iPad



After acquiring Impulse and Spawn Labs earlier this year, GameStop indicated it was looking into the possibility of launching its own gaming-focused tablet. Beginning next year, it’ll do just that.

“If we can work with our partners and the OEMs and they come up with a great table that is enabled with a great gaming experience and coupled with a bluetooth controller, then there’s no need to go out and develop our own,” GameStop president Tony Bartel said back in April. “But if we can’t find one that’s great for gaming, then we will create our own.”

The videogame retailer has now decided to go with a third-party tablet running Android. Claiming that there are already about 300 on the market, Bartel told GamesIndustry.biz he didn’t “see any need to create a new one.”

“We definitely have selected one. We’re in test phase right now. But we’re excited at the prospect of coming out with this tablet. I would call it a ‘GameStop certified gaming platform.’ We looked at all the tablets and these are the ones that really worked for gaming and we’re going to give you a few benefits that you’re not going to get elsewhere.”

This news coincides with GameStop’s announcement that, beginning today, you can trade in your iPod, iPhone, or iPad at its stores.

The new tablet will feature more than a GameStop logo on the hardware. It plans on having preloaded games and will eventually offer streaming console games through its Spawn Labs service. And, as indicated earlier this year, it will offer a wireless controller that will make it easier to play those sorts of games, as a touchscreen interface just won’t do.

“There’s not a lot of tablet/Android based games for the consumer that are designed to use an external controller,” Bartel explained. “There are a few games out there and more that are coming, but our thought is that the tablet is a great immersive gaming device so it’s hard for us to envision how that tablet will really function as such without some sort of controller.

“So we’ve created a controller that we’re testing to really allow for immersive gameplay. It’s hard to imagine how to stream a game — let’ say Modern Warfare 3 — onto a tablet and then play it with your finger.”

GameStop has already begun testing the device in the Dallas, Texas area, just as it recently did with its game-streaming service.

Bartel didn’t offer specifics on which tablet it’s chosen or its manufacturer. He also avoided talking about price, but that will be a critical issue. A number of companies have attempted to enter the same price range as the iPad (which is pictured above) and found little success, as indicated by HP withdrawing from the market and initiating a fire sale by dropping its price to $99 and $149. A recent report from TechCrunch revealed Amazon has a Kindle tablet in development, and that may be one of the few such devices that’s capable of challenging Apple.

As it stands, there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of success to be had in this space for Apple’s competitors, although GameStop positioning its system as being so gaming-focused could allow it to stand out from the pack. After all, gaming has been shown to be the most popular activity on tablets.

By Chris Pereira