In an interview with Bloomberg, GameStop President Sony Bartel announced that the company will be opening a new “mobile gaming arm” within its subsidiary Kongregate. Headed up by a former Zynga executive, we imagine GameStop will act as a publisher for several mobile games, and might even jump into the business of creating its own. Tony Bartel was never given a full opportunity to explain what, exactly, the gaming division would be doing so we’ll have to await further details.
In that same interview, Bartel revealed that the company would pledge $10 million in an initiative to help independent developers create interesting mobile games. GameStop will use the money to help developers at every step of the way, from the amount of ramen that will be eaten throughout the prototyping stages all the way through publishing and advertising the game throughout various channels. GameStop will leverage 50 million customers it can reach electronically and customers in nearly 7,000 of its stores to help push titles forward.
It’s important for the retailer to get solid footing in the mobile gaming realm as the used games market is expected to change quite a bit over the next few years. Game publishers are electing to ship their games with online access codes to thwart used sales, and console manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft have been thinking about different ways to ensure more people buy games new instead of used. Many of these ideas seem horrid, but they are only in patent form and it would be a huge risk for any of them to be implemented.
With analysts predicting mobile gaming will take a ton of attention from consoles in the future GameStop is doing everything it can to make sure it stays ahead of the curve. Offering Android tablets and iPads in its stores is one way it has gone about that, and today’s announcements should thrust GameStop into an even more favorable position to take advantage of the next big boom in gaming.