Redbox Will Rent Games For $2

In July, we reported on Redbox testing game rentals in select markets. And starting later this month, video game renters will be able to find their poison at even more Redbox kiosks.

The company revealed it’s expanding its test marketing of video game rentals, spreading the service to “thousands” of its 24,000 kiosks.

Although one night is usually all anyone really needs with a movie rental, it remains to be seen if gamers will be able to part with an addictive 10-hour-plus-long adventure. The pricing and 24-hour limit seem like a trap geared to get people to pay extra charges. Game renters, is the cost right for you?

Redbox Launches Game Rental Service, Fends Off Blockbuster Express [InvestorPlace]

Previously: Redbox Testing Game Rentals, Higher Prices


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  1. zigziggityzoo says:

    I think it should be the same, $1. While the titles themselves cost more ($40-60 versus maybe $25 for DVDs/BDs), people will be renting them for longer periods, maybe 7 days.

    • JohnDeere says:

      i agree. not as much replay value in movies as video games.

    • common_sense84 says:

      That’s the point. Games cost more than movies and are rented less than movies. The higher fee is necessary.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        The higher fee is implicit in the fact its still $1 a day but they’ll have it out for a longer period of time. What if it takes you a week to beat the game? In that case Blockbuster is still better.

      • zigziggityzoo says:

        The fee is PER DAY.

        So a DVD is out maybe 1 day, and returned, and could sit for weeks before being rented again.

        A Game is out for maybe 7 days till I beat the game or get sick of it then it’s returned.

  2. JamesBE says:

    With more and more video game publishers taking the BS “you’re not buying a game but the licence to play it” route, I see a supreme court case on the horizon if this takes off. And thank God, the idea that you’re buying a license to a game, and not the game itself, is a direct violation of the right of first sale and an unlawful contract.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Given this is a rental and not a purchase, I don’t understand what you are saying.

    • DanRydell says:

      Seriously man? A supreme court case over game rentals, which have been happening for the past 30 years? Do you live in a bubble where media rental didn’t exist before Netflix?

  3. georgi55 says:

    Gamefly’s lowest plan is $16, that equals to 8 nights of Redbox. Say you try about 4 games a month. Thanks to crappy Gamefly shipping and availability, you are most likely to be without a game in your hands for 5 to 6 days per game while waiting to exchange. That leaves about 10 nights of keep total. Also if you rent a crappy game and want to return it the next day, you’ve just given yourself another 5, 6 days without a game even assuming that a game you want in your queue is in stock. With this service, I can try a game and it will only cost me $2. Keep it for a week and still less than Gamefly membership. Or I could try 8 different games daily for $16…try that with 1 game at the time Gamefly membership, not happening.

    So for me I think it’s perfect service. If you have 3, 4 game at time gamefly service and have 2, 3 games sitting at home for weeks not being played, then the service may not be for you.

    • Joe-TFW says:

      If I send a game back to Gamfly, I normally have one maybe 3 days alter. I try to time my returns for a Monday and will have a new game by Wednesday or Thursday on nearly all occasions. The Redbox service will definitely be useful for those who simply want to try a random game here and there, but the value would be lost on someone like me. Plus I pay for my yearly Gamefly plan all at once, so I have no monthly charge.

      • georgi55 says:

        You must be lucky, I’m in DC suburbs and if I send a game out on Monday, I’d be lucky to have a new one by Saturday.

        Don’t think it’s my local post office but some hub it goes through on the way in; my netflix movies always show up the next day.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          It’s because Gamefly, to my knowledge, only has four distribution centers. Netflix has 58 centers. In fact, DC area folks probably all get their DVDs from the center in Gaithersburg.

        • txhoudini says:

          Also, Netflix has a deal with the USPS. A returned Netflix DVD (and all prepaid mail) is scanned when it arrives at a post office and that info is sent to Netflix so they can send out your next DVD. GameFly does not have (and is pissed about not having) the same deal with the USPS.

