. mac-phisto says:

    TEST GAME RENTALS BY ME PLEEEZE!!!

  2. dolemite says:

    I think Game rentals will be nice, but their price model might get kind of expensive. For a movie…you take it home, watch it, and return it (usually same day or next day). With a game, if you want to finish it, it could be 5,10, 20 days.

    • mac-phisto says:

      here’s the thing, though. sometimes i want to check out a game before i buy it or i want to play online w/ a few friends for a nite or two, but dropping $60 on a new game isn’t in my budget. the problem is, my only alternatives are blockbuster (which is like $10 for 5 days) or gamefly (which i hear is just awful).

      i would love the ability to rent a game for a weekend for $4 & take it back. if i still like it, i’ll head to the store & pony up. if not, i’m only out a few bucks.

      • Robofish says:

        I’ve got gamefly, and it’s not bad at all. 15/mo for 1 game out at a time. That’s fine by me, since most of the games I’m renting I would beat then never play again anyway. No horror stories about them from me. Care to share what you heard about them? As a gf member I’m curious.

        • sickofthis says:

          My problem with GF is that they don’t have enough distribution centers, so it takes a long time to get a game.

          I really wish Netflix would buy Gamefly already.

          • Robofish says:

            That I can see. I’m in Baltimore and my closest center is Pittsburgh. The turn around is usually 3-4 days for me, but that’s ok. I can unglue myself from the console then.

            If they made some type of deal with netflix that would be fantastic and probably really put the final nail in blockbuster

            Wasn’t gamefly supposed to go public soon?

        • fatediesel says:

          I’ve never had Game Fly, but I’ve read a lot of complaints (including on this site) from members reporting that they’ve commonly received broken discs, that it takes forever for Game Fly to report a disc as returned, and them not sending out a new game for multiple days even when you have multiple games in your queue that are available.

          • Daniellethm says:

            I have gamefly, I also had it about two years ago and didn’t have the problems I have now. First off, my nearest distribution center is in PA, and I’m in IL now, two years ago I was in WI, same distribution center as now and I got my games faster. In a month I might get four different games (If I’m lucky) even if I keep them only a day or two. I get it, it’s not their fault, blah blah, but what bothered me the most were the last two games I received.

            According to gamefly one game (Heavy Rain) shipped two days before the other (Sega psp collection) but they arrived at my door on the same day. They are also a huge target for theft, I’ve had three games go missing in between my mailbox and gamefly. My solution was to drop them in a drop box near my house (Not sure if my mailman has anything to do with them going missing, but there have been other incidences with certain mail going missing, like rent checks, btw, how do you go about complaining to usps? Can’t find any info on their website.)

            Mail fiasco aside, they have yet to send me the game on the top of my game Q, it has been “low”, “medium”, and “high” availability, yet nothing, and it’s usually the 3 & 4 spot games that they send me. As inconvenient as it has been, I still send them money every month, because renting four games from blockbuster or similar would cost way more than $22

        • mac-phisto says:

          most of the complaints center around the time it takes to get a game & how it’s virtually impossible to get a recent release. i have a few gaming friends that gamefly should be perfect for – they play games for a few days & then move on to something else – but it’s failed them completely b/c they never receive the games they want to play in a timely manner – it’s long after they’ve moved on.

          i don’t need to pay $15/mo. to play oldies. i just signed up for a game trading service instead. what i would like is access to new releases immediately for short-terms & for pocket change. this redbox thing is right up my alley.

      • Daverson says:

        Gamefly is hit or miss depending on where you live. If they haven’t got a distribution center close to you, it can take seemingly forever for the turnaround. (Around here, the turnaround is usually about 2 days, so it’s not too bad.)

      • MercuryPDX says:

        Bingo! :)

    • Nick says:

      Movie Gallery is(was) charging $9 for 5 days. So $2 a day is not so bad. If game sucks you could return it fast. For long games, try before you buy.

  3. Riroon13 says:

    Wii rentals make the most sense for a few reasons:

    1/ highest penetration of users (yes, I could’ve reworded that)
    2/ a majority of the games are ‘party style’ games that could make a fun few days’ rentals (or rentals for a party, sleepover, etc), as opposed to the majority of 50-70 hour long shooters and sandbox games for Xbox360, PS3
    3/ Wii is known as a shovelware magnet; because of the volume of games produced, many do not get reviewed; this is a great way for the consumer to ‘try before you buy’ (The same logic applies to the large number of kiddie games produced for the system)

    • Robofish says:

      There are sooo many crappy wii games that should just be downloadable games. Any of the ubisoft game show ones like press your luck. ( They are DLC on ps3 and 360 but not wii )

      • JonBoy470 says:

        Remember the Wii has 512MB of on-board flash storage, compared to the hard drives on PS3 and WBox360 at 40GB and up. So a lot of the content that is sold as downloadable on PS3 and XBox360 would use a prohibitively large amount of memory on the Wii. As an example, I bought “Bad Moon Rising” by Creadance Clearwater Revival for Guitar Hero 5 on my Wii, and without thinking told it to save the song on my Wii’s internal memory. That one song, for a game that runs off a disk, used 700 of the 900 blocks of memory remaining in my Wii.

