GameStop has announced that its game streaming service will be launching in summer 2013, but at least at first, it won't be available on consoles. Dubbed "Spawn," GameStop has been talking about this cloud gaming service ever since it bought Spawn Labs back in 2011. Obviously, GameStop means to expand beyond brick and mortar retail with this move, challenging other streaming services like OnLive and Gaikai while dipping its hand in a broader range of markets in the process.
It's a smart move, especially now that GameStop is selling Android tablets and physical retail sales seem to be on the decline. As GameStop watches the market for used tablets increase, it can hit consumers with the double-whammy of offering a steaming service to go along with their freshly-purchased tablet. Spawn will also be available on PCs and Internet-connected TVs, but as stated above, it will be deviating from the original plan and skipping consoles.
Hearing GameStop president Tony Bartel explain it in an investor call, it seems that GameStop may be waiting for the next generation to arrive before offering Spawn on consoles. He also says that the decision to go with a "PC-based model" came from consumer feedback and the company's newfound success in selling tablets. So, there may be hope for consoles eventually, but definitely not anytime around the launch of Spawn.
We're pretty interested to see where GameStop goes with this one. Throughout the last few years, we've seen GameStop change its strategy dramatically, and now it's looking to make tablets an integral part of its business. Will it be able to stand with the big boys in game streaming? That remains to be seen. Stay tuned for more details.