A couple of things in that title are likely to have raised a few eyebrows: firstly the term ‘affordable console’, something we don’t often associate with names like Microsoft and Sony so it must be something new. Secondly the fact that it’s launched in Brazil; when was the last time that a new console was launched in Brazil first?
Well this is a very different type on console, and something that we haven’t really seen before. It’s called the Zeebo and it has been made by Brazilian manufacturer Tectoy and it aims to bring seventh generation gaming into the developing emerging countries (notably Brazil, Russia, India and China [or BRIC] ).
It intends to do this through a combination of the technology that we see in our consoles at home (the PS3 and the like) and an affordable price tag: it has been released in Brazil for just £140 and games will only cost about £7 and can be downloaded over a 3G wireless games delivery system, yet another example of digital games distribution.
But perhaps the most interesting thing about this is the host of big names that it has got on board to help break into the emerging markets; EA, Activision, Namco, Sega and id Software are all names on the list of companies that have invested in this project and this can only help its popularity and sales within the BRIC countries.
The console comes with four games already installed (including FIFA 2009 Soccer and Need for Speed Carbon) with Quake available as a free download. Although the list of games currently available is small (only 15 excluding the ones you get free) they do include titles like Resident Evil 4, Tekken 2 and Virtua Tennis 3 and the range is set to expand as the console takes off.
However one of the main problems that a mainstream console release in these countries faces is that of piracy and the makers of Zeebo have come up with a clever way around this by using a 3G wireless distribution system that practically stops piracy. Unfortunately this means that you can’t go to your friend’s house and take the game, but as the website says the whole console weighs less than an Xbox 360 power adapter, so I guess you would probably be alright!
This also means that the games can be sold at a lot lower price as the content providers can cut marketing and production costs allowing the ridiculously cheap prices which will be perfect for this market.
Obviously it isn’t quite up to the graphics standards of the PS3 and the Xbox 360, but it is by no means poor, and the 640×480 video out resolution will be perfect for the market they are aiming it at – along with the 1GB flash memory.
I think it’s fair to say that they are being optimistic by claiming to be the world’s fourth gaming console already, but it’s also fair to say that if this is as successful as it has the potential to be then it will give Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo something to think about and perhaps force them to take a greater interest in the BRIC market.
Via – Zeeboinc.com