A Redbox kiosk The retail availability of video games just grew dramatically.
Redbox, whose movie rental vending machines are scattered in all sorts of unlikely locations -- from convenience stores to pharmacies to fast-food restaurants -- has added video games to its selection.
More than 21,000 locations will offer games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii for $2 per day (DVD rentals will remain at $1, while Blu-ray films will stay at $1.50.) Among the initial available titles are L.A. Noire, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Duke Nukem Forever and Just Dance 2. Users are able to reserve games online via the Redbox website, then pick them up from a machine later on.
The formal launch follows almost two years of testing game rentals for the company. While it has been interested in expanding its audience, Redbox first wanted to ensure that adding a new entertainment option wouldn't confuse or alienate its existing customer base. At the same time, the company wanted to be certain it had the full support of the game publishing community.
"The publishers are looking for new ways to make revenue," Joel Resnik, vice president of games for Redbox tells Yahoo! Games. "Adding games to the Redbox kiosks helps make discovery of their content easier in places they've never been before."
When the company first announced plans to expand its gaming footprint in April, it said it expected kiosks to have an initial inventory of roughly 20 games. The company hopes to expand that to 24 in the coming months. Currently, it expects to offer 80-100 unique titles per year.
Don't look for any portable games to be offered, though. While the company did include DS games in its pilot program, it decided to bypass them when making the decision to roll the program out nationally.
And whether Redbox kiosks will stock Wii U games next year is still up in the air as well.
"To speculate that far out would be fairly difficult," says Resnik. "At the end of the day, footsteps and dollar will determine what we do."