GameStop has been making some very strange and/or questionable decisions as of late. They learned from EA about the devious ways of digital distribution, they've tampered with content found in brand new games and they've even started to belive that Apple products are so shiny that even they can make money off of an iPod. So what's GameStop doing now to go along with this steady stream of slightly insane? They're going to sell tablets, of course! Not just any tablet, though, as GameStop is going to be selling their own GameStop branded two-handheld device.
Tony Bartel, president of GameStop, said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz that they've selected a "GameStop-certified gaming platform" to market after going through several options on what the tablet of choice might be.
What could this tablet have that you won't see anywhere else? We have details after the break.
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.
Other than saying it'd have an Android operating system with pre-loaded games and that they plan to stream console games to the tablet, Bartel didn't say anything else. Instead, we can assume that other things you won't see on another tablet are thing like removed feature so you can't interact with any form of their competition (read: Deus Ex). Also, don't forget that this certified tablet comes with the security of knowing that the employees have opened one of the packaged tablets, taken it home, browsed the Internet on it, loaded up their Netflix queue and then tried to reformat it when they were done so you know you're getting a product that won't fail on you upon purchase.
To add to GameStop's ever-growing list of ground-breaking innovations is a controller that would work with the tablet, you know, to give you the illusion of still playing a console game, but with less processing power and a 42 minute battery life.
In all seriousness, it's interesting to see GameStop transitioning to more mobile products. We know that the gaming market is slowly migrating there, but it seems that the consumers are following the games without the need of guidance from a brick and mortar store. A device's native app store seems to be enough to get most gamers to buy, but maybe GameStop is looking to target the "on-the-fence" buyers who do need that extra push to make the adaptation. It's not like console devices will be on the way out, at least not in the near future. Raw power, the need for a physical, constant controller and the desire for a big screen to play on have all been recently proven to be necessities when it comes to regular gaming.
Perhaps GameStop will succeed and scoop on a good bunch of the soon-to-be tablet buyers, but it will take extensive training and product knowledge from their employees. With Apple products already being queued up for training, it doesn't seem like much room is left for something else new to shove its way in.