It could have been worse for Apple: It could have tried the reverse approach to mobile gaming.
Gizmondo was a company built around the notion that a mobile phone/PDA -- remember when PDAs weren't just awkward makeout sessions in highly visible spaces? -- could be a secondary function of a handheld gaming console. Yes, they actually wanted you to carry around something that looked like a Nintendo Wii U controller and use it as your phone or traveling secretary.The company that produced it, Tiger, not only wanted you to pay $230 for it, but to sit through commercials before playing. You don't want to endure ads, you say? Then cough up $400 for an ad-free version. Though the Gizmondo impressed at CES in 2005, consumers were less than thrilled by the price and a catalog of games that numbered little more than a dozen and spent much of the console's life on the "to be released" list. Only about seven ever hit shelves in the U.S. The results were disastrous. Only 25,000 sold. The unit's Bluetooth connectivity for multiplayer gaming was rendered useless by the fact that nobody owned one. Its GPS capability was hampered by awful mapping. To make matters worse, the company announced months after releasing the first Gizmondo that a better, widescreen version with Wi-Fi and a port for television display was on the way. Gamers stopped buying the old console, the new one never materialized and the Gizmondo was discontinued in 2006 when the company making it went under. In 2008, one of the company's partners announced there would be a Gizmondo 2, but that never came to pass, either. The ideas behind this console had a lot of potential, but Nintendo, Sony and even Apple eventually executed them better. The Gizmondo, meanwhile, is considered one of the biggest tech busts of all time.
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