Plans for the relaunch of the defunct hand-held games console Gizmondo later this year have been uncovered by Design Week.
Gizmondo/Blowfish Works chief executive Carl Freer reveals branding and marketing groups will soon be sought to help relaunch the device, originally intended as a competitor to the Sony Playstation Portable.
The previous company behind the product went into liquidation in 2006, after reported operating losses of more than $200m (£115m) in the first half of 2005 (DW 23 February 2006).
Although the original ergonomics and product design by Rick Dickinson will remain with only minor alterations being made, Freer says he is hoping to ‘raise some eyebrows’ with his plans for the context in which the product will be sold.
Freer hints that Gizmondo is looking to create an ‘on-line community-based strategy’ that uses product placement to raise interest in the console. He is currently in discussion with three branding groups on strategy, although the process is still at the very early stages.
‘We’ve researched the viability of the device and have found that the market is ready for it. When it launched back in 2003, it was ahead of its time, with processing power and multi-functionality,’ says Freer.
‘We have been focused on building a feasible product, and now that is coming to a conclusion, we will need to include brand consultancies and other external help,’ he adds.
Gizmondo is working with UK electronics design group Plextek on content to offer open-source and augmented reality software applications that will enable users to design their own games. Other ideas in development include a ‘Magic Book’ that would enable users to animate Gizmondo-interactive books.
Freer says he will avoid the retail routes previously used, and opt for on-line sales and distribution to avoid Gizmondo’s earlier cash flow problems.
‘There were reports in the press that we only had orders on our books for around 50 000 units, but in reality it was closer to 3.5 million. The problem was that funding for long-lead component items wasn’t readily available, while retailers didn’t pay up and often wanted credit. There was a bridge to gap between the production costs and what was coming in, so to speak,’ says Freer.
Gizmondo opened its own store on London’s Regent Street in 2005, designed by consultancy 2Heads (pictured, DW 17 February 2005), as well as selling via retailers including Argos, Curry’s and John Lewis.