Perhaps realizing that re-selling other people’s boxed games wasn’t exactly a sustainable business model, GameStop decided a few months back that it was going to try selling devices as well. The iPhone and iPad can be bought there, and your games can be traded in credit for them as well. But what have they been missing, and what have their customers undoubtedly been clamoring for? Android tablets!
Shortly after they announced they’d be inviting Apple into their stores, they announced that they were working with a device maker to bring a GameStop-branded Android tablet out as well. Hardcore gamers trembled with delight. And now their day has come!
All right, I kid. People aren’t actually very excited about this kind of thing. In fact, as one commenter succinctly put it in September, “there’s 2 things that gamers hate the most: tablet games, and gamestop.” And it’s true. The gaming chain has a history of enraging gamers with poor customer service, shady business practices, and generally just not being as good as Steam.
Back in September, GameStop said “We definitely have selected [a tablet manufacturer].” As it turns out, they’ve selected three, if the WSJ’s sources are to be trusted. The “specialized” tablets will be by Asus, Acer, and Samsung. How specialized can they really be if three competing companies are making them? They’ll sell at full price in-store with a set of seven free games, the quality of which I question (Android games haven’t impressed me thus far). Though they do have out of the box support GameStop’s new controller for tablets… which you have to buy separately.
The people who buy Android tablets aren’t gaming fans, they’re Android fans. And the people who go into GameStop aren’t Android fans, they’re gaming fans. And furthermore, they’re not going to buy a tablet at GameStop because they know they can buy it for $100 less on Amazon or Best Buy. And they’re not going to buy it at GameStop because they don’t go to GameStop to spend $500 on a tablet. For that money they could buy a 360, a PS3, and a Wii (check!), with money left for a game or two.
Luckily they’re only rolling this new feature out to a few of their thousands of stores. Unless one of those pilot stores is by you, I don’t think you’ll get the chance to pick up that Galaxy Tab gaming rig you’ve been panting over.