Tuesday, September 13, 2011

GameStop to sell branded Android gaming tablet, immersive tablet controller

GameStop, which was recently rumored to be slated to sell iDevices as soon as the iPhone 5 launches, has said that it will soon be offering its own Android gaming tablet. The company said that it has already chosen the model of the tablet and that the device will be GameStop branded, and be paired with a dedicated controller peripheral of some sort.

By model, GameStop means that it's chosen a pre-existing tablet, rather than having an OEM built a device specifically for GameStop. Instead, Gamestop president Tony Bartel told GamesIndustry.biz: "I don't see any need to create a new one [tablet] with the three hundred or so on the market already. We have a refurbishment center and we can bring in the product and pre-load certain games onto it. It's an Android device.

"We definitely have selected one. 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."

Bartel admitted there would only be a modest number of games pre-installed, but the company also plans to use the streaming technology it bought from Spawn Labs to stream console games to the device. Tests on the hardware began about two weeks ago, with consumers in Dallas, TX.

Also, about a month ago, GameStop quietly began testing console-game streaming. The company said that the service, which is currently in closed beta, allows users to stream Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games to mobile devices. The service is not expected to launch until sometime in 2012.

This announcement comes a few months after Bartel said in an interview that his company was working with "partners and the OEMs" to find a tablet that would appeal to its customer base. Bartel said that if his company failed to "find [a tablet] that's great for gaming," the company would develop its own.

Apparently, it's found one.

Bartel didn't say much about the controller, but he did say that the idea of the controller was to allow users to become immersed in tablet gameplay. He said, "It's hard to imagine how to stream a game - let' say Modern Warfare 3 - onto a tablet and then play it with your finger." The controller GameStop is testing will, he said, fill that gap in gameplay.

GameStop's shift toward mobile products underscores the significant changes going on in the gaming business. Over the last couple years, titles on mobile platforms, including iOS and Android, have become far more popular among gamers.

In 2009, according to research firm Flurry Analytics, iOS had 19 percent market share in the portable game software market. Last year, according to Flurry Analytics, iOS and Android accounted for 34 percent of the market. Nintendo's market share, which was 70 percent in 2009, hit just 57 percent last year.

GameStop's shift toward mobile products underscores the significant changes going on in the gaming business. Over the last couple years, titles on mobile platforms, including iOS and Android, have become far more popular among gamers.

Best Selling Paperback Sale! Buy Two, Get your Third FREE at BarnesandNoble.com!In 2009, according to research firm Flurry Analytics, iOS had 19 percent market share in the portable game software market. Last year, according to Flurry Analytics, iOS and Android accounted for 34 percent of the market. Nintendo's market share, which was 70 percent in 2009, hit just 57 percent last year.

These moves that GameStop is making shows just how popular mobile gaming on smartphone platforms is growing. According to research firm Flurry Analytics, in 2009, iOS had 19 percent market share in the portable game software market. In 2010, Flurry Analytics said, iOS and Android accounted for 34 percent of the marketm and Nintendo's market share, which was 70 percent in 2009, was just 57 percent last year.

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