A few electronics companies are looking to fill a small hole in the console market with preloaded portable gaming systems this year. While the new consoles won’t replace the PSP, they could catch on with the younger, less serious gamers out there.
Toronto, Canada-based electronics company Kobian is making its first foray into the games market with its PlayPal system. Slated for a mid-September retail launch, the system is available in a simple plug and play version (US$39.99), preloaded with 20 old-school 8-bit games, and a second model (US$69,95) featuring a portable display in addition to plug and play capabilities. Company president Moe Kirpalani says the plan is to target the system at kids between five and eight years old.
Kirpalani says he has good retail penetration in Canada and is in negotiations with major U.S. players. He’s on the lookout for additional retail opps and potential licensing partners interested in providing games for the systems.
Disney has also entered this niche in the console market by teaming up with portable video game maker, L.A.-based Performance Designed Products. The Disney GAME It! handheld gaming systems line is slated to launch with a Classic Pals edition featuring well-known characters such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck, and one sporting the Disney Princess brand that showcases Ariel and Cinderella.
Launching this fall, the systems will retail for US$40 and each comes preloaded with approximately 12 games. An accessory kit (US$15) that includes a carrying case, faceplate and a plug and play A/V hookup will be sold separately.