Analysts Call Panasonic's Jungle a "Non-Starter"

Analysts Call Panasonic's Jungle a "Non-Starter"

image

Analysts agree: Panasonic's new MMO-focused handheld faces an uphill battle through the center of a volcano while wearing a tank-top.

If you didn't catch the announcement of Panasonic's new handheld videogame system called the Jungle, well, now you can catch up. Whether catching up will actually matter or not is the question, as multiple industry analysts have serious doubts that the system will have even a modicum of success.

Speaking to IndustryGamers, two analysts called the Jungle a "non-starter," while others questioned its potential. Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research says he sees the Jungle as a "highly specialized dedicated portable for a non-existent market." He added that "MMO players" might buy it if they want "more than a laptop," but said: "Frankly, this looks like a non-starter."

David Cole of DFC Intelligence noted that Panasonic has wanted to get back into the games business for years, after having a short go at it in the 1990s with the 3DO. His comments mirror Pidgeon's, with Cole saying: "My inclination would be to say a system like the Jungle is a non-starter right out of the gate." He points to companies like Sony and the tools that enable them to compete, and adds: "Until they can show me otherwise I just don't think Panasonic has the right pieces to compete in this space."

EEDAR's Jesse Divnich says the Jungle's success will "come down to software support," and without that the handheld will fail. Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets thinks it "would seem like an uphill challenge to launch a new portable gaming device unless there is some meaningful differentiation or access to proprietary content."

If it were one analyst questioning the Jungle, that'd be a different story, but these guys are lined up in a row bashing the Jungle in seemingly every possible way. Playing devil's advocate, the Jungle is a unique product, being a handheld made to run MMOs currently played on PCs, so maybe it's just something so new that industry analysts can't see any positives. They may also be jumping the gun, as key information needed to judge the Jungle, such as technical specifications and exact ability, hasn't been released yet. The easy route is to speak negatively about it, but you never know, the Jungle could surprise everyone. Maybe.

Source: IndustryGamers

Permalink

Never going to work. Firstly how would the user get online cheaply. Secondly, why not just use a laptop?

"Non-Started seems accurate. Especially if the cost is high. Mobile MMO gaming might be pretty appealing, but an MMO focused handheld? Not sure it'll work.

And beyond that, it looks like most of the cheap crap that's been put out to rival Nintendo's handhelds (and the occasional longer term competitor).

Your last paragraph is a great point as it is hard to judge any electronic device without knowing what's under the hood (so to speak).

I don't play MMOs, so I don't know exactly how dedicated MMO players are to want a handheld device catering to them specifically. Regardless, if one was that interested, I would imagine that one would also only buy a few games and focus on those alone. The "Jungle" will be fighting in the jungle to survive such a niche market if it doesn't offer any kicker.

On a side note, for some reason the name has an odd 90's ring to me. Even the design seems so angular, clunky, and dated. Between the two, it does not give me the impression of a sleek, high-tech device by any stretch.

Its for the WoW junkies who actually have jobs: They can play on their breaks without lugging around their PC.

Check your mules/vendor characters on the go =P

Analysts are like football pundits and astologists. They do like to talk bollox without backing it up. That's the fun about "predicting" stuff, It's like closing your eyes and throwing a dart at a dart board.

It's true. I hate to bash on hardware innovation, but I can't see the market for a handheld device that specializes in MMOs, which pretty much need to be time sinks to be successful; time sinks in themselves are not generally enjoyed on machines whose best selling point is their mobility. The only exception I can think of this would be as an aid for long car trips or flights.

AND the target audience is not one renowned for its tendency to get out a lot unless absolutely necessary, and at that point making their MMOs portable is just asking for trouble in the form of traffic accidents, hiking accidents, more addiction-fueled marital problems/divorces, and anything else caused by taking our generation's most compelling addiction and then making it handheld.

This just screams Virtual Boy to me, it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

Manicotti:
by taking our generation's most compelling addiction and then making it handheld.

What, they've made cocaine handheld now haha? Count me in!

Hmm... I can't help but be reminded of the Lynx and the Jaguar when I hear about the Jungle.

