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GameStop To Build Its Own Gaming Tablet?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the company-destroying-optimism dept.

Handhelds 53

itwbennett writes "GameStop has been on a roll lately, purchasing both Impulse and Spawn Labs in the past week. Now it's ready to go after those casual gaming dollars, but first it needs to put a gaming tablet in your hands. GameStop President Tony Bartel told CNBC that his chain is going to start selling tablets later this year: '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.'"

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Will it run Linux? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741700)

(actually a legitimate question)

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35741728)

The more legitimate question is, "Will it run Battletoads?"

Re:Actually... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741758)

gb2/b/

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741732)

Yes but only if you pre-order.

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743950)

Argh, I knew someone would get to this joke before me.

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

kregg (1619907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741796)

No it will run Windows and have a battery life of 5 minutes (enough to show the desktop and start bar) and the weight of the table will help you build muscle tone.

Re:Will it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35741956)

No it will run Windows and have a battery life of 5 minutes (enough to show the desktop and start bar) and the weight of the table will help you build muscle tone.

So how did they manage to double the battery life?

Re:Will it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35741934)

Yes. But only for 2 years, then they will remove that ability and sue you if you try to put it back.

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742882)

So long as it doesn't appropriate the FBI to come raid my house and take away all my computing equipment as "evidence".

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742550)

More importantly: will it have buttons?

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35744334)

RTFS: '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,"

It says the same thing in TFA...

Even if the tablet does NOT have buttons, I'm pretty sure the controller will... Would be nice if could sync my PS3 controllers to it...

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742676)

A Linux-based gaming system would be pretty awesome.

There are a lot of great games available in the Ubuntu repos, and even more that aren't but can be run pretty easy. The biggest hurdle I have seen is that input is inconsistent between games. Sometimes the gamepad works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes a game uses few enough buttons, and sometimes you need to use the whole keyboard.

What really needs to be done to make it work is to choose the right hardware. A reasonably powerful CPU, a GPU that is good for gaming in Linux, bluetooth and usb with gamepads or remotes that work out of the box, and all of the games in the system's repos preconfigured to work with these gamepads.

For the main interface, a fork of XBMC with a game chooser menu, and a repo browser that lets you browse and install games easily.

Up to now this post doesn't mention a plan for making much money....

The solutions: Charge just above break-even on the main console, charge a profit on accessories, and add a micro-payment system for certain online games, and a general payment system for commercial games in the repos. Want new games? Don't bother going to the store, just find it, and buy it right there on your console. The easier it is to do, the more likely people are to do it.

Some other features could be having it preconfigured for easy integration with your Amazon media library, Pandora, Netflix, Vudu, etc. so people also have a media center that it is easy to buy and rent media with.

Re:Will it run Linux? (1)

starfire83 (923483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35754356)

Really, using a desktop OS on a tablet is cumbersome at best. Using Anroid or iOS or some kind of OS designed to use a touch-screen interface as well as accept bluetooth HID input would be the best bet for a tablet. Include in the packaging ( on the tablet itself) a kickstand or stand of some kind would be good, as well. Using a Tegra chipset and Android Honeycomb would probably be the easiest and cheapest entry into the tablet games, preferably with full Market access in a WiFi-only model. The design of the Wii clasic controller would be the best form factor for a small bluetooth controller. Hell, under CM7 and using an app from the Market, you can already do that. I do it on my rooted Nook Color on CM7 w/ tablet tweaks.

*snrk* (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741772)

GameStop? Really?

My only responses to this are disbelief and laughter.

Re:*snrk* (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743052)

You know, it wouldn't actually be that difficult for a company with GameStop's resources to pull it off. Bluetooth controllers and console emulators already work great on Android, and hardware is cheap. All you got to do besides slap a brand in it is skin up a rom.

Doesn't mean anybody would buy the thing, sure. But I bet if they sold them for around $100 they could sell a heap. Somebody is going to do it eventually.

Re:*snrk* (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743944)

But why would a pawn shop do it?

My question is will they actually stock any of these gaming tablets, or will they only sell them to you if you preordered?

Re:*snrk* (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743986)

Oh, and if you do get one new, will it have already been opened and played with by the people there and then repackaged and sold at full price?

