updated 01:40 pm EDT, Mon September 12, 2011
GameStop confirms Android tablet a respin
GameStop's plans to be involved in tablets will involve rebranding an existing Android tablet, company head Tony Bartel said in an interview Monday. Rather than make its own, the company will use its existing refurb center to adapt existing tablets and preload them. While he wouldn't name it, he explained to GamesIndustry that it was in testing.
The decision was made to keep costs low as well as to minimize the glut of tablets on the market. Indirectly attacking the oversaturation of Android tablets, Bartel saw most of GameStop's work being limited to software, where it could load up games and otherwise suit the tablet to its core service, which will include streaming games.
"I don't see any need to create a new one with the three hundred or so on the market already," he said.
A gamepad would be essential to this, he said, since games like Modern Warfare 3 wouldn't work on a touchscreen alone. Titles might eventually be optimized for GameStop's approach to streamline the combination of streaming and the gamepad.
The tablet is due to ship before the end of the year but will have to compete for shelf space with Apple's iPad. GameStop just Monday confirmed iOS and iPod trade-ins and is rumored to eventually have new Apple devices in stores in the longer term. GameStop may extend its streaming games to the iPad and won't necessarily be undermining itself, although it may end up favoring its Android tablet because of the extra hardware revenue involved.
All of the tablet and mobile initiatives are widely seen as attempts to cushion GameStop's fall as physical game copies become less important. Computer services like Steam as well as Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store have grown in popularity, often at the expense of retail. Many in both publishers and gamers themselves have also triggered a minor backlash against GameStop's attempt to focus most of its business on used games, where developers often don't get a cut and lose some of their ability to fund new games.