        Fortunately I had a spare 1GB SD card I could put in my Wii, and GH5 and the Wii allowed me to move it to the SD card (which has ~5,500 blocks).

    • fatediesel says:

      Wii games are also $10 cheaper than PS3 or Xbox 360.

    • Daverson says:

      I think you make some great points about Wii rentals in the Redbox, but I’m not sure how many of the shovelware games would wind up in Redbox kiosks. They don’t have a reputation for renting obscure or hard-to-find movies and I’m not sure they’d want to devote a lot of real estate to lesser-known shovelware. I think you’d mostly find the more popular and/or reviewed games there.

  4. Turi says:

    I live in NV and have seen the game rentals. Only time I’ve tried them is when I had a free coupon code thing. One night really isn’t enough for most video games – unless they’re really crappy ones.

  5. DanRydell says:

    I hope they bring game rentals to my area. While the cost isn’t great (actually worse than Blockbuster if you keep the game for 5 days), 1 night is usually enough for me to decide if I like a game enough to buy it.

    Side note: For some reason “price point” has become a really common phrase in the last few years, and most of the time when people use it they really just mean “price.” It’s funny that people are too lazy to type words like “your” (ur) and “to” (2), but they’ll type all those extra letters in “price point.”

    A price point is a price where demand is relatively high. Redbox doesn’t know what demand will be at their various test prices, that’s why they’re testing them. 99% of the time when you say “price point” you could just say “price” without altering the meaning of what you intended to say.

  6. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    They’ve been ‘testing’ the $1.50 here in Albuquerque for well over a year at this point. I don’t expect it to ever return to $1.

  7. zomgorly says:

    I can see using the game rental. I could rent to see if I want to buy a game for the long term, rent to play a game with friends like Madden ($60 for a football game that doesn’t really change is ridiculous) and maybe get a game that I play online occasionally but not worth paying full price. $2 seems like a fair price for one night.

  8. VashTS says:

    Wait people still rent and BUY movies….hahahahaha….what is this 2006. Next thing people will start telling me, DLC’s in games were made after the actual game release.

  9. jo3lr0ck5 says:

    Kind of a dumb idea that will make them some good money…if they test this in my are I’m pretty sure they will get a whole bunch of folks on overages…

  10. walt duke says:

    Our nearest Redbox has had Xbox, PS3 and Wii games for at least two months at $2.

    I was surprised to see them first in rural North Carolina, but maybe we are part of their alpha test market.

    We also had the first Blockbuster kiosk I’ve ever seen, three or four months before I saw anything about them online.

  11. Erik_says_this says:

    I like the idea of BD & video game rentals, but for them to say the test of higher price points isn’t an indication they want to start charging more is ludicrious. Give the public a little credit here.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It depends. In certain markets, if they find that charging $1.50 nets them less money than charging $1 did, they might not permanently change the price to $1.50.

  12. hypochondriac says:

    “We plan to continue the test until we can understand the implications,”

    Doesn’t that mean, we want to see how high we can hike prices before losing customers?

    Why else would you test a price hike?

  13. iloveblueberries says:

    Gonna have to say, even the highest price point at $1.50 is still a bargain in my opinion compared to on demand download and rental store prices. If a raise in price meant greater selection of movies I’d easily take that.

  14. brianisthegreatest says:

    I wouldn’t pay $2 to rent a game for a day. If a game takes 20 hours of play time to beat, and you play 4 hours a day. That’s $10. Very close to used game sales, so you might as well just buy it. I don’t like console games anyway. Redbox is a joke.

  15. FidFed says:

    $1.15 in Spokane, Wash., and Miami/West Palm Beach.
    Prices went from $0.99 to $1.15 – But I have the choice NOT to rent.
    I use to rent 2 movies 2x week, now I have cut down drastically to almost 1 movie a month!

    I now go to MyMovie box at Publix and rent for a $1.00

    Way to go Red box!

  16. FidFed says:

    $1.15 in Spokane, Wash., and Miami/West Palm Beach.
    Prices went from $0.99 to $1.15 – But I have the choice NOT to rent.
    I use to rent 2 movies 2x week, now I have cut down drastically to almost 1 movie a month!

    I now go to MyMovie box at Publix and rent for a $1.00

    Way to go Red box!

  17. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Hell, they could charge $25 a day for all I care. Redbox only stocks newer Hollywood crap anyway — crap I wouldn’t rent for $0.15 a day much less $1.50.

    As for games, if I wanted to be a real gamer I’d rather buy than rent. Aren’t there plenty of sites out there where people can swap used games?

  18. The Dord says:

    Games are a tad bid expensive, but I’d rent them if they were $1.50 per day instead of $2.

  19. farker says:

    There’s an Albertson’s near me in the Torrance area of LA with a Redbox. The other day I noticed when I tapped the “Rent” button from the main screen that along the left side a button for “Games” appeared momentarily and then disappeared. Has anyone else seen this?