I can count on three things on the rare occasions when I visit my local McDonald's: A dining experience resulting in a long spiral of self-loathing, the stench of what my wealthy relatives refer to as "the bothersome working class," and a magical machine that exchanges DVDs for money. Redbox has flirted with the idea of video game rentals for some time, launching a pilot project back in 2009. It seems to have garnered a favorable response, as the company now plans to expand availability to roughly 21,000 locations nationwide, starting June 17th. The company explained the move in a press release, the full text of which can be found here. From the release:
Redbox, a Coinstar, Inc. brand, has tested video game rentals alongside movies at 5,000 redbox locations. "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 [...} Today, nearly 64 percent* of people in the United States own a game console. Upon launch, redbox will feature games across the three major console platforms: PLAYSTATION® 3, Nintendo Wii™ and Xbox 360®. Video game titles will range from top releases to popular family and kids titles.
As a self-proclaimed proletarian wretch, I'm all for cheap rentals. I won't divulge my annual wage -- partly because it's no one's business, but also because it seems like it would somehow be bad form -- but let's just say I'm in "Earned Income Tax Credit" territory. Thus, I all to often find myself torn between my love of gaming and my obligation to my cats, who have grown rather fond of eating. While Redbox may be relatively expensive -- as Joystiq notes, "Blockbuster offers five-day rentals for $8.99 per game and by-mail rental service GameFly lets its users check out two games at a time for a $22.95 monthly subscription fee" -- it's a good option for those who are short on cash or simply wish to blow through a game on a particularly manic weekend spree.