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GameStop planning iOS-like digital distribution, iPad-like game tablet

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Video game retailer GameStop is eyeing iOS-like digital distribution and may build an iPad-like gaming tablet in an effort to ward off suffering the same fate as Blockbuster, Borders and other physical media retailers which appear headed out of business.

GameStop currently sells new and used video games from 6,500 retail outlets around the globe, with nearly half of its revenues coming from the resale of used video games. But the future of video games appears to mirror that of movies, books and music, all of which have seen physical media recede in importance as digital downloads rapidly erode former empires.

In an interview with Gamasutra, GameStop president Tony Bartel stated, "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."

However, Bartel also acknowledged, "we really don't anticipate we're going to have a model [for digital] where people can trade a game back in," meaning that the inevitable shift to digital distribution would demand significant changes in the firm's business model.

Going digital, developing tablet hardware

To make headway in digital distribution, GameStop has acquired Stardock's Impulse digital distribution service and streaming technology firm Spawn Labs, which is still testing its service privately. GameStop is also experimenting with tablet trade-in programs at a small number of its retail stores, and is examining the prospects of building its own gaming tablet.

"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," Bartel said, "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."

GameStop's digital future sounds like Apple's iPad launch last year, when the company introduced the world's first popular tablet system. A very large proportion of the iPad's 65,000 unique titles are games, part of a digital distribution gaming model Apple began developing in 2006 with the release of iPod games within the iTunes Store.

Apple added the iPhone App Store in 2008, followed by the release of the iPod touch, which the company has nearly dedicated to handheld gaming. The launch of iPad has created even greater waves in the gaming industry, something many of Apple's competitors appear to prefer not to talk about directly.

One top game developer noted that its iPad launch last fall exceeded unit sales and revenues for not just game console digital stores such as Nintendo's WiiWare, Sony's PlayStation Network, and Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, but also trounced its PC launch via Valve's Steam gaming network.

iOS, of which the gaming industry speaks not

Gamasutra described Steam as being "the digital industry's 500 lb. gorilla," and Bartel agreed that "you can't walk into the digital space without tripping over Steam," but both parties of the interview deftly avoided direct mention of Apple's iOS platform or the iPad, making only passing comment of the what has become the gaming industry's euphemism for iOS: "the 99 cent model that Nintendo has so famously derided."

Nintendo executives have taken a dismissive attitude toward the iPad since its launch. Last year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told the Associated Press that Apple's then-new iPad was simply "a bigger iPod touch," saying he was "totally unimpressed."

Iwata's firm had just released the Nintendo DSi XL, a new version of its DS distinguished by being bigger (albeit using the same screen resolution as previous models), a feature Iwata said resulted in a "portable system that can be enjoyed with people surrounding the gamer."

More recently, Iwata stated in his keynote address at last month's Game Developers Conference that "the objectives of smartphones and social-network platforms are not at all like ours. Their goal is just to gather as much software as possible, because quantity is what makes the money flow. Quantity is how they profit. The value of video-game software does not matter to them."

Iwata later commented, "when I look at retailers, and I see the $1 and free software, I have to determine that the owner doesn't care about the high value of software at all. I fear our business is dividing in a way that threatens the continued employment of those of us who make games."

Nintendo's DSi Shop, the equivalent of the iOS App Store for its mobile gaming devices, lists a catalog of 343 digital download titles that range from $2 to $8. Disney Interactive's "Jelly Car" is $5, while PopCap Game's "Plants vs Zombies" is $8. iOS versions of the same games are 99 cents and $3, respectively, for the iPhone version, or $3 and $7 respectively for iPad-optimized "HD" versions.

Nintendo lists another 1,175 physical games for the DSi available via retail, which are usually priced between $15 and $40, which represent the cartridges that GameStop resells used to generate the largest segment of its revenues.
post #2 of 23
HEAD->DESK

Why in the world does anyone think people will buy a Gamestop tablet for games, when they can get a $499 iPad which does a whole lot more, and has a much larger game library?

