Panasonic to launch Jungle portable games console

Well, there’s something I certainly didn’t expect to see. Panasonic, perhaps better known for making adequate consumer electronics (while trailing Sony in most technological advances), has announced its intention to produce a portable gaming device to go up against the 3DS and PSP 2.

Check out the frankly poor quality trailer:

Well, what to say? This is a bold move from a company whose last experience at building a games console ended rather badly (see the ill-fated 3DO). And by bold, I clearly mean risky. And by risky, I mean stupid.

This is a market in which even Nintendo, which appeared to have the whole portable market sown up into a nice DS-shaped bag, can take a massive hit. At least in response, the big games firms are coming out with some gimmickry: 3D, digital distribution, graphical prowess (in the case of the PSP 2).

And what does the Jungle offer? Well, it looks to be roughly the size of a large brick, and be focused on MMO gaming. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t recall reading of any MMO that was entirely successful off the back of portable gaming. Maybe some Japanese or Korean stuff, but round here we seem to like our MMOs more, well, Warcrafty.

The Jungle does have one thing going for it though. Engadget have done a little reveal for the device, and they seem to reckon it’ll be running on a custom Linux derivative.

Panasonic Jungle, from Gizmodo

Panasonic Jungle, from Gizmodo

That could lead to some interesting possibilities, at least once the open source programming community gets their hands on it. Get root access, install some custom firmware and start running some of the thousands of Linux apps? Nice.

Start building your own homebrew, and playing games developed outside the Panasonic approved eco-system? Priceless.

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