I don't really see it taking off either. I think the market it's catering to is far, far too niche. yes, there's a lot of MMO fans out there, but how many of them are both hardcore enough to need to play on the move but casual enough that they don't care about only playing for short spans of time (such as while commuting) or being prone to constant interruptions?

I forsee this going the way of the Game Gear and the Saturn. Picked up by a few people, ignored by the market as a whole.

Tom Goldman:
Analysts agree: Panasonic's new MMO-focused handheld faces an uphill battle through the center of a volcano while wearing a tank-top.

I would have thought it'd be wearing some kind of full winter outfit. Nice thick coat, boots, snow pants, hat, gloves, etc... You know, so it falls over due to heat exhaustion and dies quicker. :p

Anyway I think it's too soon to tell. What do we know about this thing? Not a whole lot. Almost nothing.

I say we give some of that "way too damn much" credit the iPhone gets as a gaming device when it clearly isn't to the Jungle. Because really, if people aren't willing to write off an overpriced phone that only runs stuff you can find on Newgrounds for free and/or shovelware, they shouldn't be willing to write off anything.

And people thought the PSP was set to fail.

I never would've even heard about this device if I didn't read this site's News section. Ten seconds from now, I will have forgotten it exists.

So their market is mmo fans who leave the house... well good luck with that.

I have a some what "high-end" netbook, it can barely run World of Warcraft. Problem is, there are really no "gaming" graphics cards made for small portable devises, and if there were: $$$$$
it would be to expensive to be worth it. I may have to agree with the critics on this one.

SelectivelyEvil13:
Your last paragraph is a great point as it is hard to judge any electronic device without knowing what's under the hood (so to speak).

It may be hard to judge performance but it is easy to judge. It's nineties throwback ugly, it has a just as bad name and it's being marketed to a market that may not even exist.
The features they have named don't fit the games they are supporting, who want to play an MMO with a touch pad and tiny cramped looking keys?

The only way it could work is to be something special inside it nasty looking box and have really good software support. However you'd think news of a new console would have leaked by now if any developers had their hands on one, hell, phone makers can't even get close to announcement dates with minor remodels without us knowing half the spec's much less something as major as a whole new platform sneaking past the press.

I judge it's going to struggle and disappear. I'd like mobile gaming to have more systems but...

Redlin5:
I forsee this going the way of the Game Gear and the Saturn. Picked up by a few people, ignored by the market as a whole.

Both the Game Gear and Saturn were profitable systems for Sega selling 11 million(Game Gear) and 9.5 million units(Saturn)

Olrod:
Hmm... I can't help but be reminded of the Lynx and the Jaguar when I hear about the Jungle.

I don't see how this is the choice if players want 'more than a laptop'. There is no way on Science's Earth that that thing has more to offer than a laptop T_T

Oh wow! It's a netbook! Only it's limited to playing a single appaling game. What more could gamers want for their money?

Well, I suppose a lot more but you're not going to get it from Panasonic.

Baldr:

Redlin5:
I forsee this going the way of the Game Gear and the Saturn. Picked up by a few people, ignored by the market as a whole.

Both the Game Gear and Saturn were profitable systems for Sega selling 11 million(Game Gear) and 9.5 million units(Saturn)

But neither endured. I'm sure this will get the same amount of sales before people realize it isn't that great. Also both Sega consoles were more popular in Japan, or so the internet tells me.

Oh no! The Jungle fanboys are going to be pissed.

Edit: After typing it, the term "Jungle fanboys" sounds incredibly stupid.

Is... Is it bad that I like the jungle in theory, price point and power pending?

I have to agree. To put it frankly, your average MMO gamer isn't exactly somebody who gets out much. I doubt many will find something like the Jungle to be worth the price. Seems like they didn't think this one through.

the only problem I have is with the design of the product, just look at the damn thing! it looks like the slightest knock would snap the hinges from the main platform.

As a handheld console purely made for MMOs, no chance in hell. But since it runs on Linux, it has a huge potential market in the homebrew community! I bet hackers will have cracked the thing within a week after release!