Re:*snrk* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758732)

Gamestop has grown into much more than the used-game store. Recent purchases seem to indicate that someone in management at Gamestop has a clear vision. I'm researching now, but this might be worth keeping an open mind about.

Re:*snrk* (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35744720)

Gamestop could build a gaming tablet. The problem is whether they can sell one. Pricing and the ecosystem are the main drawbacks to Apple's competitors right now. Even companies like Motorola and Samsung who have experience building devices find that they are at a disadvantage competing with Apple on pricing alone. Then comes the added problem of games. Even though the iPad isn't dedicated to gaming, it already has a huge lead.

Re:*snrk* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35745892)

GameStop has one vital advantage over, say, Samsung, that they share with Apple: They have that integrated network of stores we've been hearing Apple crowing about so much, potentially allowing them to sell for MUCH cheaper than the Galaxy at the same profit margin.

If they were to, say, make a full Android OS tablet that supports Sony's Playstation Suite protocols, Flash, the Android App Store, and/or a custom market GameStop runs (say, using that oh-so-handy Kongregate brand), they could easily develop a situation where they've built THE go-to- gaming tablet - especially since they would also have the resources to purchase custom builds/ports of games of interest - and there's no way in hell they'd target only the casuals.

Convert the known-to-exist World of Warcraft Linux build into an Android app optimized for the - let's call it the Kong9000 just to use an existing brand I personally like - that allows a significant portion of the WoW experience to go? Or better, a tablet edition of Starcraft (1 or 2)? Imagine being able to command units by simply dragging them where you want them to go, with multitouch allowing you to do something even the fastest South Korean champions can't do - literally send two different groups in two different directions at the EXACT same time.

If there's one thing GameStop understands, it's the power of using several markets. A typical Android tablet with a specific store for optimized games and a few choice features could be, while not an iPad killer, certainly more than capable of being the PSP to the iPad's DS, comfortable in a nice niche with plenty of fun to be had for it's proponents.

Plus it'd finally allow them to put Angry Birds merchandise in the stores.I want to see what happens when some of the, shall we say, attention-derived employees have THOSE available to mess with.

Re:*snrk* (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35746066)

Gamestop has the retail advantage that Motorola or Samsung lack but I doubt it could compete with Apple on pricing because it lacks any manufacturing advantage. Remember these two companies have experience with building devices and how to cut manufacturing costs. Gamestop could build a device but it would be rather expensive as no one in the supply chain is going to give any discounts to a new bit player when they can give the same discount to a more established customer willing to buy more volume. As for gaming, yes there are some examples: my point is that "some" is not an ecosystem. You have to have hundreds if not thousands of games. This will take time. Is Gamestop willing to wait a few years to get this ecosystem,

Re:*snrk* (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743602)

I can't wait to go to gamestop and get my madcatzPad. Just like the iPad, but $10 cheaper and half the buttons don't work.

Because you know... (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741780)

...a company that excels at selling used games knows what it takes to build a tablet that can play games they have never sold.

And they can do it better and more cost-effectively than the dozens and dozens of companies that have at least announced Android tablets with a huge head start on Gamestop...namely, they have at least hollowed out a piece of plastic or metal and inserted piece of plexiglas into it to demonstrate how serious they are at entering the tablet market.

Re:Because you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35742826)

Well, first off, Gamestop wouldn't have to make money off of the tablet...they'll have the luxury of making money off of software sales/subscription after the initial purchase. Secondly, Gamestop will probably give specifications and design guidence to whatever manufacturer wins the bid to build this. Gamestop will probably get a great deal on them as well, seeing that this tablet will stand to sell much more than any other tablet the company is cooking up. This, in turn, will allow the company to buy more components in bulk to drive the price down for their own products.

So, it's really a winning situation for the manufacturer that wins the bid and, if it catches on, it will be a huge win for GameStop. If GameStop is smart, this could be the first non-iPad tablet that goes critical mass, especially if their streaming game service lives up to its potential.

Re:Because you know... (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742950)

Yeah, and a company that excels at niche-market computers knows what it takes to build a smartphone. And they can do it better and more cost effectively than the dozes and dozens of companies that have at least announced... Yeah, you're absolutely right.

