Panasonic has launched what can be best described as a new portable handheld MMORPG player called “The Jungle.” While rumors of a new gaming device had been circulating for some time, we have to admit that this wasn’t what we expected at all.
The device is being billed as a new concept mobile device that is targeted directly at MMORPG gamers who want the portability combined with a display, touch pad, keyboard and other gaming controls. The device is a first in this space and a surprise entry from Panasonic, who will be back in the gaming space for the first time since the 3DO days.
What kind of MMORPG titles can you play in The Jungle? Well, we have learned that it will be compatible with a number of MMO browser-based titles from the SyFy and BigPoint folks. To start with, the upcoming Battlestar Galactica Online will be one of its centerpiece titles. A number of other free-to-play browser games are said to be compatible with the device. Panasonic is already working with content providers to expand the range of offerings for the device.
It does seem there are a lot more questions than answers concerning the actual hardware powering the device. The device has a very high quality screen resolution that is able to push video out via a micro-HDMI port. While we know that it has Wi-Fi connectivity, it is unknown if a 3G option is available for those on the go, but it would seem likely. No word on the processor or GPU that the device might use, but we are told it does not have the power to run Warcraft. Sources tell us that it uses some sort of Linux variant for an OS.
While no official price was announced, it seems those in the know claim that it is going to start at about $400 when it is released. Speaking of release, no official release date was announced, but more information is expected later. Whispers suggest that the 3G version will qualify for a carrier subsidization; which could get the price to around $200, and that might make it more attractive. Once again, content is what is going to make the platform go and without it, we suspect that The Jungle isn’t going to even get out of the starting gate.