Panasonic Throws Hat in Handheld Ring to Do Battle with 3DS, PSP2, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android
Looks like the handheld gaming market is beginning to mirror the Royal Rumble. Panasonic announced recently a new handheld platform named “The Jungle” specifically being targeted towards online gamers. The product’s tagline reads “We Are Online Gaming”, which I guess is supposed to make everybody forget about their 3G iPhones and mobile hot spot Android phones. Battlestar Galactica Online is the first MMORPG slated for release on “The Jungle”, though others are to be announced. Engadget reports that the system will deliver a high-resolution display and feature a QWERTY keyboard and a touch sensitive d-pad and button arrangement. The system will also feautre a mini-HDMI port, a miro USB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, which tells us that the system may function as a type of mini-computer more than just a simple gaming machine.
I find it kind of funny that Panasonic, they of the colossal failure that was the 3DO way back in the early 90s, are doing their best to enter into the portable gaming market, let alone by targeting a typically niche and, well, stationary consumer base like online gamers. As much as we fear MMORPG gamers carrying their addiction with them into public places, The Jungle is as good as dead without an online powerhouse like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars to support the system. It certainly doesn’t help that at a time when handheld devices are looking thinner and sleeker, The Jungle looks ugly as sin, almost more like a miniature DVD player from the early 2000s. The system is also going to launch with a web show called Online Underground.
Until I see more information on The Jungle, including pricing, release date, and launch line-up, color me unimpressed. In an age where Nintendo and Apple are redefining the ways in which we take gaming-on-the-go, The Jungle reeks of an N-Gage-level failure. We’ll keep our eyes on out for any additional news of The Jungle when it becomes available, but Panasonic is really going to have to step up their game for us to really care.