American video game retail giant GameStop has announced an aggressive plan for its digital distribution services. Rather than starting from the ground up, the company has purchased Impulse, an existing digital download service, and Spawn Labs, a streaming games service. While Impulse will be the bread and butter of GameStop's online strategy, Spawn Labs will provide consumers with the option to test-drive any game before they buy.
In an interesting move, while GameStop will offer both PC and console games on its download and streaming services, it also intends to release or partner on a tablet on which consumers can play games downloaded from GameStop, à la Amazon's Kindle. From the article:
"Our whole premise is there are a lot of people caught up in the 99 cent fray and a lot of people frustrated by that," [says Tony Bartel, GameStop president]. "We really believe that's a chance for us to lead the tablet playing field."
"If we can work with our partners and the OEMs and they come up with a great table that is enabled with a great gaming experience and coupled with a bluetooth controller, then there's no need to go out and develop our own," he says. "But if we can't find one that's great for gaming, then we will create our own."
Further, members of GameStop's Power Up service will be able to download copies of any games they have purchased already on the upcoming digital distribution service.
The company projects it will pull in $1.5 billion US per year by 2014 through its digital arm, which should go a long way toward allaying its investors fears over the future of physical retail locations. After all, in the era of Steam, Live, and the iPhone, it can only be a matter of time before retailers see the writing on the wall.
[via: IT World]