Earlier this year, GameStop said it would either find some tablets to sell or build its own. Now, the retailer has chosen option A, launching a handful of familiar Android tablets with some free games inside.
So far, the lineup includes the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Asus Eee Pad Transformer and Acer Iconia Tab A100. They’re available online and in 200 U.S. stores, according to Joystiq. The free games are Dead Space, Monster Madness, Riptide HD, Re-Load, Cordy and Sonic CD. GameStop is also pre-loading its Flash game portal Kongregate Arcade, and is selling a Bluetooth game controller for $39 extra.
The strategy seems a bit puzzling to me. When GameStop said it wanted to sell tablets, I assumed the retailer would use them as a foothold for selling downloadable games. GameStop owns its own digital distribution platform, Impulse, and also has some streaming technology from Spawn Labs that could allow tablets to stream high-end video games from consoles or PCs. Neither of those services are present in this first wave of Android tablets, or if they’re on board and in hiding, GameStop’s not saying so.
GameStop isn’t getting onto the tablet business just so it can sell Bluetooth game controllers. There must be more to the story than this. My guess is that whatever GameStop really has in mind isn’t ready yet, and these tablets are just filler–a way to sell more stuff to holiday shoppers until the real GameStop tablet is ready.