After months of speculation GameStop, traditionally a brick-and-mortar-based video game retailer, has verified rumors that it is developing a gaming tablet. GameStop president Tony Bartel explained the company's plans to Gamesindustry.biz, saying the tablet—which will land in stores next year—will be a "GameStop-certified gaming platform" to be sold alongside mobile gaming devices from the likes of Nintendo and Sony.
The tablet itself will not be a brand-new device, but instead will be a repurposed version of an existing tablet. The reason for using an existing device, Bartel said, is that the company doesn't "see any need to create a new [tablet] with the 300 or so on the market already." He said GameStop will instead rely on its refurbishment center (which it uses to restore pre-owned games and video game systems) to pre-load games onto the tablet. Exactly which tablet GameStop will use has not been revealed.
In addition to offering pre-loaded games, GameStop intends to stream the latest console games to the tablet. A dedicated controller is also expected to ship with the device, since, as Bartel put it, "it's hard to imagine how to stream a game—let's say Modern Warfare 3—onto a tablet and then play with your finger."
Expect the streaming service to function similarly to the OnLive gaming system, which streams games directly to a dedicated device. The tablet should be a boon for fans of mobile gaming, since streaming games is far less demanding on a system than playing them natively. It will be interesting to see how well the quality of current high-def games translates to a tablet display.