Redbox and Video Games: Will it Work?

Redbox and Video Games: Will it Work?

If you want to rent a video game, you have a couple of options. You can try and hunt for a Blockbuster Video store, but given the chain’s massive troubles, you’re likelier to flush a unicorn from the city dump. You can use a mail-rental service like GameFly, but that won’t suit you if you’re in the middle of some chores and are suddenly bitten by the impulse bug.

Redbox, the distinctive DVD rental kiosk that stands tall at grocery stores and McDonalds locations across the United States, hopes to offer the country a happy medium. Select Redbox kiosks will now carry video games in addition to movies. For $2 a night (automatically charged to a swiped credit card), Redbox users can rent titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3.

Despite the pessimism that’s being directed towards game retail, Redbox’s new venture will undoubtedly find an enthusiastic audience. Imagine having a meal at McDonalds and spotting a Redbox kiosk. You decide to check it out and you spot a new game release you’ve been meaning to try out. You swipe your card, and you’re done.

Redbox game rentals has a potential market with parents, too. Many kiosks are located at grocery stores; a fussy child can be placated with the promise of a game rental, arguably a more healthy reward than the traditional chocolate bar.

Renting movies and games at Blockbuster required a membership, which required digging for said membership and presenting it to the clerk. It also meant hunting through long aisles to find movies, and waiting in line. A Redbox game rental requires a glance and a swipe, perfect for anyone who’s rushed for time (Hint: Everyone).

Therein lies the project’s weakness, though: A Redbox kiosk is easy to browse, but limited space makes for a thin selection that isn’t consistent from box to box. Though users can reserve games online and pick them up later at a machine, Redbox game rentals will prove most attractive to folks who have just wrapped up a shopping trip and want to take home a movie or game. Online reservations will be useful, but it will be far better for Redbox Automated Retail to make sure its machines are well-stocked with a compelling variety of titles from different genres.

Despite potential shortcomings, if Redbox handles its new foray into game retail with care, it shouldn’t have any trouble snatching up the shopper-on-the-go demographic that Blockbuster has left behind.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.


  1. I checked their website, and their selection is so… small. I mean, accounting for multiplatform titles, there’s a mere handful of games. They’re mostly new ones (and a few Wii shovelware titles), so I guess that’s all they need, but it seems like it’d be easy to get bored with their selection quickly.

  2. IMO this is great news. There is nothing better than trying Video games before dropping $60 on an owned copy. I’d gladly pay $2 to try a game out. Game makers can’t like this very much. They rely on those sales and don’t nessessarly want to let people “try before you buy” as this increases risks of someone not buying their game. Too bad for them. Make better games!

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