    • Southern says:

      Also keep in mind that availability of games will probably be lower at kiosks, as people *will* be keeping the games out for more than 1 day at a time.

      Need to get some feedback from some people in the test markets (like Austin TX area) to see how availability worked out for them and if they were able to get the latest, hottest games without too much of a fuss…

      • georgi55 says:

        However, you could search and reserve available games in your area online. With Gamefly, there is never a guarantee that the game you want will come next; they might send 10th game in your queue if they feel like it “due to availability”.

        Also I’m sure they will track usage trends and stock enough of popular games.

        • Southern says:

          True, although I’m not sure I’d trust ’em with my credit card number online like that (since you have to register a credit card in order to reserve movies, I’m sure it would be the same for games)..

          Also, I wonder what their cutoff would be for games? I know for movies it’s like $25.. If you don’t bring the movie back, it’s a $25 charge and you keep the movie. Unless they make it high for games (in the $75+ range), they may wind up with people just renting a game and deciding to keep it. :)

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            The kiosks are pretty secure, IMO. I’ve never had any problems. As for the fee if you go over a certain time, I think it’s probably going to be depending on the type of console game you’ve rented – Wii games may top off at $50, and PS3 and XBox games might hit $80. Redbox will probably set the cutoff higher than MSRP since games are usually sold at or around MSRP anyway. They want to create a reason not to keep the games – paying $10 to $15 more is a good reason not to keep the game. DVDs and Blu-Rays are probably set at a slightly higher cutoff too, but it doesn’t seem nearly as egregious when DVDs and Blu-Rays are consistently sold at a price lower than MSRP.

    • kalaratri says:

      Except I doubt Redbox will allow me to rent PS2 or DS games, which is what I use Gamefly for. If all you are interested in are games that just came out, I think Redbox is a better deal. But if you want variety on different platforms, Redbox can’t deliver.

  4. Joe-TFW says:

    Why not just get Gamfly if you’re going to rent games? I can’t imagine renting a game like Borderlands or an RPG for $2 a night. It’s just a bad deal.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It’s not a finely tuned machine like Netflix. AFAIK, there are only four distribution centers in the entire US.

  5. neekap says:

    I like the idea in the scenario that you’re on the fence about buying a particular game and there’s no demo to play. I would gladly pay $2 to determine whether or not I want to drop the $50-60 for the full thing.

    • Southern says:

      Agreed, that’s primarily what I will use the rentals for as well. Any game worth buying is going to take at least a week or two to finish, and while I can’t imagine renting some games with high replayability for multiple nights (or just over and over), it would be nice to check ’em out to see if I’ll like ’em.

      The one stickler to all this is I doubt that this is going to work out well for some online games (like the ones you have to register online to play, then they’re “linked” to your console), and I would imagine more and more companies may end up jumping on that bandwagon if they feel these rentals are impacting their game sales..

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Parents especially would hate to buy a game for their kids and see it collecting dust a week later. At $2 a night, a Wii game is cheaper to rent if you figure your kid is going to get tired of it in the first few weeks. This would be a good way for them to try out a game instead of wasting the money to buy it. It would also be a good way of teaching kids to make cost-related decisions.

  6. Marlin says:

    2 dollars is actually good IMO. I get to try the FULL game out first and if I like I buy. I stopped buying full price games a long time ago as I got burned 1 to many times.

    I almost bought Civ5, but waited for reviews to come in. Glad I did they are awful. Same thing with Xbox games. I buy mostly “bargin” priced ones that have good reviews. Cheap game that is highly ranked.

    • Arcaeris says:

      I bought Civ 5, started playing one day st like 4 PM. Next time I looked at my clock it was 1:30 AM, and I had work the next day…

      I hadn’t played a Civ game since the first one, but it’s just as complicated as it ever was, and just as fun.

    • Dhoward12 says:

      What reviews have you been reading? IGN rated it “Outstanding” a 9.0 out of 10 and the average press review has been a 9/10.

