Anybody remember the 3DO? It was a game console that boasted more advanced features than any of its competitors — for 1993, anyway. It made a big splash when it first launched, even being named “Product of the Year” by Time Magazine, but lasted only three years.
Panasonic, the company that manufactured the 3DO, is now officially tossing its hat back into the console gaming ring, but this time they’re attempting to launch a handheld device with a very specific purpose: playing MMOs on-the-go. It’s called the Jungle, and it’s a clamshell-designed piece of hardware made to let you leave the mancave and go out in the sunlight — but without the pain of being separated from your online game world. But before you get all tingly at the thought of taking WoW along in your morning carpool… Right now, it looks like all the Jungle will be playing is browser-based MMOs.
It sounds like Panasonic is looking for well beyond the standard fare of Farmville and the like, though, with a mascot and marketing campaign designed to appeal to the hardcore gamer. The only game title announced so far is Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica Online, a browser-based spacecraft shooter. Panasonic is also touting a web show that presents news from online games, called Online Underground. The Jungle’s website claims that Panasonic is working with leading online game developers to create some exciting new content.” Which is a good thing, since all gaming devices live or die based on the catalog of games it offers.
The Jungle has a QWERTY keyboard, standard D-pad and buttons, and sports a super high-res screen that reportedly looks pretty spectacular. Ports include mini HDMI, micro USB, and standard headphone jack. A release date hasn’t been announced yet, but if I were a betting man, my money would be on 2011.