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Sainsbury's enters online games rental market

Extending the range of services available to customers and entering the games sector for the first time, Sainsbury's has announced a new addition to its online DVD rental service, which now includes a library of PS2 and PSP software.

Major UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's has announced a new addition to its online DVD rental service, which now includes a library of PS2 and PSP software - representing the first time that the firm has entered the videogame rental market.

LoveFilm, the company behind Sainsbury's rental service, launched its own combined DVD and videogame rental service in September, and the new product lines, including PS2 software, PSP software and UMD movies, are proving exceptionally popular with subscribers.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, LoveFilm's marketing director, Simon Morris said: "Since we launched the combined games and DVD package in September, we've had literally thousands of subscribers upgrading to the new service and we're now offering the same great deal to our partners."

Tariffs under the Sainsbury's rental service start at GBP 12.97 per month, for one DVD or game rental at any one time. For GBP 16.97, customers will be sent two games or DVDs, and for GBP 19.97 per month, any three games or DVDs can be rented at any one time. The prices are marginally lower than those for direct LoveFilm subscribers, though the company does have a number of promotional offers available for its new and existing customers.

When questioned about the possibility of extending the product range to include multi-format game rentals, Morris explained that through consumer research and customer feedback, the company found that most suitable platforms for its target audience would be PS2 and PSP.

"There are specialist game rental firms who offer multi-format rentals, but we're very much a mainstream, family oriented service. There's already an existing relationship between Sony and LoveFilm, and the range of titles available on the two consoles fits our market perfectly." There are currently no plans to extend the service to other platforms, including the forthcoming next generation of hardware.

As an introductory offer to the new service, Sainsbury's is offering a 30 day free trail, with no obligation to continue and no minimum contract for subscribers. New customers will also be able to rent games and DVDs at the lower DVD-only tariff for the first month, as well as receiving free Nectar points. More information and full details on the promotional offers can be found by visiting the Sainsbury's website.

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Paul Loughrey

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