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Rentrak Signs Xbox for Data From Game-Tracking Service

11 Oct, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Rentrak Corp. added more legitimacy to its game-rental tracking service last week when Microsoft's Xbox division became its first game-company client.

The company last week signed a one-year contract for access to Rentrak game data.Rentrak's Home Video Essentials Industry Data Service uses a point-of-sale tracking system to monitor rental transactions on DVD, VHS and video game titles.

“Sellthrough is where the money is for the video game industry, and that's what they have always focused on,” said Brad Hackley, Rentrak's VP of business development. “But the dynamics of the video game market are changing. A lot of publishers are looking for new financial models to augment existing revenue streams.”

As Rentrak's first video game client, Microsoft is looking for a weekly and cumulative tracking of game software in the burgeoning rental market.

“We now have flexible, Web-based access to deep data that is updated continuously so we can track titles and compare them to wider industry software performance and trends,” said Aaron Greenberg, Xbox business manager.

For Portland, Ore.-based Rentrak, Microsoft as a client represents a coup of sorts.

“It's awesome for us, not only because [Microsoft is] our first customer for video games, but [it is] domestically the video game platform and publisher,” Hackley said.

Considering Microsoft's ubiquitous size and clout, it would seem logical to assume the company already had an internal tracking system or two in place.

Not so, apparently, when it came to rentals.

“That's probably everyone's assumption, but in this business, whoever has the data is in a position to better manage it,” Hackley said. “We've been tracking the video-rental market since 1996 and incorporated video game rental tracking about a year ago.”

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