GameStop faces a rocky transition to the digital world. The company is already selling codes for digital downloads, but it appears it will take a giant step by release a GameStop-branded Android tablet. The tablet will focus on gaming (duh) and push titles that are certified by GameStop. According to Gamasutra:
The company also revealed today that it is set to launch its own brand of Android gaming tablet, which will be classed as a “GameStop certified gaming platform.”
If the company is going to get into the increasingly crowded tablet market then setting up its own ecosystem is definitely the way to go. HTC, LG, and Samsung make quality Android tablets, but haven’t made a splash at retail. This is partially because the tablet version of Android (Honeycomb) is immature and mostly because Honeycomb’s ecosystem isn’t as robust as Apple iOS’ tablet offerings.
Most pundits believe that Amazon’s upcoming Android tablet will do well because of its allegedly cheap price and rich ecosystem (Amazon App Store, Amazon Cloud Player, Amazon Instant Movies, etc.). I could see GameStop doing some damage with a younger audience by selling a similarly cheap Android tablet that focuses on gaming and a GameStop-branded social experience that brings players together.
Of course my big fear is this thing will use a customized version of Android that’s ugly as hell. GameStop has never been great with aesthetics. Its stores are ugly and its web site isn’t particularly attractive. I can see some GameStop marketing hack commanding designers to create an Android skin using the gaudy graphics and text found in GameStop stores. There are lots of sharp people at GameStop and I’d like to think that someone would be smart enough to try to steal the look of iOS or webOS…but marketing hacks often prevail.
What do you think of the prospects of a GameStop tablet powered by Android? What would GameStop need to do to help it succeed?