GameStop May Develop Tablet Device
Considering that Amazon introduced Kindle and Barnes & Noble
rolled out Nook to spur e-book sales, it probably shouldn’t seem crazy that
GameStop is considering developing its own tablet computer for gamers.
Bartel, president of GameStop, told Gamasutra this week, "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. But, if we
can’t find one that’s great for gaming, then we will create our own."
Bartel said tablet devices represent "the next explosion in the gaming
Mr. Bartel’s revelation was something of an aside to the news
that GameStop had purchased the digital distribution service Impulse along
with Spawn Labs, a streaming service that offers, according to the Technologizer website,
a "Slingbox-like" device that allows consumers to broadcast video
games to personal computers and PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, and GameCube. It
is not compatible with Wii.
"Our customers are beginning to consume games in a hybrid manner, both
physical and digital, so we are becoming a hybrid company to meet their needs," Mr.
Bartel told Gamasutra. "Both of these programs are designed to
sell more of the games we sell today."
GameStop plans to work with internet-enabled
television makers to offer the service, but the initial focus will be on tablet
"We really believe that’s a chance for us to lead the tablet playing field," Mr.
Bartel told Gamasutra. "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."
"GameStop management is doing just about everything right," Michael
Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, told CNBC. "Both acquisitions
[enhance] the overall level of GameStop service, allowing it to better retain
its high value customers over the long term."
One of the reasons GameStop
chose to acquire Impulse was because it felt the service would be able to integrate
its PowerUp rewards program. According to CNBC,
over eight million have signed up for the program over the past eight months
with five million paying $15 per month for GameStop’s "pro service." The
chain expects to reach up to 15 million members by the end of the year.
members spend $65 more on average than non-members at GameStop and shop the
chain twice as often.
"PowerUp [is] the new ‘secret sauce,’" Colin Sebastian, an analyst
with Lazard Capital Markets, told CNBC. "We believe [the program]
can help GameStop remain differentiated in the retail market, as well as provide
a conduit for jump-starting future digital initiatives."
- GameStop Announces Acquisition of Spawn Labs and Agreement to Acquire Impulse,
Inc. – GameStop Corp./Business Wire
- GameStop Maps Out Digital Plans – CNBC
- Interview: Tony Bartel On GameStop’s New Digital Strategy – Gamasutra
- GameStop Mulls a Tablet, Will Soon Buy Yours – Technologizer
- Spawn: It’s SlingBox for Your Console Games – Technologizer
- GameStop planning iOS-like digital distribution, iPad-like game tablet – Apple
Discussion Questions: What do you think about GameStop’s digital initiatives and its potential move into manufacturing its own tablet device? Do you agree that tablets represent the next big thing in gaming?