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The word “gamer” is thrown around a lot these days, especially when it comes to the never-ending battle between those who identify themselves as “hardcore” and those who identify themselves as “casual.” But what the heck is a “hybrid” gamer?
According to GameStop president Tony Bartel, the hybrid gamer is a consumer who is spending just as much money and time on digital games as they are with traditional boxed retail copies. This is exactly the type of person they’re targeting with Thursday’s announcement that GameStop is now taking preorders for the 16 GB flavor of Google’s upcoming tablet, the Nexus 7. By selling this device at its stores, GameStop is endorsing hybrid gaming and tablets in a big away.
Featuring a 7-inch display at 1,280 x 800 resolution and running on Asus tablet hardware, the device was revealed earlier this week at the Google I/O conference to much fanfare. Set to release in mid-July, preordering the tablet at GameStop will net customers a free digital copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, as well as a $25 credit for Google Play — Google’s online shop of digital content that includes games, movies, TV shows, and music. While GameStop started offering Android tablets in a select number of stores since May, the devices are now accepted for trade in all U.S. locations.
“[Tablets] are growing as a gaming platform,” Bartel said in an interview with GamesBeat. “We’re making these devices more affordable [with our trade-in program], where their trade dollars, most being [in-store] credit, is generally spent back in the store that same day.”
This isn’t the company’s first foray into the mobile devices market: Last year, GameStop began accepting trade-ins for iPads, iPhones, and iPods. And according to Bartel, their mobile electronics business has grown tremendously since then. Coupled with the offering of the Nexus 7, GameStop’s trade program has expanded to accept 47 different types of Android tablets, including the Kindle Fire.
“We have a good relationship with Google, and we’re the only major retailer that carries Android-based tablets…and we want to get [these products] in front of our consumers,” said Bartel, when asked why the company is embracing the Google-branded tablet in particular. “We expect our [mobile market] to grow from $150 million to $200 million in sales this year.”
Like consoles and video game titles, the number of preorders determines how many Nexus 7 tablets are in each store. Bartel says they’ve already seen “strong reservation demand” for the new device, but promises that GameStop will be “constantly” working with Asus to make sure those demands are met.