Re:Because you know... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35744772)

Apple had experience with hardware and some experience with mobile devices in the form of iPods. GameStop has zero experience with hardware much less mobile devices. Also bear in mind even companies with tons of experience are not assured of success when it comes to making new products. Not that Gamestop can't overcome this but their obstacles are much higher than Apple.

Re:Because you know... (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758448)

Yes, of course gamestop isn't in in a very favorable position, and apple had a very good starting point to work from. But my point was just that it's unwise to completely dismiss a company just because it's entering a new market.

Re:Because you know... (1)

KingBenny (1301797) | more than 3 years ago | (#35775058)

i recently saw an iPad for the first time (they're pretty scarce back here in the shire). First thing that struck me is how small it was, the ads make it look much bigger really (i havent been interested in any apple products so far so i never payed attention). Second : what do you do with it when out of reach of an unprotected network? What do you play on that? tetris ? I dont get it, i get the concept of hype and compulsively buying what your neighbour, friend or collegue has, but wtf is with that padmania ?? I feel like such a mutant from mars again duh :|

Re:Because you know... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35744660)

Gamestop excels at selling used games? Gamestop excels at swindling ignorant parents, and that's about it.

Hrm (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741784)

Does anyone here think this will make it?

Tablet/Controller is too small to play with friends (unless everyone involved had their own and they just link up together for any/all games) and too large and bulky to play on the go. What's the absent niche that they hope to fill with this?

Re:Hrm (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741912)

No, but being able to play with friends is irrelevant-- it seems obvious that they're going for a casual, single-player or internet-enabled 'social' market rather than anything traditionally console-oriented.

I don't think this is going to work, because I don't think Gamestop has any idea what the Hell they're doing. A tablet's a bloody hefty investment for an end user, nevermind the costs for a developer who's basically admitted total inexperience in the market. Selling games through a modified Impulse storefront will require them to cut the same deals that Steam, and the Apple App Store, and the Android Store and everyone else has-- and they'll totally screw themselves if they end up using some completely off the wall architecture.

Re:Hrm (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742252)

I think they'd be better off making games for Android/iPhone. It's pretty obvious really.. making a decent bluetooth mobile gaming controller isn't that bad an idea, but there is no point at all making an actual tablet dedicated to gaming.

Re:Hrm (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35744304)

There's nothing in TFA about the size of the tablet.

I'm told that one of the nicest iPad games is an implementation of the Small World board game, designed to be played by two players facing each other with the iPad on a table.

That said, with the iPad existing, and a slew of Android tablets on their way, what can Gamestop bring to the table?

The only thing I can imagine is a DRM-laden platform which they sell below cost price, so they can make money on the games. Risky, in that it's bound to get hacked, and you might as well get an iPhone "free" on a cellphone contract.

Re:Hrm (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35745392)

They don't need to make one, since the iPad 2 is grat for gaming and supports Bluetooth pairing. As for size and friends, with the HDMI cable they can just plug the thing to a TV. All they need to do is convince apple to let them make a game app store with in app purchases and accept to loose the 30% Apple will be taking of sales.

price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35741790)

The main thing for the Gamestop demographic is price sensitivity. Gaming implies Tegra or powervr.

My guess is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35741802)

My guess is they'll do Android. While iOS is arguably better for games (more of a reasonable expectation of hardware for example) Android is actually a platform they could develop on. My guess is it'll end up being Tegra based, and they'll throw in some sort of optional off screen control system ala the PSPhone.

I hope they go for it. (0)

moogaloonie (955355) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741882)

I always thought of Gamestop as that company that screwed the industry by undercutting new game sales with used game sales, while simultaneously screwing the consumer by selling used games at too high a price yet giving their customers shite deals on trade-ins. Never thought they were good for the industry any more that your shady local/regional vending machine company that forces all their competition out of some given area but only owns no more than a handful of decrepit arcade machines rotating among every small business in their area. ("Hey Shady's replaced sped-up Ms. Pac-Man with Time Killers! Awesome!") So it would be cool IMHO to see them take a real stake in things. Please, Gamestop, make your own gaming tablet. (WTF do you know about that anyway?) My advice? Take a pinch of N-gage, a dash of 3DO and burn a black turtleneck.

