Oct 052010

Due to the rousing success of the Panasonic 3DO some 17 years ago, Panasonic has decided to follow up on their almost two-decade long domination of the handheld market to bring gamers another earth-shattering, medium-changing portable system.

Okay, fine, I’ll report some actual news.

Using Guns’N'Roses lyrics that are in no way clichéd, Panasonic yesterday launched welcometo.thejungle.com, which served as their vehicle for the surprising announcement that they are re-entering the video games industry with the upcoming release of a new handheld console, the “Jungle.”

And while the announcement website does not attach a date to the new system, it does give gamers insight into Panasonic’s angle for entry into the growingly crowded handheld market. Boasting the claim that “We Are Online Gaming,” the site contains an attached set of videos which spotlight the handheld’s MMO-friendliness and position it as a niche portable device. Furthering this, Panasonic is pushing Jungle as an entirely “new mobile device concept, designed specifically for online gamers.” In that vein, the site’s promotional video reveals that if with nothing else, Jungle will launch with the support of Bigpoint Studios, whose upcoming Battlestar Galactica Online will be accessible through system’s interface.

When it comes to the system itself, little has been officially confirmed, but the basics that are known fittingly paint Jungle as a cloud-gamer on-the-go. The clamshell design will feature a bottom half containing a mini-QWERTY keyboard, a finger-friendly touch pad, and two standard shoulder pads, with the top half reserved for the “high-resolution” display. Those looking for more detailed specs. will have to rely on rumours at this point, with Engadget reporting Linux as the potential OS, and venturing that the system’s ports will be three-fold: mini-HDMI, micro-USB, and headphone. That being said, RoboAwesome will be sure to keep you up to date as more tech.specs. come rolling in, to provide the full view of what Panasonic’s Jungle has to offer.

Looking to get a head start out of the gate, and create some viral buzz, the company has paired up with Machinima.com to start an online “showvertisement” dubbed Online Underground. The videos will employ newly created Jungle mascots (representing various online gamer peronas such as “The Ninja,” and “The Bounty Hunter”) to discuss online gaming, with heavy focus on Pansonic’s new system as a centre of that experience. Moreover, they’ve given the system some face-time on skateboarder Rob Drydek’s MTV show Fantasy Factory, where Drydek volunteered to create a Jungle “jingle,” in addition to giving viewers a live look at the handheld.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of the online or MMO-based experience, so even the best possible iteration of this device wouldn’t get me all that excited. On another level, though, I can’t help but feel Jungle comes off as overly “niche,” and may futilely be looking to break into the industry via a series of half-measures, offering gamers a less robust version of experiences they can already get elsewhere.

But I’ll leave the real discussion to you, RoboReaders! Those both MMO-crazy and driven crazy by MMOs: what do you think about the viability of Jungle? Does it have you excited for an online experience in the palm of your hands, or will you be sticking with the online options you use already?

source: [Industry Gamers]