GameStop to offer Android gaming tablets this holiday season

by Kristen Nicole

Android’s open platform has incurred countless devices, all flooding the market. But the gaming industry is helping some manufacturers set themselves apart. With a lucrative gaming sector drawing in advertisers, in-app purchases and virtual goods, mobile gaming has created a sub-market all its own. There’s a growing number of gadget makers looking to put their stamp on Android devices. Video game retailer GameStop, for instance, will soon sell Android tablets as part of an effort to expand its device offerings.

Just in time for the holiday season, GameStop’s family of specialized tablets will come from manufacturers Asustek, Acer and Samsung. They’ll be pre-loaded with a handful of games, including EA titles like Madden NFL. The Android-powered game tablets will also become distribution channels for GameStop’s own mobile app store, Kongregate Arcade. The game store was an early initiative for GameStop as it felt its way into the mobile realm, and only gains potential with a concentrated effort around GameStop devices. The tablets will be priced around $400 to $500, which could be an issue for the retailer if it hopes to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire, also primped with a gaming marketplace.

Sony looks to Android for PlayStation distribution

Sony is another company anxious to cash in on Android’s gaming potential. In an effort to control more of its mobile offerings, Sony is paying Ericsson about $1.5 billion for its half of the Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications joint venture. Their devices have pretty much always been media-centric, but Sony really began to realize its mobile promise with the Xperia PLAY launch. The device was designed for true gamers, with familiar button placement and optimized graphics support. The Xperia PLAY has also become a distribution channel for the Sony PlayStation network, closing the loop for Sony’s mobile and gaming offerings.

Sony also hopes its PlayStation Suite will help sell more Android devices in the future, extending beyond the Xperia PLAY to include the Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P. But the company may be looking even further, as Sony executive deputy president Kazuo Hirai shares their plans beyond Sony devices.

“That’s the beauty of Android,” Hirai says. “We’re in discussions with non-Sony companies to bring them on board. We’ll make those announcements when it’s time to go public with it. This is not just for Sony devices.”