The U.S. game retailer will brand an existing Android tablet to be the "GameStop certified gaming platform."
In case you haven't heard, tablets are huge. The iPad blew the doors wide open on the handheld computer market, and the videogame industry is looking greedily at App Store profits like a warrior in a weapons shop. Publishers, developers and even retailers want to put their stamp on tablets, which GameStop is literally doing by repurposing an existing product to be an officially branded GameStop gaming tablet. The "GameStop certified gaming platform" runs Google's Android OS and will be sold alongside Apple's iPad, Samsung's Xoom, and Sony's Tablet S when it comes out some time next year. GameStop plans to release a controller for use with games that demand a more robust control scheme than your finger.
GameStop has been working on the conversion process instead of developing a proprietary device. Why use an existing tablet? "I don't see any need to create a new one with the three hundred or so on the market already," said GameStop President Tony Bartel. "We have a refurbishment centre and we can bring in the product and preload certain games onto it. It's an Android device."
Initially, any games on the platform will be light-hearted fare like Angry Birds or Current but GameStop hopes to debut it's streaming game service similar to OnLive and GaiKai soon after the tablet's release. That's where the controller comes in.
"There's not a lot of tablet/android based games for the consumer that are designed to use an external controller," Bartel said. "But our thought is that the tablet is a great immersive gaming device so it's hard for us to envision how that tablet will really function as such without some sort of controller. We've created a controller that we're testing to really allow for immersive gameplay. 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."
Using the tablet as a gaming platform is an interesting idea, but I don't think that gamers will really glom onto it. Perhaps I'm biased because I don't really have a place in my life for handheld gaming. If I have the time, I'd much rather play a game on my desktop computer or on the big TV in my living room. Unless I was not at home, why would I want to look at such a small tablet screen to play games?
Would you buy a GameStop Gaming Tablet?