Saturday, October 29, 2011

GameStop Dives Into the World of Tablets

For quite some time now, GameStop has been discussing its plans to sell an Android tablet that features video game optimization. Well, on Friday, October 28 the video game retailer announced that certain stores will be offering three different Google Android-based tablets from Acer, Asus and Samsung. They will be packaged with external Bluetooth controllers that they hope will bring a very console-like gaming experience.

The tablets that will be offered by GameStop include: the Acer A100, costing $329.99 without a controller; the Asus Transformer, costing $399; and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, priced at $499.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, GameStop will be directing a tablet pilot program. Two hundred retail locations across the country are carrying the tablets. Writers at PCMag contacted several different GameStop locations on the West Coast, and they confirmed that they do indeed have tablets in stock.

A representative at a GameStop located in San Francisco said in addition to the tablets and external game controllers that the company will be selling, it will also be loading tablets with software and promoting game titles that have been optimized for tablets.

Earlier this year when GameStop first began discussing their plans to offer a tablet at their retail stores, the company said that it was planning to begin building its own tablet if it could not find a tablet that it liked enough to sell. "If we can work with our partners and the OEMs and they come up with a great tablet 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," said GameStop president Tony Bartel in April. "But if we can't find one that's great for gaming, then we will create our own."

Just last month, Bartel announced that he saw no need for GameStop to build its own tablet because there were so many already available. He had continued saying that any tablet that the company sold would be branded as a GameStop tablet; however, it does not seem as though that is the case with the three tablets that they are currently offering.

Although they did not build their own tablet, GameStop did go ahead and build its own controller for the tablet. This summer, they tested the controller on consumers in Dallas.

"[W]e've created a controller that we're testing to really allow for immersive gameplay," Bartel said in September. "It's hard to imagine how to stream a game—let's say Modern Warfare 3—onto a tablet and then play it with your finger." Bartel did admit that they might run across the problem of not having enough content to offer in the beginning.

"There are not a lot of tablet/android based games for the consumer that are designed to use an external controller," Bartel said. He did, however, mention that GameStop will begin streaming console games to the devices as soon as they become available.

I think that it is very interesting that gaming retailers are starting to get in on the tablet market. Personally, I think that it’s a little early, since there aren’t tons of console games available right now, but it’s better to be early than late. It will be interesting to see how things go for GameStop.

Source: PCMag - GameStop Selling Not One But Three Android Tablets

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