  7. bitslammer says:

    The problem is that any “online” or multiplayer functionality that requires an account will be toast with these rentals as they wont’ work. That’s the trick many game publishers are using to thwart used game sales.

  8. The Marionette says:

    Frequently at blockbuster customers would tell me about the games they rented and it seemed to take the whole 5 days for them to beat or at least get part way through. Taking the $2/day from redbox it costs more than what blockbuster had, so no the price is not right bob.

    • paul says:

      Most games aren’t worth playing for more than 5 minutes. If you find one that is actually good enough that you want to play it all the way through, even paying $10 to redbox is cheaping than buying it. If it’s a game that you’re going to want to play for more than a few days, it’s probably cheaper to buy it.

  9. Robofish says:

    I can’t see this going so well with the length of some games, unless you just want to do a try before you buy. Trying to finish something like Uncharted 2 or Assassin’s Creed 2 on redbox is gonna be expensive. Just get Blockbuster online or Gamefly.

  10. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    I’m very interested in this. Granted, I do not see this as “renting a game and beating it in one day” type thing – just dropping $2 to see if the game is worth buying. (And, it’s not just for me – this is a way to see if my son like a came before I shell out the bucks.)

    Sure, you get several rental nights at Blockbuster, but I think the last time I was there, the price was getting close to $9 or so. (Plus, it involved going to Blockbuster.) I tried Gamefly a year or two ago and just did not like it; anything remotely popular was always unavailable and the time between shippings felt like I was just wasting money. (Makes sense, as I didn’t realize they only had four distribution centers.)

    So, I’m all for this as a “try before you buy” scenario.

  11. davidsco says:

    Great, now the lines of people staring at the machines without a clue how to use them will be even longer

  12. diasdiem says:

    I’d be willing to give it a try. It’d be good for trying out games, especially since rental fees keep rising at video stores. And it might actually be enough to finish some of the shorter games. It really sucks dropping $50 or $60 on a game and then finishing it in a few hours.

  13. wenhaver says:

    I’m in a test market (Austin), and we’ve rented games from Redbox 3-4 times since they started offering them. We’ve kept them, on average, 1-2 days per game. Just enough to try them out. My husband rented the new Metroid game and kept it for 4 days in order to beat it. That came out to $8 + tax, which was cheaper than getting it at Blockbuster and WAY cheaper than shelling out $60 for an 8 hour game.

    Overall, I like the service quite a bit. However, those poor little kiosks are pretty jammed, with DVDs, Blu-Rays, and now games. There’s fairly limited selection, and they only carry the big 3 current gen consoles. Also, because it’s in test, you can’t reserve games online. You stand in line (in the Texas sun – and it’s still in the high 80s down here) and you takes your chances.

  14. tchann says:

    The only thing I could see this being really useful for is party games. If you’re just having a bunch of people over for a night of gaming and want to upgrade to another Guitar Hero, or maybe have a quick Tekken tournament, or spend an hour messing around with Wario Ware, Redbox would be great. One buck for one night of game fun.

    But for games that take more than a day to beat? Oh heck no.

    • Southern says:

      Ok, take a game that takes a week (7 days) to beat. that’s $14+tax. Isn’t that STILL cheaper than buying the game?

      • tchann says:

        Very likely! But is that cheaper than a rental from another service?

        • Southern says:

          Well, not if you rent from a BlockBuster B&M.. There it’s like $8 for 3 days or something. It’s also cheaper than GameFly, but GF has other issues (length of time to get a game, waiting lists, etc..)

          Plus with GF, you have to pay for the service regardless of whether you use it or not. That’s the only thing really holding me back from GF, I know that I would either (a) get a game and leave it on the entertainment center for a month or (b) just not queue up anything.. yet continue to pay for it. :) I was bad about that with Netflix movies, which is why I only Stream with ’em now.

  15. Bob Lu says:

    Use the Redbox to try two games for one night per month and buy only the uncrappy one, you can easily save $30+. If you really like both, you lost $4. Considering how many disappointing games there are in the market, this kind of “crappy game insurance” sounds like a really good deal.

