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Redbox faces challenges in offering some major games, says company executive

"There's a lack of consistency in how the content is split from game to game" Joel Resnick, Redbox

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Increasing numbers of recent video games span multiple discs, especially on Xbox 360, and physical rental service Redbox's one-disc policy makes it difficult for the company to offer such titles, said vice president of games Joel Resnick in an interview with Gamasutra.

Redbox kiosks ask for one fee per disc, and while some suggest the company simply charge twice as much for a two-disc game, that won't work because customers might return the discs to separate locations. Further complicating the issue, said Resnick, is that "there's a lack of consistency in how the content is split from game to game."

In the case of Halo 4, the single-player campaign is on the first disc and multiplayer is on the second, but users must insert disc one into the Xbox 360 in order to access multiplayer content on disc two. Last year, Battlefield 3 flipped the equation, putting multiplayer on disc one and the campaign on disc two. This year's EA-published shooter, Medal of Honor Warfighter, isn't available at most Redbox kiosks because the first disc holds the campaign in standard definition, while the multiplayer component and the high-definition texture pack sit on the second disc.

According to Resnick, Redbox is more popular with Xbox 360 users than with PlayStation 3 owners, which makes this a notable problem for the company. Still, next-generation consoles are expected to use higher-capacity media — if not the Blu-ray format used by the PS3, then something of similar capacity — so Redbox expects this won't be an issue in a few years. In addition, Redbox has found that its users tend to prefer casual games like Just Dance 4, which almost never take up more than one disc.

Redbox officially launched last June, and offers more than 42,000 rental kiosks in the United States.

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