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Zeebo, Qualcomm Launch Games Console

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

When someone asks what your favorite console is, it’s a multiple choice question with three possible answers: PlayStation, Xbox or Wii. Yesterday a start-up called Zeebo announced that it aims to put a fourth option on the market.

The company is aiming the Zeebo console at middle-class buyers in emerging markets and alright, it probably won't give Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony a run for their money, but we love what the company is trying to do.

Zeebo Inc. is targeting consumers in Brazil, Russia, India and China which are typically unable to afford the higher-end devices or the games that play on them. Speaking at GDC in San Francisco, CEO, John Rizzo explained the need for a console in emerging markets. As well as the issue of affordability, Rizzo points out that some games (such as GTA) wouldn’t get the same reception in Brazil, Russia, India or China that they would in North American or European markets and the games that would be a big hit often don’t get released because the publishers worry about piracy.


Backed by Qualcomm, Zeebo uses a Qualcomm chipset that allows users to connect over a wireless network to purchase and download games. Games are stored on the console (Flash memory) and the Zeebo can hold up to 50 games at any time. According to MarketWatch,  the Zeebo will be available in Brazil at the price of $199, and the price is expected to drop to $150 within the year. MW also reports that the download service will mostly showcase older titles, like Quake, Need for Speed and Street Fighter.

I don’t know about you guys but I can see a demand for this console in more markets than just Brazil, Russia, India or China especially with the likes of Street Fighter and Quake available. It also looks pretty slick.

Discuss
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  • 1 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 24, 2009 5:37 PM
    I don't know, I mean the 360 starts at $199 now. I guess we'll see. Perhaps if it picks up momentum they may try and release a version here in the states, but the market is already a little crowded. I guess they can just push the overpriced PS3 out of the way ^_^
  • 0 Hide
    tenor77 , March 24, 2009 5:37 PM
    I'm curious about how this fairs as it's all Digital distribution. I'm not sure we'll see it in the US though based on the markets they're launching at, but pricepoint speaks to people during a recession and a (potentially) $150 console and ~$10 games might just fly.
  • 3 Hide
    Hothr , March 24, 2009 5:42 PM
    Smells like a Phantom.
    But they can't possibly botch it that bad. They already made it at least as far as them with a rendered mock-up.
  • 2 Hide
    ispyamoose , March 24, 2009 6:25 PM
    It's the same price as an Xbox 360, but the 360 has a reputation for having horrible reliability.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 24, 2009 6:40 PM
    The $199 360 is pointless it has no hard drive.
  • 1 Hide
    bustapr , March 24, 2009 7:12 PM
    I would definitely want to take a look at this console. It looks cool and can store alot of old but good games on it. But will there be a capacity for hi-def gamesother than those mentioned?
  • 3 Hide
    hellwig , March 24, 2009 7:57 PM
    Brazil, Russia, India, and China? This console has the potential to decimate the big 3 consoles in terms of overall sales. We tend to overlook these countries as underdeveloped and lacking a technological infrastructure (old stereotypes). To ignore these markets (over 2 billion people, a third of the earths population) is ridiculous. I think with the number of people in China and India who already own cell phones, they've shown they will embrace technology, why not offer them some?

    People look at the rampant pirating of software in these countries, but how much of that is simply the result of an underserved market? People can't buy legitamate copies of your software if you won't even make the effort to sell them.
  • 1 Hide
    arson94 , March 24, 2009 8:25 PM
    HothrSmells like a Phantom. But they can't possibly botch it that bad. They already made it at least as far as them with a rendered mock-up.



    haha, i'm glad i'm not the only who thought of the Phantom...
  • 0 Hide
    patrik888 , March 24, 2009 11:59 PM
    Well, actually i'm from Brasil, and I'm gladly waiting to see what this console will be capable of, anyway there is not any type of propaganda. And just to speak so (I'm only speaking for Brazil, because I don't if the same proceeds in other countries) there is a BIG reason people don't buy games here, it's ridiculously pricey, when in the US or Europe something costs 50 dollars/euros, here it's 250(or more) reals = 110 dollars(or 80 euros).

    That being said, the Xbox 360 is 1000 reals, thats for an cheap Arcade version, which is equall to 350 dollar (... ain't that the price of a elite version... hehe), so if that Zeebo is going to the launched in the price tag of 190 dollar = 450 reals, the it will have a nice market, but if it launched for an expensive 900 reals (which is more real if imported from other countries) then it will fail miserably, at least here in brazil.

    Guess I made my point.

    PS: I wouldn't like to be stuck with oldies on a console, that's why everone own an PS2, hehe.
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , March 25, 2009 2:01 AM
    every game site ive been to so far say its going to be a flop, but honestly, i think INDIE developers can really pull this thing to the top, imagine 100's of high quality indie games that are on par with world of goo, braid, castle crashers, etc... this could really work out
  • 1 Hide
    Niva , March 25, 2009 6:12 AM
    What are the specs of this system? Do we know anything about the hardware and output ... is it 1080p?

    How about software? Linux? Custom system? Direct X or openGL?

    How about upgradability? Can you buy and attach another drive to put more games on it?

    How are they getting already published games to play on their hardware? Many arcade games are coded to proprietary hardware, like older SF games for example... and then the question of how much will games cost?

    It sounds interesting to me, I hope they succeed.
  • 0 Hide
    Soul_keeper , March 25, 2009 9:58 AM
    http://www.arm.com/products/CPUs/ARM11MPCoreMultiprocessor.html
    http://www.zeeboinc.com/#hardware

    looks like 128MB ddr2
    628MHz ARM11 90nm cpu (unclear if it's dual or quad core) possibly 32KB of cache per core
    a similar cpu as what's in some apple products apparently

    Qualcomm Adreno 130 Graphics Core
  • 0 Hide
    Soul_keeper , March 25, 2009 10:00 AM
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/multimedia/display/20090323163712_Tectoy_Qualcomm_Aim_Emerging_Video_Game_Markets_with_Zeebo.html

    this article is saying the games could cost 12 dollars per title
  • 0 Hide
    alberto_lc , March 25, 2009 2:54 PM
    I live in Bolivia and most people that owns a WII or a 360 buy those consoles because they can get pirated games (5 to 10$us.) (I don't support this).But in countries where the income is low this is the only way since a game for wii will be around 80$us. if new for 360 around 904$us and for PS3 110$us. Consoles are pretty expensive most people import it from US. So this console can make it big but as some one said before it will depend on games and picture quality since PS2 or xbox you can get still good games and cheap.