  16. jpdanzig says:

    One night is not long enough to enjoy a good game. Redbox should try charging $5 to rent a game for a week, or something like that…

  17. MonkeyMonk says:

    This would be a perfect solution for me renting a ton of cheap Wii games since very few of them keep my interest for more than 24-48 hours.

    I usually spend a good deal more time with my 360 and PS3 games but if there wasn’t a demo available for a certain title then I would definitely pay $2 to try it out before paying full price.

  18. DanRydell says:

    I wouldn’t say the pricing and 24 hour period are indicative of a trap. That’s how Redbox has always worked, and I’ve always expected that video games would be the same.

    For someone like me who would like to try a game for a few hours before I buy it, this is perfect. I can do that for $2 with Redbox rather than paying Blockbuster $8+. I don’t need to play a game for 5 days to know if I’m going to buy it, and I’m definitely not going to finish a game in 5 days so if I want to finish it, I’m going to buy it.

  19. Donathius says:

    I see it as a good way to try a game out since I no longer have a local option for renting games. I don’t play enough to invest in a GameFly account, but if I want to try something like Assassin’s Creed 3 before I plunk down the $60 for a brand new game then I can try it for an evening for $2

  20. golddog says:

    I have unjacked from Sony’s Matrix of forced firmware upgrades for the PS3 so now I never know if a new title will play on my Other OS enabled unit (so I haven’t bought any in over a year). I never wanted to deal w/Gamefly’s hassles so I’m diggin’ this option as a way to try out titles…things don’t work I’m only out a couple bucks…good game I’ll buy it online later.

  21. RoadDogg says:

    This sounds like a great deal. I had gamefly for awhile but the turn around times were much to slow for it to be of any value (their used games store is still top notch though). Paying $2 a day for a game I wasn’t going to buy is great. Especially when new games like Medal of Honor only have 6 hours of gameplay. Too bad none of the redbox near me come up on the list :(

  22. Starfury says:

    It might be worth renting a game for $2 for a night to see if it’s worth spending $60 on for your own copy.

  23. mbz32190 says:

    Off-topic, but am I the only one disappointed with Redbox as of late? Whenever I look in the lightbox of choices, it is all stuff I have never even seen commercials for…basically mainly “B” movies. Or maybe that’s more of a Hollywood issue.

  24. adamwade says:

    It’s a great price. It’s far cheaper than any of the Brick and Mortar’s (Have you seen their prices lately on games??) and as always, it’s up to the consumer to know if it’s right for them or not. It’s a wonderful way to try before you buy as well – I’d gladly pay an extra $2 to rent a game for a night to know if I like it or not before I plunk down $50, to not have to plunk down $50 and then realize the game stinks.

  25. adamwade says:

    It’s a great price. It’s far cheaper than any of the Brick and Mortar’s (Have you seen their prices lately on games??) and as always, it’s up to the consumer to know if it’s right for them or not. It’s a wonderful way to try before you buy as well – I’d gladly pay an extra $2 to rent a game for a night to know if I like it or not before I plunk down $50, to not have to plunk down $50 and then realize the game stinks.

  26. MercuryPDX says:

    I think it’d be too cost prohibitive to rent something with a long play cycle (GTA, Red Dead Redemption), but $2 a night it’s a great way to preview games before deciding to buy… IF availability doesn’t become an issue.

  27. claytons says:

    So, unless you’re unemployed or an ambitious insomniac, it’s probably best to just buy a used copy of the game? I suppose Redbox could be good for trying a game out before you buy it, but for serious gameplay, it’s not a sound alternative to buying a game then selling it when you’re finished.

  28. jiubreyn says:

    For a GOOD game? You’ll need more than 24 hours, you’re better off keeping Blockbuster in business because you pay what…$8 and get to keep it as long as you want. Keep a game for four days and you’ve already got your money’s worth according to Red Box.

  29. Chaosium says:

    This is a great idea.