By M.H. WilliamsGameStop, already riding high on its used game sales, has been consistent in diversifying its offerings. The company previously purchased social game network Kongregate, started selling downloadable content and add-ons in stores, and recently purchased digital download store Impulse and game streaming service Spawn Labs. Now the company is setting its sights on what it believes to the next frontier: tablets.
GameStop has already started accepting trade-ins on tablets in five test stores in Dallas, Texas. The next step is a full roll-out with tablets being sold in every store with games provided by Kongregate, Impulse, and Spawn Labs. GameStop realises that Apple’s iPad is the leader in the market, but the company is ready to compete, even if it has to build its own device.
“If we can work with our partners and the OEMs and they come up with a great table 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,” said GameStop President Tony Bartel [via Gamasutra]. “But if we can’t find one that’s great for gaming, then we will create our own.”
GameStop hopes to find a middle ground in price between the $60 triple-A title and the 99 cent mobile game. Unfortunately, digital trade-ins won’t be a part of the plan.
“Our whole premise is there are a lot of people caught up in the 99 cent fray and a lot of people are frustrated by that. 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,” said Bartel. “Someone needs to offer those games, and that’s something GameStop will be the leader in doing.”
“We really don’t anticipate we’re going to have a model [for digital] where people can trade a game back in.”
From a business standpoint, it does seem like GameStop is making all the right moves. It will be interesting to see if the company can use its pull to make Impulse a real competitor to Valve’s Steam, while also making Spawn Labs into a service that will rival OnLive and Gaikai.