Gamestop to launch Android tablet to combat sales lost to digital distribution

Gamestop has begun work on a self-branded Android tablet to market to mobile gaming customers.

Rather than creating a new tablet, Gamestop will be planning on specifically branding an already 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.”

The initial offering for the device will likely be simple, already existing games such as Angry Birds but with the plans to quickly expand their offering. The plan is for Gamestop to eventually allow customers to stream full retail games, much like their competitor OnLive.

As a specially produced gaming tablet there are plans to add accessories to make it a more full-featured gaming experience. It is for this reason the tablet will be released with its own separate controller being included.

This comes on the recent announcement that Gamestop will now be accepting trade-ins for used iOs devices like iPods, iPads and iPhones with their plan to begin selling these devices shortly. This marks the start of Gamestop moving into the mobile computing market.

Gamestop is likely releasing this tablet to combat lost sales due to the increase of digital releases. In the month of August there was a 23% drop in retail sales from a year ago while the digital distribution continues to grow. Gamestop themselves were recently involved in a scandal involving the removal of OnLive tokens giving customers a digital copy of the game as well as their retail copy.

With the digital distributor Steam holding over 70% of the digital distribution market it will be interesting to see if Gamestop is able to compete with the already established distribution companies. As one of the largest companies in gaming sales, Gamestop is likely going to be able to use this to help encourage sales in both a tablet and distribution.

If any company is able to make a specially developed gaming tablet successful it will likely be Gamestop since it is the store where most games are purchased anyways.