GameStop prepping its own Android tablet

The company says it has partnered with a vendor to offer its tablet. The device will eventually let users stream console games to the device.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

GameStop is ready to challenge the iPad in mobile gaming?
GameStop is ready to challenge the iPad in mobile gaming? Apple

Boutique game retailer GameStop is pushing its way into the tablet space, president Tony Bartel said in an interview published today with GamesIndustry.biz.

According to Bartel, his company will be selling a "GameStop-certified gaming platform" in its stores. The tablet, Bartel says, was not developed by GameStop, but his company tested several slates before choosing one it believes is worthy of its certification.

"We definitely have selected one," Bartel told GamesIndustry.biz in the interview. "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 didn't offer up too many details on the tablet, saying only that it will be based on Android and come with pre-installed games. In addition, he said that his company plans to eventually stream console games to the device to help increase the number of titles available to it.

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Last month, GameStop quietly started testing console-game streaming. The company said that the service, which is currently in a closed beta, allows users to stream Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games to mobile devices. The service is based on the technology it acquired from Spawn Labs earlier this year.

GameStop doesn't plan to launch its console-game-streaming service until sometime next year.

After deciding to bring console-game streaming to its tablet, GameStop needed to address the issue of controlling on-screen characters. According to Bartel, GameStop is currently testing a controller that will work with its tablet in order to make the transition of playing titles, which are designed for specific controllers, a bit easier.

GameStop's decision to get into the tablet space comes just months after Bartel told Gamasutra in an interview that his company was working with "partners and the OEMs" to develop a tablet that would appeal to its customer base. At the time, Bartel said that if his company couldn't "find [a tablet] that's great for gaming," GameStop would develop its own.

If and when GameStop's tablet hits store shelves, it might have some company. Last week, Apple blog 9to5Mac reported that the game retailer will start selling the iPad, iPhone, and iPod to customers across its stores.

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 did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.