Videogame retail chain GameStop (NYS: GME) confirms it is building a branded tablet powered by Google's (NAS: GOOG) Android mobile operating system, indicating the device will ship with multiple pre-installed titles and offer gaming updates delivered over-the-air.
"We're in test phase right now. But we're excited at the prospect of coming out with this tablet. I would call it a 'GameStop-certified gaming platform,'" GameStop President Tony Bartel tells GamesIndustry.biz. "We looked at all the tablets and these are the ones that really worked for gaming and we're going to give you a few benefits that you're not going to get elsewhere." Bartel adds that GameStop will also roll out an external controller designed to improve the gameplay experience, acknowledging that few existing Android titles were developed for use with external devices.
Earlier this year, GameStop-owned gaming site Kongregate introduced Kongregate Arcade, a browser-based Android gaming app giving users access to hundreds of free Flash-based titles. Google quickly removed the solution from its Android Market, contending it illicitly installed apps, but Kongregate Arcade soon returned to the storefront after series of tweaks better illustrating exactly how it functions.
GameStop's continued push into the mobile gaming segment corresponds with growing customer demand for gaming experiences across multiple digital platforms. Consumers across the U.S. spent $5.9 billion on videogame hardware, content and accessories in the first quarter of 2011, up 1.5 percent over the year-ago period, according to research firm NPD Group. While spending on new physical video and PC game software totaled $2.03 billion, consumers also spent $1.85 billion on mobile games, digital downloads, social gaming and other emerging segments.
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