Video game kiosk could threaten stores
Editors note: This story was changed to accuarately reflect the ownership of Redbox.
As Redbox progressively adds more video games to its selection of available media, the company could pose a threat to local video game stores.
The movie rental kiosk company announced this past weekend that they will be making video games available to rent at more than 21,000 of their locations.
Although movies will continue to be rented out for $1 a night, video games will cost twice that.
Redbox is owned by Coinstar Inc. The company has distributed more than 27,000 kiosks nationwide in locations such as grocery stores, retailers, drugstores, restaurants and convenience stores.
Since its launch in 2003, Redbox, along with other new movie renting and streaming alternatives, have put a strain on the movie rental industry.
Blockbuster, for example, has closed thousands of stores worldwide, and Hollywood Video has gone out of business.
Tom Leach is the owner of Video to Go in the Frandor Shopping Center, in Lansing, a video rental store that once also carried video games.
“It cuts the pot a little smaller for everybody,” he said. “I’m sure it’ll affect all the stores a little.”
Unlike movies that are in use for two hours or so until they’re ready to be returned, video games are typically used for long periods of time.
“People who want to experience games over multiple nights won’t rent from Redbox,” Leach said. “It’ll be expensive.”
Ted Wilson is the owner of Replay Entertainment Exchange, a business that buys, sells and trades video games, movies, music and books.
Wilson said though they provide a convenient way to rent movies and video games, Redboxes don’t capture much of what many specialty shops have to offer.
“It’s a retail experience,” he said. “You’re going to discover things you never knew existed.”
As with their movie selection, Redbox’s video game selection will be limited to new releases and those that are in highest demand among gamers.
The games also will be limited to those compatible with Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 consoles.
Replay Entertainment Exchange employee Brandon Johnson said that the store’s variety will help them maintain their place against competition.
“I can see how (Redbox) can definitely hurt businesses,” he said. “But our selection ranges from the new arrivals to the old stuff. The Redboxes just don’t have that.”