Panasonic is looking to re-enter the world of console gaming, some fifteen years after its not-exactly-successful 3DO, and it's taking an interesting approach.
Panasonic is preparing to launch a new hand-held console it calls the Jungle, but don't expect a Nintendo-like offering: Panasonic is looking to tempt the MMO crowd away from their PCs.
Aside from a vague video
on the company's official teaser site, there's not much information to go on about precisely what the device is
- although there are hints that it's a Linux device at heart.
known, however, is that the Jungle will offer gamers the chance to keep playing their favourite massively multi-player on-line games even when they're not at their PCs. Panasonic has even managed to get at least one game on board at this early stage, with the company announcing that Battlestar Galactica Online
will be a launch title for the console.
Looking at the video, it's clear to see that the Jungle will include a miniature QWERTY keyboard - a near-requirement in MMO games, which originated on the PC and often make a poor job of translating to joypad-based control - along with a pair of analogue joysticks.
Interestingly, it looks like the Jungle will include a mini-HDMI connector - although if you're near a big-screen display you're probably also near a PC, and thus wouldn't be playing your MMO of choice on the Jungle anyway.
One thing that isn't clear is precisely what connectivity the Jungle will offer. It's an on-line console, so Wi-Fi is a given - but will Panasonic be adding 3G broadband to the mix and creating a play-anywhere MMO device?
With no official specifications, pricing, or launch date, it's hard to say whether Panasonic has a winner on its hands or just another 3DO - or, more accurately, N-Gage.
Does the Panasonic Jungle look like the sort of gadget you'd be interested in, or will it take more than the vague promise that you can take your World of Warcraft
addiction to the next level for you to sit up and take notice? Share your thoughts over in the forums