You probably are familiar with today's leading video game consoles: the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3. But a fourth console of this generation, Zeebo, might matter more.
Zeebo is produced by a company of the same name, with backing from chipmaker Qualcomm. It sports 3G wireless connectivity, ships with four games preloaded, and enables gamers to download a fifth game from the Web for free (as well as others at a cost). Zeebo was made available last week in Brazil for about $249.
Zeebo's focus is on developing countries. Although it is hardly the first console maker to try its hand in emerging markets, the big three have centered their development and marketing efforts on North America, Europe, and Asia.
While those efforts have helped form a multibillion-dollar industry, many game makers realize that as with other forms of entertainment, success in developing countries could be quite lucrative.
The Xbox 360 has had some trouble getting off the ground in India due to a perceived high price. The iQue Player, a joint venture between Nintendo and a Chinese-American scientist, was produced for Chinese gamers. And Brazil--the country Zeebo is currently targeting--has had a homebrew console market for quite some time. A combination of pirated and custom development has provided Brazilian streets with interesting hardware.… Read more