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Redbox gets into game rental business

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Come this summer, that trip to the corner convenience store for a Slim Jim and a Coke will also give you the chance to check out the newest video game releases.

Redbox, whose vending machine rental kiosks revolutionized the film industry, is moving into the video game space with plans to begin offering titles at 21,000 locations starting June 17.

"Second to movies, renting and playing games is a huge part of the entertainment pie in this country," Mitch Lowe, president of Redbox, told Yahoo! Games.

It's not a rash decision for Redbox. The company has been testing video game rentals for almost two years now. In that time, over 1 million people have taken advantage of the service -- an impressive number given that just 5,000 of its kiosks offered the opportunity.

Rentals will cost $2 per day, a small bump above the company's $1 per day rate for DVDs and $1.50 for Blu-rays. Games will be available for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but handheld gamers are out of luck. 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.

"At this point in time, we're focusing on the [home console market] based on the overall installed base of those platforms and [their use of the] physical media that we're familiar with," says Joel Resnik, vice president of games for Redbox. "The handheld is in transition. ... I feel like it's an upside opportunity down the road."

On average, each kiosk will have an initial library of 20 unique titles. The company hopes to expand that to 24 in the coming months. Resnik says the company expects to offer 80-100 unique titles per year.

Redbox has famously put its kiosks in areas that are somewhat non-traditional, like pharmacies, grocery stores, fast food restaurants and convenience stores. The formula has worked, though. And adding video games will not only help the company expand its reach to a new audience, they seem to help other aspects of the bottom line.

"This is incremental," says Lowe. "It's bringing a new member of the household to us. What's better is when people are adding games, they're also adding movies."

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