Redbox movie rentals have expanded into the videogame market, but the growing rental “kiosks” are just one of the ways that movie lovers around Ballwin and Ellisville will watch.
Late this month, Redbox unveiled videogame rental services at more than 21,000 of its U.S. kiosks, including several around Ballwin and Ellisville. The move was partially based on research that said nearly 64 percent of people in the United States own a gaming console, such as an Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3, Redbox representatives said. The Redbox games have a daily cost of $2, while DVDs will remain $1 and Blu-ray rentals will cost $1.50.
"Redbox has rented more than one million video games in less than two years at these locations, underscoring the popularity of video game play in America," Redbox President Mitch Lowe said in a news release.
Caleb Galloway, 31, works doing landscaping throughout St. Louis County. He and his wife rent movies almost weekly, he said, typically from a Redbox near their home in Maplewood.
“It’s just easier overall," he said, standing near a Redbox kiosk outside Dierbergs."I think it’s a great concept.”
Galloway said the price and convenience are the kiosks' best selling points, especially considering how long rental periods are and how expensive movie theater outings are. He and his wife went to the movie theater over the weekend to see “Super 8” for Father’s Day, but prior to Sunday, Galloway said he hadn’t seen a movie on the big screen since February.
“We just pick and choose times to go but don’t really go regularly because it costs so much," Galloway said. “It’s one dollar, versus, by the time you get two people, plus concessions, 30 (dollars)."
Redbox isn’t alone in its somewhat unconventional model for movie-viewing. Blockbuster Video, Best Buy and other media outlets, too, are pursuing kiosk-based rentals, which can represent an unusual balance between online shopping and traditional rentals; by browsing the internet, Redbox customers can see what movies and games are available at a specific kiosk, then place the movie or game on “hold” before they travel to pick it up.
This year marks a tenuous time for the movie and multimedia industry in general, with a growing number of televisions and gaming devices built internet-ready for streaming content. Companies such as Netflix and Hulu already offer customers streamed movies and TV shows, eliminating the need for physical media, and laying the groundwork for another way to rent movies that Best Buy is poised to adopt.
Redbox’s expansion into gaming also comes amid closures of local movie rental stores like Blockbuster, which . The locations and just remain open.