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.