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GameStop: Tablets are “next explosion in the gaming space,” selling “immersive” tablet games is way forward

Tuesday, 5th April 2011 10:12 GMT By Nathan Grayson

After nabbing Stardock’s Impusle service out of the blue, one thing’s for sure: GameStop’s done playing around.

Speaking with Gamasutra, GameStop president Tony Bartel outlined the next step in his company’s plan for digital domination. In a nutshell, it’s tablets or bust for the suddenly forward-thinking retail giant.

“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,” he said. “But if we can’t find one that’s great for gaming, then we will create our own.”

He went on to describe tablets as the “next explosion in the gaming space,” and explained that both Impulse and streaming service Spawn will deliver content to them.

Granted, this is hardly uncharted territory for games. GameStop, though, doesn’t have any intention of getting cozy with the rest of the pack.

“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,” Bartel explained. “We really believe that’s a chance for us to lead the tablet playing field. … Just like people create [lower-priced, immersive] games for the PC, we think people will begin to create immersive games for a higher price for the tablets. Someone needs to offer those games, and that’s something GameStop will be the leader in doing.”

Similarly, while streaming competitors like OnLive only use their networking wizardry on PC games, GameStop plans to bring console games – like Halo: Reach and LittleBigPlanet, which it demonstrated – to other devices. For instance, tablets.

It seems, then, that the retail giant’s serious about breaking free from the confines of brick-and-mortar. So then, why didn’t it just go for broke and purchase Steam? Apparently, its PowerUp Rewards program wouldn’t have meshed well with Valve’s system. And that’s key for GameStop, as the program has been extremely successful.

Don’t take that to mean GameStop’s just another stubborn step or two out from being stuck in its old ways again, however. Even when it comes to the company’s calling card, it’s not afraid to face facts.

“We really don’t anticipate we’re going to have a model [for digital] where people can trade a game back in,” said Bartel.

And there was much rejoicing.

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10 Comments

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  1. Christopher Jack

    I just see tablets eventually replacing PCs, that’s all.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Ge0force

    The clumsy touch screen controls are no match for analog controllers, so no core gamer wants to play Halo Reach on a tablet. And by the way, why would anyone spend €500 for a tablet , if they can have a far superior gaming experience on a console for half the price?

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Christopher Jack

    @2, You won’t be gaming on the screen, if you did it would be through a gamepad or a keyboard dock, if you wanted a larger screen you would just connect a HDMI cable. Think of it as a small desktop with a screen when you’re gaming at home.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. absolutezero

    I hope to God they are wrong.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. OlderGamer

    You folks read my posts right? I been saying this type of thing for a long time.

    Going to come to a point where there won’t be any consoles at all. Your TVs will stream game services(like they now do with Netflix/Hula/other apps), and you will use wireless controlers to play.

    Almost all game streams are going to be subscription based. Maybe even channel based(think the MS channel, the Sony channel). But I hope it becomes something with less restrictions then that. Where independant services like Onlive, Giaka, Gamestop, Netflix, and Walmart all compete to offer us the most games at the lowest monthly fee.

    Might seem like a stretch right now, but give it time. I think it could be here sooner then most of us think.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    Cloud gaming is not the future O.G., unless 90% of the world suddenly gets improved internet connections. Christ, OnLive can’t even manage to get more than a handful of games on its service.

    People do not want every single thing they own to be streamlined and compacted into one thing. People do not want to be wired into the internet 24/7. Nearly half of all purchased consoles have never even been connected to the internet.

    Tablets aren’t the future either, and they will never replace the PC. This sort of tech is becoming popular due to the growth of a tech savvy generation, but the generation after us will embrace something else, and us with our tablets and smartphones will end up being considered the old fashioned ones.

    Technology moves at too fast a rate for anything to ever truly become “the future”. Tomorrow’s technological advancement quickly becomes yesterday’s fad. It’s already happening with the iPhone.

    In the grand scheme of the whole world, the sales of those devices is rather small. On the other hand, almost everyone owns a TV and a PC / laptop.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. OlderGamer

    I think your wrong ;)

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    I think I made some pretty valid arguments against the point, the most obvious being the simple fact that the infastructure simply isn’t there to support it.

    Tightening bandwidth restrictions. The abolishment of net neutrality. A recession that gets worse daily, not better. It’s a very expensive future, at a time when people are only getting poorer.

    People simply aren’t going to pay for it when they pick us up last year’s big title down the street for a fiver.

    Check the sales of the iPad. Then compare them to the DS. Point proven.

    Tablets aren’t the future, because if the simple fact that people will always prefer to use a keyboard.

    Ignore the fact that I’m typing this to you on my phone from the local supermarket… Hahahaha!

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Blerk

    I guess the important thing about ‘the future’ is that there’s a lot of it. :-)

    #9 3 years ago
  10. OlderGamer

    I don’t know that Tablets will ever replace laptops. So we agree there.

    But I can easily see a day when consoles are ipad sized, hook to your TV, accept wireless controler/kb/ms, and stream content off of the web.

    You wanna keep in mind we can get internet from more then just the phone or cable providers. Also once upon a time 9600bps was standard.

    To me DS sales mean nothing. Handheld game systems sell to kids. Adults prefer cell phones/pda. And the lines are bluring quickly between those devices. That isn’t to say that adults don’t also buy handheld game systems, but the over whelming majority of those sales are made to parents buying for their kids. Every kid I know has a DS/PSP, every adult I know has a cell phone.

    I fully agree with the “Great Recession”, and I think that is a motivating factor. While even I can’t buy new games at retail all of the time, I could afford 20usd/month for a streamed games service. I rent via GameFly, for example. Please keep in mind that once upon a time Sega offered the Sega Channel. It was in NA, was a Cable TV channel, it pluged into your Sega Gen(MD), and each month you could play 50 games, at the end of the month those 50 games offered changed. It cost 15usd/month.

    I expect something like that a lot sooner then you think.

    Also imagine how crazy an idea renting movies thru the mail(let alone streaming them) must have sounded to BlockBuster in the 1990s? 20 years later BlockBuster is almost dead, and Netflix owns the market.

    When trying to think forward, you can’t apply the current way of doing things. You have to think broader then that.

    Just keep an open mind, I fully believe it is going to change drasticly from the way we do things today. I don’t see any reason to think that Games won’t follow music/movies.

    #10 3 years ago