Sep 13, 2011
The hip thing to do nowadays is for retailers to sell their own Android tablets. Barnes & Noble is doing it with the Nook Color. Amazon’s about to launch their own. And now, GameStop is about to launch one? At first glance this may not make sense, but there are parallels and reasons that make this make sense for GameStop, and why their tablet could be very interesting.
While games and books have been at war for decades as the latter is seen as a ‘classier’ entertainment choice than gaming is, consider the running threads between book retailers and a game retailer like GameStop. Both have peddled largely in distribution of a physical product that is now at risk of disappearing due to the advantages of digital distribution. In a an attempt to make sure that if and when physical distribution becomes unviable, book and game retailers need to latch on to digital distribution mechanisms. Barnes & Noble and Amazon have done so with their Nook and Kindle services respectively, and are launching Android tablets to help support sales of them, with stores for selling apps through them. Why can’t GameStop do the same thing? I’m not just talking about selling games through their own app store. I’m talking about what Â they could do with their Spawn Labs and Impulse holdings.
Spawn Labs is a company known for their Spawn HD-720 box that allows players to hook up their consoles and play over the internet on any computer. Impulse is a game streaming service similar to OnLive and Gaikai, that GameStop owns and operates. Especially as PC gaming has been taken over by digital distribution, GameStop has been looking for their own entry point into this market. Why not have it be through a low-cost Android tablet? Sell a device that doesn’t have to be excessively powerful, just powerful enough to handle the streams of games that GameStop would offer, be they Impulse PC games or Spawn console games. Bundle it with a controller, and Offer AV and HDMI outputs, and players have a device that could be hooked up to any TV, easily, with the ability to play their games anywhere. It would also serve as an anchor for Spawn and Impulse services, as people would be more likely to shell out for games and devices on that service rather than OnLive, Gaikai, or even purchasing them on Steam. It would be a great way to introduce people to the service without any difficulty. In short, it could be the killer hook that GameStop needs to help launch their service, and give people a reason to buy their tablet.