GameStop will sell its own brand of gaming tablets using the Android operating system beginning next year. The device will be available in stores, alongside other gaming hardware from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Apple. GameStop's device will be unique in that it's being manufactured by a third party. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, GameStop president Tony Bartel said: "I don't see any need to create a new one with the three hundred or so on the market already." While Bartel insisted that he believes that there are several tablets suitable for gaming, he didn't reveal which company will be manufacturing the one GameStop will use or the expected retail price for the upcoming “GameStop certified gaming platform."
Bartel did say that GameStop is in the beta testing phase for the tablet. Customers in Dallas, Texas got the first get hands-on time with the device two weeks ago. “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," explained Bartel. The platform will come with several pre-installed mobile games, which may be related to GameStop's purchase of the mobile gaming site Kongregate last year. It will be capable of streaming console games thanks to technology from Spawn Labs, which was recently acquired by the retailer.
The tablet will also ship with a dedicated wireless controller. Bartel admits that "there's not a lot of tablet/android based games for the consumer that are designed to use an external controller," but he said that he believes more are coming and that he can't envision how a gaming tablet would function without an external controller. Before third-party companies start to develop tablet games with a controller in mind, GameStop will have to show that there's an installed base to support them.
Sep 13, 2011