Re:I hope they go for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35741970)

I always thought of Gamestop as that company that screwed the industry by undercutting new game sales with used game sales, while simultaneously screwing the consumer by selling used games at too high a price yet giving their customers shite deals on trade-ins. Never thought they were good for the industry any more that your shady local/regional vending machine company that forces all their competition out of some given area but only owns no more than a handful of decrepit arcade machines rotating among every small business in their area. ("Hey Shady's replaced sped-up Ms. Pac-Man with Time Killers! Awesome!")

So it would be cool IMHO to see them take a real stake in things. Please, Gamestop, make your own gaming tablet. (WTF do you know about that anyway?)

My advice? Take a pinch of N-gage, a dash of 3DO and burn a black turtleneck.

Honestly, I have the very counter view. i like being able to trade in my games for cash or credit the 10 day return policy for a full refund rocks socks and I sure like saving some cash by not buying new. I was almost sad that since I got Gamefly I would not be back to Gamestop with a tablet sure ill try it.

Re:I hope they go for it. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742838)

Honestly, I have the very counter view. i like being able to trade in my games for cash or credit the 10 day return policy for a full refund rocks socks and I sure like saving some cash by not buying new. I was almost sad that since I got Gamefly I would not be back to Gamestop with a tablet sure ill try it.

Gamestop is shit compared to Funcoland, which is now part of Gamestop. Funcoland was a fucking gamers' paradise compared to Gamestop. Gamestop is now discontinuing all 32 bit systems' used games. FUCK GAMESTOP. FULL STOP.

Re:I hope they go for it. (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742904)

This is likely just a mechanism to lock consumers into their store - I can't imagine it will allow you to buy and play games from anyone other than Gamestop (I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I suspect this will follow the PSPGo model, high prices due to vendor lock in). It's early days yet to start thinking this will be a net win for the customer, although I guess just having more competition in the market will be positive.

Re:I hope they go for it. (1)

Journe (1493651) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755934)

>used games at too high a price

It's...not like, y'know, a used car. The previous owner hasn't left a horrible smell in the disc and put crappy stickers all over it to boost horsepower. It's a game that someone else has played, which you are acquiring for less than the normal price. How can there be "too high" a price when you're paying less than full?

>shite deals on trade-ins
I'll concede that point. However, if you wait for their sales and are a subscriber to their rewards program (which, really, pays for itself when you consider it comes with a magazine subscription and a 'buy two, get one free' coupon, all for fifteen bucks', the fact that you don't make so much trading in really evens out.

Also, in response to drinkypoo:

>Gamestop is now discontinuing all 32 bit systems' used games.

You're either an idiot or a troll. Or both. So we're talking mainly Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, and Playstation. As in Playstation one. That's really all that needs to be said on that subject.

Coupled with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35741892)

A bluetooth controller?! How many hands does this require? Are you going to have to put the tablet on a stand to be able to use the controller?

What the hell?

Re:Coupled with... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742386)

Three. And if you preorder now and trade in your xbox, ps3, your car, toaster and house they'll throw in the genetic modification kit absolutely free!

Preorder Now! (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35741906)

Too bad you will only have access to the whole title list if you PREODER FROM GAMESTOP NOW. If you dont you just get games that didnt sell on the virtua boy.

I've been saying, iOS (and Android) + Dual Shock 3 (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742630)

Sony and Nintendo hang onto their franchises, they should let them be multiplatform, of course, they do that, and sales of their hardware HALVE instantly.

I like the Dual shock 3 controller, its bluetooth, it SHOULD work with iOS and Android devices. Sony should allow it to be used, surely its just a matter of "giving it a driver" in the Operating Systems, and game developers writing code for a Dual Shock 3 button layout?

You'd put your iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone... or Android devices on a surface, and use the controller. It would be perfect! An iPad for example, the second generation is "Xbox 360 power", without any fan, it runs on its battery, and its INCREDIBLY THIN. It would be better than "the real thing".

I dont at all mind "touchscreen gaming", however, yes, there are certain things that dedicated buttons do better, no kidding. If Sony wanted to somehow "license" the controller, charging a set amount to large game makers like Gameloft, well, we'd be complaining about it no doubt, "it should be free", it would be a revenue stream for them, with "the drivers" built in to the smartphones operating system, free for users.

