There would soon be an addition to the three major consoles we have known with Zeebo. The Zeebo console was unveiled at the Game Developers Conference in California and is targeted at the middle class in developing countries. Most people in developing countries like Brazil, India, Russia and other countries can’t really afford to buy a PS3 or a Wii as they are not officially launched in these countries and they cost a lot more than their original price.
Can Zeebo be the solution for developing nations?
The Zeebo is the first Brazliian designed console and hence it would be launched first there. Zeebo Inc (Official Site) teamed up with Brazilian manufacturer Tectoy. Once it is released in Brazil, the company plans to release and market the console in countries like India, China and other countries of Latin America.
With Zeebo partnering with EA, Activision, Capcom, THQ and even Popcap, one can rest assured that they will have the best games available to purchase and download. Moreover, the Zeebo is expected to cost $199 and games would cost between $5 to $15. There would also be four embedded games in its flash drive and a fifth could be downloaded for free. The prices are expected to drop to below $149 by next year.
How does Zeebo fare technically?
The console however isn’t technically as advanced as the other 3 consoles (Xbox 360, Wii and PS3) but it comes with the advantage and convenience of making use of free 3G networks to purchase and download games, called the ZeeboNet. It is also expected to help other game developers to curb Online game piracy which is rampant in developing countries. However, the Zeebo’s specifications are not that great the ARM 11 CPU clocks at 528 Mhz and even the Wii has a 729 Mhz CPU. Nevertheless, the ability to play great games is not reduced and Zeebo still manages to look quite impressive.
Localizing the Zeebo Console
The affordability, ability to use free 3G networks instead of expensive broadband connections, and the curbing of online game piracy makes Zeebo a great solution for countries in Latin America, South Asia and China. Moreover, when the games are localized for these countries, there are greater chances of the console being a great commercial success.
A game that involves cricket or a game that comes with Bollywood music and dance would be a great in India and Pakistan. In Russia, China and other countries, an English language learning game would actually be a great educational resource. All this makes the console quite attractive for these emerging markets.
Can Zeebo be successful?
In my opinion, the Zeebo console not only can be marketed in the aforementioned countries but also in Africa which strangely seems to be neglected. Zeebo could be a great success in BRIC countries and also in Africa as an infotainment tool if the company strikes deals with local establishments. The success of the company and the console would depend on the games available and the easy accessibility of the same.
However the prices of Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3 are reducing dramatically and a PS3 can be bought in India officially for about $500, which isn’t a big amount in that country, though Wii and Xbox 360 are not available. This may prove to be a problem for Zeebo which would have to push the console aggressively and also localize the content to suit the market.