Panasonic Pitches Jungle to Wage Wars in the Handheld Gaming Market

In a new attempt to make an impact in the gaming market, Panasonic, the global electronics and technology giant recently launched a new gadget christened “Jungle”. This is the successor to the now rested 3DO handheld game, a first by the company some seventeen years ago, but with poor showing in the market place.

Panasonic has indicated that Jungle is designed with the interests of mobile online gamers in mind, in addition to creating a new platform for MMO games. The claim is that this will give addicts to web gaming the opportunity to enjoy their games regardless of location and also make for better portability of online games.

However, do not start celebrating yet as the online game BattleStar Galactica is the only game yet announced. For those who do not know, this game is MMO and browser based with adaptations from a popular scientific fiction series. It is rumored that the Jungle runs on Linux, so we might just be limited to Java and Flash games for the time being; say games like Maple Story, Runescape and Farmville. Right now, do not expect to find games like EVE Online, Team Fortress 2 or World of Warcraft playing on the Jungle.

The rugged stance of this new device is not in doubt for travel purposes, because it is clamshell shaped, though bulky in a way. Major features include a regular QWERTY keyboard, high resolution TFT display, a touch pad, well recognized gaming buttons and possibly 3G connectivity. If the latter is not included, that means gamers will have to be restricted to Wireless hotspots, thus decreasing fun on mobility.

However, the physical attributes of the Jungle calls to mind some handheld platforms that have performed poorly in the market or now rested by its manufacturers. Examples include the Gizmondo, Pandora and Tapwave Zodiac. I bet some of you might not remember those.

Apart from stiff competition from the Apple iPhone, this device has to contend with major competitors in the mobile handheld gaming market. Established manufacturers include Sony and Nintendo, which are both launching similar products in the new and upgrade categories. Coupled with the fact that Panasonic is not regarded as a gaming giant, serious work needs to be done to get the Jungle up and running in terms of sales.

Also, the problems of the 3DO, which did very badly in 1993, due to poor challenge strength, a high price tag and poor third party support must be prevented, if the Jungle must succeed. Panasonic must also create profitable ways to make its gaming products to succeed in the market, unlike images of the Gamecube, which was more acceptable mainly due to the fact that hackers were able to pirate its games without difficulty.

Jungle might also get some publicity help since it was announced just a few days after the company released details of a “coming-soon” phone that will possibly rival the Nokia N8, especially with its heavy duty 13.2 megapixel camera embedded.

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