US games retailer GameStop has begun selling its own line of branded Android tablets via its website.
The tablets are from the upper end of the Android tablet market in both price and quality, with five tablets in total: The Viewsonic VPad 7 for $300, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, and Iconia Tab A500 for $400, the $500 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Motorola Xoom.
The following games are included with each GameStop tablet:
Earlier reports that the tablets would come with a version of Madden NFL are thus-far unfounded, at least by the on-site description of the tablets.
Otherwise, the tablets seem pretty much the same as their stock versions, with no changes as far as the hardware is concerned. Each does include Bluetooth, meaning you can pair with your Wii or PS3 controller to play the games without resorting to the touch screen, which as usual doesn’t quite do many games justice.
GameStop also hopes to sell specialised gaming controllers for the tablets, which are available as a bundle at the initial purchase or as a stand-alone item later.
One issue that might frustrate GameStop’s success is the lack of games on the Android tablet market, particularly those which are built to allow the use of a Bluetooth gaming controller such as the one they’re selling. The competiting iOS market is much more rich for games. On the Android marketplace, even popular titles are hard to find; Plants Versus Zombies is available only on the Amazon app marketplace.
GameStop is expected to invest heavily in cloud computing and online distribution as it attempts to remain relevant in the decline of brick and mortar stores, as evidenced by its recent purchases of Impulse, a digital distribution service comparable to Steam, and Spawn Labs, a developer of streaming technology.
GameStop are definitely looking to prove themselves a big player in the digital space. These tablets are the first step, so GameStop will be keen for them to succeed - even if it means selling them for cheaper than other retailers and offering more exclusive titles. It’ll be interested to see how they do.