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The Android gaming platform that never was: Gizmondo 2

Remember the Gizmondo, circa 2005? That’s right, you probably don’t because it lasted around a year before it was pulled. It’s successor was slated for Android and had the backing of it’s own first party game studio that made it a promising bet for gaming on Android when it was still unheard of. We investigate what caused their failure and which of their concepts lived on.

The original was designed to compete with the Nintendo’s DS and Sony PSP during it’s 2 year run. It’s promise came from the versatile Windows CE operating system underneath, which invariably fell short for various reasons. Difficulty while using the device, a relatively high price and a confusing sales model put it far behind the competition. Their mistakes didn’t come only from poor hardware and marketing choices, but from criminal mismanagement, extravagant spending and fraud.

Gizmondo sold poorly around the world. The early announcement of a widescreen version before the original hit America caused potential customers to wait until the revision with a larger screen and better hardware launched, which never happened.

The European company began hemorrhaging money in 2006 when Tiger filed for bankruptcy in the UK. It was eventually estimated that Gizmondo was a 100 million dollar loss for the newly founded company.

After the bankruptcy, the company was bought and rebranded Media Power to deal with the fall-out caused by the first CEO’s ties with organized crime and arrest.

In 2008 the relaunched and rebranded company announced the originals’ successor, this time based on Google’s Android operating system.  It saw multiple delays — May turned into November and when the Christmas 2008 season came and went, so did their product. Media Power closed it’s doors that year, shutting down it’s website and development studio in the process.

Crime and fraud were at the heart of Tiger’s untimely failure. The co-founder of the relaunched company also ironically found himself being prosecuted for fraud and his ties with organized crime also made public.

One of Tiger’s concepts dreadfully lived on. “Smart Adds” now implemented in iOS titles as iAds. The feature deeply integrated ads into the operating system and games but instead of paying developers, it went to the option of a lower-cost device.

Today, it seems Sony have picked up Tiger’s idea of an Android powered gaming platform and we’re happy to finally see their vision come true.

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