Redbox exits the video game rental business

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Redbox is exiting the video game rental business. The kiosk operator confirmed the news to The Verge this week after reports surfaced on Reddit that some machines were no longer offering game rentals.

The company additionally confirmed the news via its Twitter channel.

Redbox was a brief but important part of the transition from traditional video stores to digital delivery of movies and video games. In the grand scheme of things, it all happened relatively quickly with Netflix being the catalyst for change.

Redbox also told The Verge that it will end sales of games at its kiosks by the end of the year.

With Redbox now out of the game, your options for video game rentals are largely limited to subscription-based services like GameFly. I personally haven’t seen a video rental store in years and with only a single Blockbuster still in existence, your odds probably aren’t much better.

Masthead credit: Redbox kiosk by Jonathan Weiss

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TomSEA

TechSpot Chancellor
I use Redbox pretty frequently to rent blu-rays. Hard to argue with the $1.49 rental cost. And I don't recall a single time observing anyone renting games from one of those units so this comes as no surprise.

Doesn't GameStop still rent games?
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
What is unfortunate is this mandates we subscribe to a digital download client service, in which they can pull the plug at any time. While I am very well versed on how software installs and can make my own from scratch, this really puts customers in a bind if anything did happen.
 

Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
What is unfortunate is this mandates we subscribe to a digital download client service, in which they can pull the plug at any time. While I am very well versed on how software installs and can make my own from scratch, this really puts customers in a bind if anything did happen.
Realistically, since these rentals were only for consoles, this move is just pushing you back to the "big 3" game companies' digital services for game content - Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo. If you are putting money and faith into some fly-by-night 3rd party digital delivery service, then yes you are at risk of them pulling the plug. The big 3 aren't going to fold their services any time soon, though - they are all in for digital content and delivery.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
While it makes good business sense (especially since just about every one of these systems have internet capabilities), it would be interesting to see how many of their client base simply do not have internet. I'm fairly certain it's a small amount but it does reveal the greater willingness of these companies to abandon segments of their loyal fans for the all mighty dollar ...
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
I stopped using Redbox when a friend of mine told me about our local library's collection of movies a few years back. And guess what? Our local library also has video games available to borrow. In fact, they have something like 1,600+. The price is right - free if it's on the shelf; otherwise, a one-time charge of $0.50 for them to get it for me from another library. No need to return it the next day - a week long borrowing period is typical - and they can be renewed for another week or more without charge. IMO, this beats Redbox by far; plus, for me anyway, there's the added bonus of supporting a valuable public resource by borrowing from the library.

Honestly, @Shawn Knight , I think you are off the mark with your prediction that physical media is on its way out. People were saying that about vinyl and cassette tapes; yet, both have both seen a resurgence. Physical media is still a big source of revenue for most companies that produce content. As only one (of many) example of a streaming only show that is also available on physical media, Star Trek: Discovery. My local library has the first two seasons on Blu-ray.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
I stopped using Redbox when a friend of mine told me about our local library's collection of movies a few years back. And guess what? Our local library also has video games available to borrow. In fact, they have something like 1,600+. The price is right - free if it's on the shelf; otherwise, a one-time charge of $0.50 for them to get it for me from another library. No need to return it the next day - a week long borrowing period is typical - and they can be renewed for another week or more without charge. IMO, this beats Redbox by far; plus, for me anyway, there's the added bonus of supporting a valuable public resource by borrowing from the library.

Honestly, @Shawn Knight , I think you are off the mark with your prediction that physical media is on its way out. People were saying that about vinyl and cassette tapes; yet, both have both seen a resurgence. Physical media is still a big source of revenue for most companies that produce content. As only one (of many) example of a streaming only show that is also available on physical media, Star Trek: Discovery. My local library has the first two seasons on Blu-ray.
Seeing the resurgence of libraries make sme very happy.

And +1 on physical media. Until fast, reliable, cap free internet is available at a low price for everyone, physical media will continue to have a place, especially as game sizes continue to balloon. Even with 100 Mbps internet, the task of downloading a 175GB game is daunting as opposed to just sticking the disk into the console.

Many think everyone has google fiber at home, many in the US are either stuck with a single cable provider with data cap, or have DSL with sub 10 Mbps speeds.
 
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corrosive23

TS Member
I also suspect this is because of the trash that would rent a game, photocopy the front of the disk, and return the case with a piece of paper.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Seeing the resurgence of libraries make sme very happy.

And +1 on physical media. Until fast, reliable, cap free internet is available at a low price for everyone, physical media will continue to have a place, especially as game sizes continue to balloon. Even with 100 Mbps internet, the task of downloading a 175GB game is daunting as opposed to just sticking the disk into the console.

Many think everyone has google fiber at home, many in the US are either stuck with a single cable provider with data cap, or have DSL with sub 10 Mbps speeds.
Currently, I only have Specturd, but a local fiber firm is supposed to be starting construction for my neighborhood this month and ready for installation in February/March of 2020. I happily will kiss Specturd goodby at that point so much so we happily gave the fiber company an easement so that they could access the utility pole for the rest of our street.

However, even at the base rate of 500 Mbps that I signed up for, 175GB seems like a large amount of data to download.