Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Jungle?

Panasonic announced a new product today, a portal gaming device called The Jungle. I think it takes over The Wii as the worse name for a console.

The portable gaming market has become a competitive business. Though Nintendo and their line of DS systems is still on the top, Sony's PSP and Apples line of IPhones and IPads have been making a dent. Panasonic wants in on the action.

"We began this journey by asking gamers what they wanted," Panasonic said in a statement. "Almost unanimously, we heard calls for online gaming products. Some gamers wanted a handheld, some wanted new content, others new experiences (one dude wanted a tattoo of the Kalphite Queen). In response, the Jungle was born."

The Jungle's focus will be on MMO's according to Panasonic. Why? Because there's an untapped market in protable MMO's of course! How a portable MMO would work, I'm not entirely sure. Every MMO requires some form of sitting down in front of a computer or television screen (in the case of FFXI and PhantasyStar) for a couple of hours. It doesn't really give an option to allow a person to be mobile. But, that's what Panasonic wants to do.

But that's not the big issue. The Jungle is going to run on Linux. I think it would be a fairly accurate assessment that maybe 1% of North America uses Linux. But it's a guess. No one knows the hard numbers. But it is definitely at the bottom of the food chain. If you took the number of MAC users out there and divided it by 2/3rds, that's probably the amount of Linux users that exist in the world.

There are very few games available for Linux, none of them MMO's. Why? Because the user base is so small it's not worth putting the time and effort into creating a Linux version.

"The Linux user base is too small for the financial risk, Linux users are generally savvy enough to make their OS run whatever games they want anyway, and since the Linux community is very DIY minded, they tend to not want to pay for much," said Ryan Seabury, creative director at NetDevil for LEGO Universe. "All of these make it a pretty bleak area to publish games into."

Seabury said that while porting a game from Windows or Mac to Linux isn't rocket science, "it's also usually not worth the cost and it's difficult to find talent with the right expertise."

And he's right. There is no profit to be made to port a product to Linux, even if ever single Linux user were to buy the item. Panasonic clearly wasn't thinking this through. Needless to say, this smells like a failure from a mile away. Not to mention the design is 1980's retro that it makes the classic GameBoy look not as bulky.


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