If its Android, then why does anyone think game devs will develop for Gamestop's Android tablet as opposed to all the millions of other android tablets on the market?
post #3 of 23
AhahahhHAAHAHAHAHAhahha ha ha ha ha ahahaha HAAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!

Yeah...... Good luck with that Gamestop.... idiots...
post #4 of 23
Isn't this more Amazon/Kindle-like than Apple/iPad-like?
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

HEAD->DESK

Why in the world does anyone think people will buy a Gamestop tablet for games, when they can get a $499 iPad which does a whole lot more, and has a much larger game library?

If its Android, then why does anyone think game devs will develop for Gamestop's Android tablet as opposed to all the millions of other android tablets on the market?

The only reason I can think of is that Gamestop has physical stores, where a game dev might see their game advertised to a focused audience.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

The only reason I can think of is that Gamestop has physical stores, where a game dev might see their game advertised to a focused audience.

Damn, if only Apple had PHYSICAL STORES frequented by a FOCUSED AUDIENCE.
post #7 of 23
I presume a tablet from Gamestop would have a standardized physical controller of some kind, something Apple doesn't seem to want. It would go a LONG way to attracting game devs. On the other hand, it would be a hard, hard sell at this point. Huge advantages with going with a mature and polished iPad with so many other uses than games.

If anything I hope all this talk gives Apple a little push to at least acknowledge iOS game enthusiasts who want more than the touch screen for controls. Not sure how to make it still feel Apple designed, slick, and universal, but I still want it, myself.

In the meantime, it's iCade, I guess.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridley182 View Post

Damn, if only Apple had PHYSICAL STORES frequented by a FOCUSED AUDIENCE.

I think the OP meant focused on games and gaming, something Apple isn't.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridley182 View Post

Damn, if only Apple had PHYSICAL STORES frequented by a FOCUSED AUDIENCE.

You need to read the post I was responding to. Apple stores have nothing to do with whether or not Android game devs will prefer the Gamestop device over other Android devices.
post #10 of 23
This fail failed before it even started.

and not for nothing, but it's hard to figure out which fail is harder- gamestops impending one, or most of the posters responses in here.
post #11 of 23
It always surprises me when articles like this about digital distribution of games compare any potential new products to Apple's store. Why is the comparison not to Microsoft's XNA service, which delivered low cost (even free) tools to small developers and allowed them to publish games to Xbox Live Marketplace a long time before anyone had even heard of "App Store"?

Interesting World of Goo is highlighted here. You can bet the customers Gamestop is afraid of losing are not at all interested in anything like World of Goo.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Isn't this more Amazon/Kindle-like than Apple/iPad-like?

Yes, but not exactly. The problem is that when the Kindle entered the market, it was the only ereader (there were a few minor players). Also, there was a HUGE library already available.

The problem with this is:

1) Competition. Ridiculous competition from all sorts of devices, not just tablets.
2) Developers will need to build only for this. Unlikely to happen.
post #13 of 23
This is what I see...

Buying a "Game Tablet" is similar to buying a console from Game Stop's perspective. That would mean that it must be capable of playing high end games (Call of Duty, etc) that the large software houses create. These same software houses dislike GameStop for selling used games, in fact they have publicly claimed GameStop and others of hurting the gaming industry. I kinda see it as unlikely that these houses would build a special version of their games for a store they see as damaging to their business model. I find it much more likely that the publishers will push the console makers to provide ways to buy games digitally. (Think XBOX Live on steroids) I find it also likely that with digital distribution, the publishers will have a keger when GameStop goes belly up.
post #14 of 23
Stale and outdated business model. They are slowly going out of business. This idea will take huge amounts of money, require expertise which they don't have and will definitely fail. They will go out with a huge bang.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

HEAD->DESK

Why in the world does anyone think people will buy a Gamestop tablet for games, when they can get a $499 iPad which does a whole lot more, and has a much larger game library?

