While attention has focused on new console games in retail stores and as digital downloads, there’s another very important retail channel that’s becoming much more important for console game publishers: the rental kiosks found in so many places across the USA. Redbox, America’s destination for new-release entertainment, has announced plans to expand the availability of new generation games to all kiosks nationwide in 2015. “We believe that now is the time to make new gen content more accessible to mainstream consumers,” said Mark Horak, president of Redbox, “and through our 35,000 kiosk locations, digital network of 90 million touch points, affordable price point and content recommendation engine, we are committed to accelerating the adoption of both new gen hardware and software for the industry.”
“We look forward to partnering with publishers to execute title-specific marketing plans as we expand new gen nationally,” said Bill West, vice president of games at Redbox. “Research tells us that our customers rent titles to help inform game purchase decisions. As our offering expands, we’re helping publishers reach their goals of raising awareness and making trial more convenient and affordable for consumers nationwide.” West spoke exclusively with [a]listdaily about the importance of Redbox to game marketers.
Tell us about Redbox’s latest move and what it does for the newest generation of consoles — what does it mean for marketers?
Redbox entered the game space in 2011, and has since expanded with the last generation, PS3 and Xbox 360. About two years ago we started the entry into new-gen, when Xbox One and PS 4 launched. What we announced last week was that we are expanding our new-gen offering, where we had been at 5,000 kiosks, we are expanding nationwide to all of our kiosks, some 42,000. We think we canb really help the industry with the transition, really drive our mainstream consumers to new-gen, as well as help our consumers who have already transitioned to offer them the convenience of all of our locations and all of these new-gen games that they might want to try before they buy.
What have you learned from the way people rent games, and about the people who rent games from you?
What I can say is we see a very similar demand to what you would see in what people purchase. I think a lot of that goes to our wonderful stat that 73% of our consumers are trying the game before they buy it — they’re trying to gather information on do they like this game, is this a game that I want to invest in You can look at what’s popular in the industry and see that we have similar popular games in our kiosks.
We have more mainstream consumers, we don’t have a majority of hardcore gamers. We have mainstream consumers who want to play more games, who want to try more, and then eventually convert them into purchase.
How many games do you carry, and how quickly do you get new games into your kiosks?
There’s a lot of new-gen console games, and we give our consumers a lot of options. We will carry at any given time about15-20 games. We follow the publisher release schedules, so as publishers are releasing games we’re putting new games into the kiosks. We can have it day and date, whenever they release it to us.
How do you reach consumers, and how many can you touch with your marketing?
We have a great network of consumers. We actually have 40 million emails, a total of 90 million touch points between our emails, our apps, our text club. We have a lot of communication with our consumers so we can see what they want us to carry, what they’re interested in trying.
What kind of marketing opportunities do you offer to publishers?
Having those 90 million touch points, and having the 42,000 kiosks, we get 350 million impressions per week. There’s a lot of opportunity. We’re really looking forward to talking about specific marketing plans with each of our publishing partners so we can help drive that mainstream gamer that is just now starting to come into that new generation, that is obviously key for publishers. We think we can drive that push — yes, you have to spend on purchasing a console, but we give you a lot of opportunities to come to our kiosk, try all these different types of games and play it for the weekend. We’re looking at multiple types of promotions with our publishing partners that we can really encourgae our consumers to rent specific games.
What’s next strategically for Redbox in the rest of this year and beyond?
I want to spend the next twelve months growing the new-gen business on our end, making games a larger percentage of our business, and as we do that we are looking at other strategic opportunities that I can’t talk to, that we can continue to grow the business from a games perspective in the overall Redbox portfolio.