Even if you didnt already have a PS3, or Dual Shock 3 controller, what would you rather have, some knockoff "iPlay 4000" bluetooth controller made from cheap white plastic, or use Sony's long established bluetooth controller, with motion sensing, vibration, trigger style buttons.... and that gamers likely already own!

Its win-win for everyone.

Re:I've been saying, iOS (and Android) + Dual Shoc (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742656)

That's why Sony created the Xperia Play - http://psp2roundup.blogspot.com/2011/04/xperia-play-adverts-they-keep-on-coming.html [blogspot.com] - does it all in one phone!

Re:I've been saying, iOS (and Android) + Dual Shoc (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35742732)

Wish I could mod you "funny" and post here too ;-)

Oh Sony! You mess EVERYTHING up! TV's, "LCD aint going nowhere!", music, "the kids dont want that emm peee free! They want a proprietary format, on tiny discs and made by SONY, we're cool, right?", to phones "yeah, who needs modern devices?"

The Xperia Play, that thing that got like, 6 out of 10 on Engadgets review? :-)

Nothing can compare to controls AWAY from the screen you're watching.

Internet (1)

moberry (756963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743012)

It's a legitimate idea. Video games will go the way of the DVD as well and be streamed over the internet. Business models will need to adapt.

Re:Internet (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743714)

It's a legitimate idea. Video games will go the way of the DVD as well and be streamed over the internet. Business models will need to adapt.

Maybe, but there will always be a portion of the population that will only buy physical copies of stuff from physical stores. I know it isn't rational at times but I've seen it happen. This is why there will still need to be stores like gamestop, so that these players can get their games.

OnLive next? (1)

tecker (793737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743210)

Why doesn't GameStop just buy OnLive and make a special tablet to play their service? Gamestop could promote this as a feature of the play tablet to allow play of many major titles on a portable device.

Sounds like a bad investment (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35743746)

I'd be surprised if they found success. As near as I can tell, Gamestop's only area of expertise is in acting as a middleman selling used product. I'm over-simplifying, but they basically have the same skill set as some guy on ebay or at a flee market with only a change in scale.

They appear to have no experience in actually producing or even marketing anything whatsoever. They have no experience designing/marketing/distributing consoles, phones, hand-held game devices, games or software. So we are to assume that they will compete in the chaotic and fast moving phone/tablet market against seasoned major hardware producers like Apple and seasoned software producers like Microsoft and Google. I don't think they understand the market they want to be in other than that it is currently hot and growing. They will not be up against lucky incompetents and they don't seem to be aware they are really late to the party.

Plus they have no marketing experience. The used games sales engine functions my latching onto the game and console producers own marketing like a parasite. They've never actually promoted their own products. There is also a negative legacy here. I think we can safely assume Gamestop will not be producing any appreciable amount of first party titles, meaning they will have to rely on other companies' software. I can't foresee them getting any exclusivity agreements from software companies that likely see them as a parasite that has been siphoning off their new game sales for years. Not with out piles and piles of cash.

They purchased a digital distribution company so I guess we can give them that they now have some experience in that. Although that company's focus was on the PC games market, a market that they abandoned long ago. If I had to guess, I'd say they will make little effective use of that. And I sort of doubt there is a talent pool available from that purchase to develop the things they need to develop.

I think they'll probably just take another company's tablet product, install some redundant and probably buggy download service on it along with a gamestop OS skin or something. It'll be the product equivalent of a wet fart, personally unpleasant but not enough people will know about it to be to embarrassing.

Gamestop has been hiring Windows Mobile Developers (1)

nitroscen (811508) | more than 3 years ago | (#35744212)

Gamestop hired several of my friends in Texas late last year - but they were all Windows Mobile 6 developers for enterprise stuff. Combine that with the fact you can develop for the XBox and Windows Mobile 7 in the same solution, and it seems like that is where they will go. I hope it works out for them.. but I don't have high expectations of Windows Mobile 7.

It's not going to be relevant out of the US. (1)

DaVince21 (1342819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35755860)

Never heard of GameStop until I started visiting /. so why should I exactly care as a foreigner? At least iPads and Android-powered tablets are much more widely available.

In fact, why do we really need a gaming tablet when current tablets could surely get some add-ons that allow for better gaming? An external Bluetooth device was mentioned, couldn't this work with existing tablets?

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