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GameStop opts for existing Android tablet design as its own-brand hardware is readied for 2012 launch

Will come with external controller

GameStop opts for existing Android tablet design as its own-brand hardware is readied for 2012 launch
If Nintendo's Wii U unveiling left the industry a mite confused, GameStop's tablet-console hybrid has the potential to flummox even the most well versed.

The new device, first hinted at back in April, is set to combine the tablet form factor with console appeal, delivering the kind of big budget games consumers are used to playing on their TV via a range of peripherals, such as control pads.

Rather than work on a proprietary platform, the US retail giant has revealed its tablet will run Android, with the device to be sold alongside consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo as well as iPad, when it launches in 2012.

No hard launch

Arguably more interesting, however, is the news that GameStop has picked an existing hardware design to carry its move into the market.

The as-yet unnamed tablet will, in president Tony Bartel's words, be dubbed as a 'GameStop-certified gaming platform'.

"I don't see any need to create a new one with the three hundred or so on the market already," said Bartel.

"We have a refurbishment centre and we can bring in the product and preload certain games onto it. It's an Android device.

"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."

Building on Xperience

Bartel gave no hint as to just when the tablet will be unveiled, but confirmed it's already in testing, with the idea being developers will work on exclusive games for the system designed to take advantage of a control pad.

 

It's an approach that mirrors that of Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play, or OnLive's streaming service, which will also be backed by a Bluetooth gaming joypad. 

"There's not a lot of tablet/Android-based games for the consumer that are designed to use an external controller," admitted Bartel.

"There are a few games out there and more that are coming, but our thought is that the tablet is a great immersive gaming device so it's hard for us to envision how that tablet will really function as such without some sort of controller.

"So we've created a controller that we're testing to really allow for immersive gameplay."

[source: GamesIndustry.biz]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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