GameStop considering creating a gaming tablet

By on April 8, 2011, 6:00 AM
GameStop is considering either partnering with an OEM to build a tablet, or creating its own. The goal would be to then sell games exclusively for the device. In other words, think of what Amazon did with its Kindle: not only did build its own tablet specifically for ebooks, but it also supplies the actual ebooks. GameStop wants to do the same, but for games (this isn't the first gaming tablet we're hearing of, see Sony's PlayStation tablet, but it's certainly the first coming from a retailer).

"Our whole premise is there are a lot of people caught up in the 99 cent fray and a lot of people frustrated by that," Tony Bartel, president of GameStop, told CNBC. "We really believe that's a chance for us to lead the tablet playing field. 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. But if we can't find one that's great for gaming, then we will create our own."

Bartel is clearly tired of seeing casual gamers spending their money at Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market. He believes GameStop will be able to get its cut if they can get customers to buy a tablet from their stories first.

Last week, GameStop announced two acquisitions: Spawn Labs, a streaming technology company, and Impulse, a subsidiary of Stardock Systems and a leader in digital distribution (think alternative to Steam). If the retailer could leverage these technologies on an upcoming tablet, it would certainly have some potential. That being said, the tablet market is going to become quickly saturated with a variety of options, and many are going to get axed very quickly.




User Comments: 15

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Guest said:

Who would want to game with touch controls? No dice until i see a keyboard/mouse connectivity, or a controller of some sort.

Arris Arris said:

Gaming tablet... why? It requires you keep touching the screen to control the game. Unless it's specific simple titles like Angry Birds there isn't much need for a touch screen for gaming. It's a nice interface for general use for web/browsing/media - touch - view - touch - view. But for gaming you want to be able to see whats happening on screen at all times, not clicking all over the screen, wiping it clear of fingerprints constantly all just to see that you got killed/your base destroyed/your strategy failed etc. because you missed something your hand/arm was covering. Why do you think Nintendo handheld devices have a touch screen plus physical controls?

With PC/PS3/Xbox titles being easily churned out with a shared development platform *cough Crysis2 cough* with DirectX etc. what development houses are going to get onboard to develop titles specifically for this device. Casual game players are going to be happy enough playing little free and paid games on smartphones and existing tablets, hardcore gamers aren't going to want to adopt another platform other than their Xbox/PS3/high end gaming PC with large monitor.

Looks like another "Ooo tablets are cool, lets jump on the bandwagon". I'll buy one of their tablets and eat it if they go ahead with this system and make an impact with it. Tablet/touch games are, in my opinion, limited to a very niche set of genres of gameplay style and those can be had on smartphones/ipad etc, not requiring some specific device.

Probably rambled on a bit but to summarize:

- Who is going to develop games for it? Doubt PC/XB360/PS3 developers would be keen on having to develop for a completely different platform.

- The genres of games that are suitable for tablets are already plentiful in iphone and android markets. The other genres don't seem that suitable for a touch screen interface.

- With the market already saturated with smartphones, newer dual core ones with very capable graphics processors and ipad/xoom and other tablets who is going to buy a gaming specific tablet in addition to other devices.

Very risky to try and penetrate the market with this, I don't see the need for such a device for mobile gaming.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They should partner up with Razer and get that Switchblade concept fleshed out into something that could be marketed at a reasonable price point. With a little tweaking (like losing the Atom processor), it could be just as effective as a tablet, with much better gaming performance possible.

Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

No gamer will want to game off a tablet. It's just not practical with out the controller,keyboard..etc

motrin said:

i regret selling my ps1 and all my games for a gamecube. damn you Gamestop!

..that is all

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Who would want to game with touch controls? No dice until i see a keyboard/mouse connectivity, or a controller of some sort.

Blkfx1 said:

No gamer will want to game off a tablet. It's just not practical with out the controller,keyboard..etc

I'm guessing you both skimmed by the "coupled with a Bluetooth controller" comment made by the president of Gamestop? They live and breathe video games, rest assured they aren't stupid enough to cut out physical gaming controls. They want a product that will appeal to the entire range of gamers (casual to hardcore), rather than just the more casual-oriented touch game app fad prevalent now.

Arris Arris said:

Vrmithrax said:

I'm guessing you both skimmed by the "coupled with a Bluetooth controller" comment made by the president of Gamestop? They live and breathe video games, rest assured they aren't stupid enough to cut out physical gaming controls. They want a product that will appeal to the entire range of gamers (casual to hardcore), rather than just the more casual-oriented touch game app fad prevalent now.

Guess it depends on whether they are going with a complete system or just a superpowered android tablet or something based off windows OS. First option would be a huge undertaking even with partners. Plus you have a flat tablet and a controller, guess the tablets going to need a stand/something to hold it up while you use the controller. Tablet + stand + controller. Might as well have a laptop. I'm sure some of their people more intelligent than myself have done the market research, looked into the hardware and sofware development and production costs, and approached developers to see who would be keen to develop titles for it and worked out that they are onto a winner, but I just don't see it...

mccartercar said:

Did no one learn anything from the failed "Jungle"?

Albeit it was designed for MMO's, there is no difference.

I'm better off going out and grabbing a gaming laptop.

Nuff Said.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Seems like designing a piece of hardware that will cost $500 in order to get people to buy $1-5 games is kinda weird.

I think this is more a fishing expedition for someone to partner up with them. Take an OEM tablet, slap Gamestop on it, pre-load a few games, and both the OEM and Gamestop can make a profit. But designing a tablet for scratch may not be a good idea. Everybody and their mom is coming out with a tablet. Good news is that in a year or so there will be a lot of this 1st gen junk on eBay for cheap.

Mizzou Mizzou said:

Looks like another "Ooo tablets are cool, lets jump on the bandwagon"...

That's my view on it as well, really can't see that many people willing to pay more for a gaming tablet than a new PS3 or XBox. From what I've seen, the launch of the Xoom hasn't been all that hot which could be an indication that tablets may not be taking over the world after all.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

gwailo247 said:

Seems like designing a piece of hardware that will cost $500 in order to get people to buy $1-5 games is kinda weird.

I'm not sure that is entirely their intent. They'd love to get a finger or two into that pie, I'm sure, but my guess is they are looking for a platform that can run those little cheap game apps plus the more pricey titles in their newly acquired Impulse library. Basically, create your own niche somewhere between casual and hardcore gaming, with touches of each.

treetops treetops said:

Gamestop would not honor a reciept for a game bought the same day I will never shop there again!!! I had to go to walmart and return it there with no reciept!

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

treetops said:

Gamestop would not honor a reciept for a game bought the same day I will never shop there again!!! I had to go to walmart and return it there with no reciept!

I think that many times, it depends on the employees. I've shopped at Gamestop stores where I felt like I was inconveniencing the staff for somehow forcing them to do the job they are paid to do. I've also shopped at a few local Gamestop locations where they have gone out of their way to help with issues I had on returns and non-working game titles. Pretty much the same as any chain, the store can only be as good as the people working there.

beast1944 said:

Hmmm not too sure that gaming on a tablet is quite the same as on the PC.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This doesn't make much sense to me. Those casual gamers who mess around with games on there Apple and Android devices do so because they can. I highly doubt the majority of them bought a tablet/smart phone to solely game on. On the flip side, I don't see a large demand among 'hardcore' gamers either for such a device. As they will likely already own a gaming device in the form of a console/portable or PC. It would seem more logical to me if they try and take advantage of digital distribution on established devices rather than create a whole new segment.

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