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Portables (Games) Games Linux

Panasonic Invites Gamers To the Jungle 74

donniebaseball23 writes "In a move that will instantly conjure up memories of the infamous 3DO failure, Panasonic has once again decided to throw its hat into the gaming ring, unveiling an online-focused handheld called the Jungle. It features a high-resolution display, a D-pad, a touch pad, and a full mini-keyboard in addition to standard gaming shoulder buttons. Wireless support is a given, as Panasonic is talking heavily about the console's online features, but whether that's Wi-Fi or 3G remains unclear. M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon said, 'The Jungle is a highly specialized dedicated portable for a non-existent market. This is an unprecedented hardware strategy, and probably for good reason. If MMO players want to go more portable than a laptop, I guess this would be the way to go. Frankly, this looks like a non-starter.'" An anonymous reader notes comments from NetDevil's Ryan Seabury, who thinks the decision to have the device run Linux is a mistake.
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Panasonic Invites Gamers To the Jungle

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  • by bertoelcon ( 1557907 ) * on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:04AM (#33804534)
    If it runs Linux then they are going to be guaranteed a few sales from people just wanting to tinker with it.
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:25AM (#33804648)

    Or if they lock it down TiVo style, it running Linux is 100% irrelevant. I'm really bored with all this shit being hyped as running Linux, but in the end you're not allowed to actually do anything with it (can't replace it, can't load modules) or you're stuck with a platform that bears no resemblance to the APIs on your desktop, so you're stuck learning Yet Another API To Do The Same Damn Thing (YAATDTSDT).

    This is why I like MeeGo. The APIs come from the community. You can use them on your desktop, you can use them on your mobile device. It's also why I bought my device from Nokia, I can freaking load Android on it if I wanted to. Sadly, this seems to be a rarer and rarer thing these days.

  • Re:Fun quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:31AM (#33804686)

    Artist, developers and coders will learn to write for this as they did any system and get really good at it too.

    unless it has massive marketing and investment (hundreds of millions, if not billions) then no they won't. artists, developers and coders need to make a living like everyone else. There is currently a glut of consoles and portables to the point that I doubt such a niche market focus has any hope of succeeding to the point where game devs want to spend time on it.

  • Re:Fun quote (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:44AM (#33804756) Journal
    We will see if and when it fails. If Panasonic can make the dev cycle fun and very low cost they could be onto something unique.
    Where Sony, MS, Apple ect lock out/make demands/rent/manage Panasonic could be very very inclusive.
    As for "marketing and investment" - marketing sure that will cost, investment Linux is done, ready to go.
    Panasonic can offer good tools, I am sure someone will give it a try.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:49AM (#33804780)

    Same here. There's no point in a Linux system that the manufacturer has locked down even worse than a Windows or OS X system.
    So I'm avoiding Android, waiting for the funds to get an OpenPandora, or for Nokia to make something comparable. Maybe an N900, maybe not. I don't really want a cell phone.

  • by abednegoyulo ( 1797602 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:06AM (#33804832)

    Welcome to the jungle
    We got fun 'n' games
    We got everything you want
    Honey we know the names

  • Re:Fun quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XDirtypunkX ( 1290358 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:12AM (#33804864)

    They may not need to learn that much if Panasonic uses OpenGL 2.0 ES for graphics and an ARM core, because there are a lot of people who already develop games for phones that have just that.

  • by wintersdark ( 1635191 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:19AM (#33804912)

    Already outdated? It's not that shabby. Clocks up to 1ghz or so without voiding warranty, max ~64gb of storage space, touchscreen, full keyboard, gaming nubs, etc.

    It's generally more powerful than an iPad, fits in your pocket, running a properly open Linux distro - angstrom w/ XFCE (and people have gotten Ubuntu and Debian running on it too).

    I've been watching the development for quite a while now, and things seem to be well coming to a head. Realistically still a few more months to go for new orders, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:22AM (#33804928)

    The guy saying linux is a mistake seems to be confusing the linux desktop market with the embedded device market.

    The (x86/x64) linux desktop market is characterised by people who know what they're doing and may or may not buy many PC games. This in itself is something of circular/bootstrap problem, but even if game makers don't port PC games to the linux desktop because it's not significantly profitable, what on earth has that to do with a dedicated games handheld?

    Given that they aren't going to be running iOS or whatever Sony's PSP OS is, they had the choice of various systems (Linux, QNX, BSD, RiscOS ... ?) and none seems a better choice than the other from the perspective of 'stuff will have to be ported'.

