By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
ALMEIDA, CALIF. -Move over PS2. The world of integrated gameplaying devices is about to get larger.
Indrema, a start-up company based here, is preparing for a late-May launch of a next-generation video game console that will also play DVD videos, record TV programs on an internal hard drive, access the Internet, and interface with both analog or digital television monitors.
Unlike many competitive game platforms, Indrema will be offered in a three-model assortment, with each SKU differentiated primarily by the hard-drive capacity.
Larger hard drives will store more hours of TV programs, as well as Internet-delivered video games the company envisions distributing online in the future.
Hard drive options include 8, 30 and 50GB sizes.
The platform, which is ISP agnostic, will be capable of accessing the Internet through broadband or dial-up ISPs. An optional 56-Kbps dial-up modem will be offered as an add-on, and a 100MB port is included for broadband devices such as DSL or cable modems.
Other optional accessories will include a keyboard and mouse for various Internet applications.
Standard items will include a 600MHz processor, which powers the Indrema console (although the exact CPU manufacturer was not identified). The platform is based on Red Hat's special "DV Linux" operating system, enabled with 64MB of fast memory.
In addition, the system will permit downloading MP3 music files onto the hard drive or a connected portable MP3 player.
Ultimately, Indrema envisions users accessing the Internet to tie in with other gamers for multiplayer gaming. Although the plan is to offer initial game titles in package media form, eventually, the company plans to offer titles online, which players will be able to download to the hard drive resident in their player.
The product, which Indrema has code-named the L600, initially will be targeted to hard-core video gameplayers and is expected to carry a $299 suggested retail price.
The company said it was no coincidence that the price point matches that asked for Sony's new PlayStation2 terminals. Indrema is going after the PS2 audience, a company spokesman said, by offering more capabilities in the hardware, which it expects will lead to the development of more compelling game titles.
Indrema expects to sell the product direct to consumers, as well as through retail partners. The company said it is currently working on a variety of approaches to market the product, including the enlistment of a major consumer electronics brand to both build the hardware and distribute the product through its own distribution partners.
Indrema believes it can capture the hard-core gameplayer audience with advanced platform capabilities on the hardware side, and an open development policy on software that will make it attractive for third-party game developers to write programs for the platform.
Indrema said it expects to have 30 game titles ready at launch.
According to the spokesman, Indrema is looking for a service partner for a personal video recorder system.
First players will come with an extensive jack pack, including four USB ports, one optical digital audio output, one set of HD component video outputs and one S-video output.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.