GameStop starts tablet plans

Retailer could manufacture own device
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US games retailer GameStop has boldly stated its aims for the tablet market, and could step into the manufacturing process itself.

Last week the retailer bought two games download technology companies – Spawn Labs and Impulse – part of a plan to stream games straight to consumers and become a significant name in the tablet space.

“Our customers are beginning to consume games in a hybrid manner, both physical and digital, so we are becoming a hybrid company to meet their needs,” Tony Bartel, president of GameStop, told CNBC.

The Spawn Labs program will enable consumers to try before they buy on-screen. GameStop is talking to television manufacturers about internet-enabled televisions, but the focus will be on tablets.

Bartel commented: “Our whole premise is there are a lot of people caught up in the 99 cent fray and a lot of people frustrated by that. We really believe that’s a chance for us to lead the tablet playing field.”

Some GameStop stores have started to trial customers trading in tablets, and the chain will start selling tablet hardware later in the year. But it may also go one big step further than that and launch its own device.

Bartel said: “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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