    Unless this is has an atom chip inside, nvidia or ati graphics and is capable of running windows and windows games unaltered, his argument is basically crap. And if it does have those things the battery will probably only last five minutes.

    Now, that doesn't mean that I think this thing is going to make a dent on the market.

    But if it's open to hacking, running on a decent kirkwood (or newer) or cortex ARM chip then it might be interesting to me.

  • by TD-Linux ( 1295697 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @02:27AM (#33804956)
    I mean, look at the most popular gaming handheld today... the nintendo DS! It does not run Linux, and so therefore requires no porting work on it at all! I can play portal and crysis on it no problem, as well as Minesweeper from Windows 95. And don't forget Chip's Challenge. Man, that game was awesome.

    Seriously, the whole games-are-bad-on-Linux thing is taken out of context. The argument makes sense for desktop systems, not for a portable gaming platform that's for custom designed games. If something like that ran Windows 7, it would be a disaster. And the fact that TFA mentions how OS X would have been a better choice for Panasonic makes it even more laughable. For something like this, a custom API, architecture, and software distribution is what they are after, and it hardly matters how they implement it. There is little chance this will run the X window system, and if it does, I would hardly enjoy using openoffice with a d-pad.
  • Every major console, including handhelds, runs a custom OS anyway. Even the Xbox isn't really running Windows. The fact that they're running Linux means they probably wanted to avoid reinventing the wheel since it already has a mature kernel and useful userland tools. The GUI will probably still be 90%+ custom-built.

  • by thatkid_2002 ( 1529917 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @03:47AM (#33805292)

    I have copy pasted my comment I left on Kotaku here to where it may actually be read by some intelligent souls.

    This console is obviously *not* x86 (aka "Intel") based and therefore any "but Windows this, OSX that" is irrelevant as they do not run on the architecture. The fact is that Linux is a sound choice for the platform because it is actually well suited to running on an ARM based platform. Windows CE is just laughable in general and there is no way that Apple would license iOS to anybody else.

    In my opinion Android (a Linux derivative) is a better choice than because it has a development framework and tools available, stable ABI and also does not use X11 display server. Games developed for Android will also be playable on many more devices than just the Jungle and therefore it will be easy to attract developers.

    The NetDevil guy is obviously a freaking idiot because a) he thinks that this device would somehow magically make its consumers part of the Linux community and b) that the Linux community are unwilling to pay for things. This is not true because there is a lot of commercial open source products and several indy games have been extremely successful due largely to Linux releases. Take for example The Humble Indy Bundle and World of Goo "pay what you want" sales in which Linux users were proven by statistics *willing* to pay *more* than Windows or Mac users. I find that in general Windows users are the most resistant to paying for software. Funny how market share doesn't matter.

    I have doubts about the design of this device. Even disregarding the power of embedded hardware (Nvidia's Tegra platform *almost* could pull this off) there is no way you could play current generation 3D MMOs reminiscent of WoW and EVE Online (I play both of these on Linux BTW) as the screen is just too small and the touchpad and D-Pad are not suitable. Browser based MMOs are much more likely. I would imagine this to be like a Nintendo Gameboy but on a more open and accessible platform.

    Also what is with the random "Linux OS will be an obstacle as well in this regard." just thrown into the middle of the third last paragraph? I can't believe this crap made it onto a major news site. This belongs on somebody's blog.

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @08:39AM (#33806724) Homepage Journal

    And since The Jungle will run Linux that could be a problem. Why?

    According to at least one massively mulitplayer online developer, Linux isn't exactly a great system to develop games for or port over Windows or Mac games to.

    "The Linux user base is too small for the financial risk, Linux users are generally savvy enough to make their OS run whatever games they want anyway, and since the Linux community is very DIY minded, they tend to not want to pay for much," said Ryan Seabury, creative director at NetDevil for LEGO Universe. "All of these make it a pretty bleak area to publish games into."

    This wasn't a useful argument for the NES, SNES, Playstation 2, Nintendo64, Gamecube, Wii, or Playstation 3. Why would it be a worthy argument for a specialized device that happens to not run Windows? If anything, running Linux is an advantage because it's easy to program for and has lots of libraries for graphics, sound, networking, and compression.

  • Re:Fun quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Wednesday October 06, 2010 @01:17PM (#33811902) Homepage

    Which is Linux with a Dalvik runtime and VM to provide UI presentation...

    It's why I chuckle each and every time someone thinks that Android is magically all that much different. It's not.

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