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GameStop chooses Android for own-brand gaming tablet

"GameStop certified gaming platform" will launch with pre-installed games

GameStop is using the Android operating system for its own-brand gaming tablet, which will launch with a number of titles pre-installed.

The US retailer has already chosen the model of tablet, which president Tony Bartel told GamesIndustry.biz is considered by the company to be the "GameStop certified gaming platform" and will sell alongside hardware from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and Apple when it hits stores next year.

"I don't see any need to create a new one with the three hundred or so on the market already," said Bartel of the decision to use existing hardware. "We have a refurbishment centre and we can bring in the product and preload certain games onto it. It's an Android device."

"We definitely have selected one," he continued. "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."

Our thought is that the tablet is a great immersive gaming device so it's hard for us to envision how that will really function without some sort of controller

Tony Bartel, GameStop

Tests began on the hardware two weeks ago, with consumers in Dallas, Texas the first to get hands-on with the device - close to the company's beta testing site for the streaming technology it bought from Spawn Labs.

Although the product will initially have a modest selection of mobile games, GameStop intends to stream console games to the device and ship a dedicated controller for the experience.

"There's not a lot of tablet/android based games for the consumer that are designed to use an external controller," Bartel told GamesIndustry.biz. "There are a few games out there and more that are coming, but our thought is that the tablet is a great immersive gaming device so it's hard for us to envision how that tablet will really function as such without some sort of controller.

"So we've created a controller that we're testing to really allow for immersive gameplay. 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.

Bartel said that GameStop is following the consumer lead on cloud gaming, and although services like Gaikai and OnLive have already demonstrated World of Warcraft and AAA games on tablets, he thinks it's a little too early for the best consumer experience. He also hinted that the retailer could work directly with developers on creating games that use a specific controller and stream to the GameStop tablet.

"I know people have tried it and shown it, but it isn't a great, immersive experience for the customer. Once it is, I think that's really exciting. As it stands now, I think we're seeing developer interest in developing immersive games that use the controller as well, but our first foray is to really be working with developers to create an install base of devices with the controller to allow them to develop immersive games.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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