One month ago, I wrote an article about the state of multiplayer gaming on our smartphones. I asked whether or not it would ever really take off, or if it was destined to just be something to pass the time here and there. The higher-ups at GameStop seem to think that mobile gaming has a real foothold ready to use, because the brick-and-mortar video game retailer is ready to jump into the technological business, and start a whole new era to their dynasty. Part of that, GameStop plans on launching a gaming service for multiple mobile devices, and they even have plans to bring a tablet to market sometime in the future, too.
As of right now, if you want to have a mobile gaming experience that’s really worth anything, and you don’t feel like buying one of the mobile video game consoles that’s available from Sony or Nintendo, then Apple’s iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad are the real purveyors of the market. There are games to be played on Android-powered devices, sure, but Apple’s been making a heavy play for mobile gaming since the launch of the App Store, and nothing seems to be slowing them down.
But, considering GameStop’s longtime presence in the video game industry, there’s a real chance here that someone, sometime in the future, could indeed dethrone Apple as the mobile gaming king. I think the question I have, and the question that a lot of people probably have, is whether or not GameStop should focus on building a proprietary tablet themselves, with their own branding on board, or if a software standpoint should be taken.
The executives at GameStop confirmed that they would consider building a tablet if they feel like they could do a better job of making a tablet. Of course, what they would be basing that off is anyone’s guess. A better tablet than Apple’s iPad 2? Or a better tablet than Motorola’s XOOM? Or maybe even LG’s T-Mobile G-Slate. There are definite contenders out there, but the software side of things is where things could really change. I think, if GameStop wants to become a real technology company and start focusing on the digital end of things, then perhaps just developing an app, or a digital storefront where games/apps can be downloaded for cheap (and with more games to choose from) would be a better idea.
If GameStop were to focus on the software, though, there main competitor would be Apple, and that’s a huge juggernaut to go against. It would take a pretty vast (and cheap) game library to go up against what Apple’s already got going, and what they’ll have in the future by the time GameStop gets around to this. On the flip-side though, if GameStop developed the tablet from the ground up, and then figured out a way to get games on them as well (physical media plus digital media?), then that would be going up against Sony and Nintendo directly.
It’s an interesting position that GameStop is putting themselves in, that’s for sure, but it’s one that the consumer, especially those who are looking for a better mobile gaming experience, will benefit from. Would you buy a GameStop-branded tablet? Or would you prefer GameStop to focus more on the digital side of things? Let me know in the comments below what you think of GameStop’s future plans.