If its Android, then why does anyone think game devs will develop for Gamestop's Android tablet as opposed to all the millions of other android tablets on the market?



Does it come with a kilo of pot to numb the brain so much you forget it's not an iOS Device?

This man will see his job axed sooner, rather than later.
post #16 of 23
Dumb idea. They are about doing this at a time when even some of the best in the market cannot compete with the Apple iPad. Why won't they learn some lessons here and try and take advantage and jump on board what Apple has to offer. They stand to gain more by developing apps for the Apple iOS and Android platforms.
post #17 of 23
I would think that Gamestop would need to look to another model for survival - perhaps the Netflix model - my son has a PS3 which he loves - and the games he plays will never have the experience duplicated on an iOS device - the games are different - they use more advanced controllers - they make use of the biggest screen in the house... While I love the .99 cent games - the $60.00 ones are a huge business that isn't going away - but the hard copy of that game is going away - and it is hard to keep a brick and mortar location alive when the commerce is being done over the air.... I think it is a mistake of epic proportions to try and create a new platform and compete withn Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft - they have deep pockets - the smart manager would just realize the inevitable and start moving to the cloud....
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post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

It always surprises me when articles like this about digital distribution of games compare any potential new products to Apple's store. Why is the comparison not to Microsoft's XNA service, which delivered low cost (even free) tools to small developers and allowed them to publish games to Xbox Live Marketplace a long time before anyone had even heard of "App Store"?

Interesting World of Goo is highlighted here. You can bet the customers Gamestop is afraid of losing are not at all interested in anything like World of Goo.

Well for starters, because "articles like this" are on AppleInsider, and not WindowsWorld.

Second, XNA is not relevant to mobile gaming, and the premier App Store is run by Apple, not Microsoft. XBLA might predate the App Store, but only for gamer tags and videos. Microsoft added Games on Demand in late 2009, well over a year after the iPhone App Store hit pay dirt (and years after Apple began marketing iPod games in 2006). Xbox indie games launched in late 2008, also after the App Store.

Xbox games are also around $10-30, and there's a library of about 450 titles. So don't get to riled up about Microsoft pioneering the downloads market for games.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Iwata's firm had just released the Nintendo DSi XL, a new version of its DS distinguished by being bigger (albeit using the same screen resolution as previous models), a feature Iwata said resulted in a "portable system that can be enjoyed with people surrounding the gamer."

Just released? The DSi XL has been out for at least a year now
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

Just released? The DSi XL has been out for at least a year now

Quote:
Last year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told the Associated Press that Apple's then-new iPad was simply "a bigger iPod touch," saying he was "totally unimpressed."

Iwata's firm had just released the Nintendo DSi XL

The second paragraph is related to the first, and therefore maintains the same tense of "last year."

Also dogpiling on GameStop here for the imminent failure, developers are abandoning Impulse now that GameStop has bought them.
post #21 of 23
You are underestimating Game Stop. Personally, I refuse to do any business with them because I think they are a huge rip off and treat their employee's like crap. Go buy your games at Target, Wal-Mart, or Best Buy.

Soccer moms and grandparents will buy what ever crap tablet Game Stop puts out. I suggest we all boycott game stop.
post #22 of 23
Not a bad idea actually. Hopefully they'll do the smart thing and base it on android. Then they'll really make money when they intro the subscription service via app for iPad.

I'd pay $5-10 mo to play some more games like dead space and real racing 2 because honestly those are the only serious games I'd play.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

HEAD->DESK

Why in the world does anyone think people will buy a Gamestop tablet for games, when they can get a $499 iPad which does a whole lot more, and has a much larger game library?

I too agree on this point but this companies tries to release products whatever they get idea but this is waste in producing.some unknown people buy those things if they are interested in games.
from my thoughts this technics has been applied similarly to Tvs like in an lg tv games have been provided but the games really worse than normal game LOL
suresh
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suresh
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