Gamestop Gaming Tablets Live, Billed as 'A New Way to Game'
Gamestop's gaming tablets went live today with three offerings ranging in price from $329 to $538.
The tablets themselves are the Acer iConia Tab A100 ($329), ASUS Eee Pad Transformer ($399), and the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 ($499). All of these tablets house a NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor and 1GB of system memory. What makes these tablets different from their non-Gamestop counterparts is basically nothing.
According to Gamestop "each tablet has been enhanced by GameStop to include 6 free digital games, a Digital Game Informer link and the Kongregate Arcade app!" The games included with the purchase: Deadspace, Sonic CD, Monster Madness, Cordy, Riptide GP, Re-Load. I'm familiar with two of those games. Also, the devices are "Gamestop controller compatible." If users want they can bundle their purchase with a $40 Gamestop tablet gaming controller, which looks eerily similar to a regular controller.
The only way this resembles a new or better way to game is if someone attached the tablet they purchased to the back of a friend who walks in front of them wherever they go. The whole point of tablets and iPhones and iPads is mobile gaming. By marketing a traditional controller as the "go-to" accessory Gamestop is throwing these tablets into the home console market. These devices can in no way compete with the console gaming experience. Someday, via AirPlay Mirroring and major advancements in mobile computing, tablets could possibly compete with home consoles or PCs, but not now.
Even worse, whoever gave the okay to launch the page on Gamestop's site needs to double-check the tech specs for the tablets. Both the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer descriptions list their LCD's as 7-inch screens. They have 10-inch displays. The Acer Iconia A100 has a 7-inch display. Also, in one description the Iconia has 8GB of internal storage, and in another it has 16GB. Which is it?
Gamestop's attempt to hedge their bets against the eventual death of physical media looks sloppy. The day will come when Gamestop can no longer sell used games because we'll all be downloading our content, but this isn't the solution. I suggest Gamestop ride the horse they're on till it dies instead of wasting resources creating a market for something that wasn't selling already.
There is one saving grace though. People interested in an Android tablet have no excuse not to buy one from Gamestop. They get six free games. That's value-added.