That's it, im tying myself to a tree with a banner saying "save the jungle"

Of course it's not going to work. Not only does the Jungle have a dedicated support for one medium (never a good idea, one should always make the product appealing to multiple audiences), but Panasonic have not entered the gaming market in many a year, and lack a loyal fanbase/mainstream attention. I seriously doubt there are any fans of the old 3DO... except possibly Keith Apicary... but he can get away with it XD

Point is, it's too specified, and comes from a company with the background of producing a horrendous video game console.

My opinion?

If it can somehow install and run most PC based MMO's at acceptable quality, it'll probably be a big success.

If it can run most PC MMO's at acceptable specs but needs a dedicated client to be written for it, it might get by.

If it can only run browser-based MMOs? .. Yeah it's dead already, there are phones that can do that.

I don't think it can succeed as the central concept is fundementally broken for the same reason a lot of similar ideas are:

How are they planning on providing the "on the go" internet service? Right now we have the infrastructure for it, with I-phones and the like being functional, but to literally play on the go, you need to pay for an expensive service package, in many cases counting and hording minutes for usage. Phone services make a fortune of of this, and have no real desire to change. What works for talking to people on a phone doesn't work for serious use of the internet though.

Generally speaking it's one thing to have a phone that can checkyour E-mail, or tweet. Quite another to sit down and play an MMO. One can be accomplished in a matter of minutes, or even seconds, the other is an investment of hours.

For serious internet use on a portable you typically need to go to someplace with a free Wi-Fi connection. Panera, Starbucks, and numerous other places all provide services like that. This is great if you want to do simple things while having lunch without wasting your minutes, but for playing games? Who wants to go hang out in a public business to play "Warcraft" for hours when they could do it at home? Assumong of course the people there would even let you loiter like that since your probably not going to be ordering $6 lattes every few minutes of play.

I can see people playing MMOs "on the go" if they travel a lot, and routinely spend hours waiting or on trains or in the back of cars or whatever. But I can't see anyone paying for that under the current telecommunications system.

Something like "Jungle" could succeed, but in order for it to do so, Panasonic would effectively have to launch it's own national/international telecommunications infrastructure for it alongside Verizon and other services, and then undercut them by charging a flat fee or giving free access as part of the product. I have no doubt someone will eventually do something like this, but I can't see Panasonic doing it for this product, and that's frankly what it's going to take.

I think the problem is that "The Jungle" is a product ahead of it's time, a really awesome thing, but without the infrastructure it needs to be practical.

Okay...

So it's like a laptop, but has controls and stuff to streamline gaming? Whatever floats your boat.

I always thought the Jungle was masseeeve though?

They may have a point. If it is geared toward mmo players (and let's face it, when they say mmo, they mean WoW or Farmville), what is stopping them from buying a netbook with mobile internet? It's much more useful, and probably just as capable of playing games.

Unrulyhandbag:

SelectivelyEvil13:
Your last paragraph is a great point as it is hard to judge any electronic device without knowing what's under the hood (so to speak).

It may be hard to judge performance but it is easy to judge. It's nineties throwback ugly, it has a just as bad name and it's being marketed to a market that may not even exist. Thank you! I am glad I'm not the only one.
The features they have named don't fit the games they are supporting, who want to play an MMO with a touch pad and tiny cramped looking keys?

The only way it could work is to be something special inside it nasty looking box and have really good software support. However you'd think news of a new console would have leaked by now if any developers had their hands on one, hell, phone makers can't even get close to announcement dates with minor remodels without us knowing half the spec's much less something as major as a whole new platform sneaking past the press.

I judge it's going to struggle and disappear. I'd like mobile gaming to have more systems but...

That's what's squirming in the back of my mind. It seriously looks like a dated handheld that was ripped off of the Gameboy and sold for $39.99 in the toy aisle.

The controls are hard to see too clearly, but they appear rather flush, hindering its usage. People would probably be looking between the keys and the screen too often.

It will be interesting when they announce the specs and cost. We have the 3DS coming out as a mini 3D game system, so how will this thing compare as far as graphical quality? As I said before, I don't play MMOs, but my impression is that they aren't the most gorgeous looking games, so that could also come into play with the Jungle.
A laptop just seems more practical for anyone.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here