The Brazilian gaming industry; not exactly the best place to start a console business as piracy is rampant and the country suffers from a very high penetration of illegal pirated media vendors and a low per-capita income which makes game prices some 20 times higher than in the US.
So what can come out of a situation like this? The Zeebo console, of course! The console looks retro, with an equally ugly game-pad to match, but it’s not aiming to be the next PS3 or even PS2 for the matter. No, the console packs about as much power as a PSP, with OpenGL compatibility. The most interesting point of the console is their 3G connectivity, which falls back to EDGE or GSM if no 3G is available.
The console represents the next wave of console gaming, which is wireless streaming games, where all media is downloaded directly from a Zeebo network. The reason is that this will keep costs low as well as solve the distribution problems for traditional shrink-wrapped games in Brazil.
The main problem is that downloading content will incur data costs, which can be quite expensive even for the average Brazilian and this cost have to be factored in as well. But the idea is solid, the console has all the necessities (joysticks, SD card for data storage, stereo audio and composite video output) and the games are beginning to mature.
However, the fact of the matter is, it would be more appealing to go out and buy one of the 7th generation consoles out there right now, continue to support mafia-operated pirated games outlets and let the cycle continue. It takes a lot of willpower to break this habit, and a wireless console with the power of the PSP running unknown games is not, I believe, capable of doing it.
More info on Zeebo.