When it comes to over-saturated markets in gadget circles, the iPod Dock surely wins hands-down. The massive range of varied designs for a product that’s primarily intended to port audio or video to another source is staggering, but Elonex is about to buck this trend with something truly innovative. Its iGAME dock may not look too inspiring at first glance and, indeed, it's capable of handling music, videos, podcasts and video podcasts in the usual way. What makes it special is that it’s primarily a games console, or more specifically a TV Games Dock, designed to utilise the advantages of Apple’s newest players.
It also takes not so much a leaf as a giant branch from another rather popular games console by using wireless, motion-sensitive, vibration controllers.
Sam Goult, Marketing Manager at Elonex, says “iGAME has drawn on Elonex’s previous experience in convergence technology to create an iconic product that really has something for everyone. Combining an iPod dock and a wireless games machine which lets you play music, films and games on your TV, has enabled Elonex to combine some of the nation’s favorite pastimes. With a recession busting price of £79 and games priced from only a few pounds, iGAME FAMILY is going to be the Christmas present of 2009, and it won’t mean that money conscious families have to break the bank.”
Designed in the UK, the basic package comes with 20 free games that include tennis, bowling, trampoline, ping pong, darts and more and as well as establishing partnerships with games publishers to create more, Elonex is the first TV Games Dock manufacturer to release a Software Development Kit to encourage developers to come up with their own, which can then be sold in a similar way to Apple’s App Store. Titles will range in price from 99p to £4.99 and the company is initially placing emphasis on the genres that made Nintendo’s platforms so popular – namely sports, brain games and educational problem solving – to give the iGAME a strong family presence.
Head of Strategic Partnerships for iGAME Simon Le Jeune sees plenty of potential in the adopted model, stating “Partnerships with key players in the developer and publishing industry are key to providing iGAMERs with the best games. The recent success of the Nintendo Wii and Apple’s App Store have shown that nowadays consumers aren’t just looking for mind blowing graphics and lengthy game play, but are becoming more interested in immersive and fun based games where they can play with their family and friends in the real world, instead of just interacting with a computer screen. The public are now able to develop these kinds of games and so Elonex has made the groundbreaking decision to allow individual, small and major developers to make the games, and also to make money from them. It is a model we believe will unleash the limitless creativity of the public and make iGAME FAMILY an entertainment system to be reckoned with.”
Elonex is currently working to allow Apple Apps to be used directly through a television and with further Apple innovations likely to see support in the not too distant future; this certainly seems like a home gaming and media platform with a lot of potential.
Initially being released in the UK, the iGAME should hit stores in October priced at £79 (USD$129.50)