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Gizmondo price drop

by Nick Haywood on 12 April 2005, 00:00

Tags: 3Com, Gizmondo

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabcj

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Gizmondo in sensible marketing move shock!

Gizmondo in sensible marketing move shock!



Ok, so perhaps I’m being a little acidic there but you have to admit that Gizmondo’s marketing has been poor at best.

I’ve been watching this little gadget for a while now and I’ve always been impressed by the features packed into such a small unit and after getting an update at CeBIT 2005, it looked as those the Gizmondo crew had thoroughly made use of all their gadget’s capabilities.

Besides the 1.3 Mega pixel camera, Windows Media Player, MMS, SMS, GPS and GPRS, the Gizmondo’s graphics are powered by NVIDIA and the whole thing had shrunken to a surprisingly small package but lost none of it’s features. It looked to be a sure fire winner as we reported here.

Except nobody had heard of it.

Yep, by talking to people outside of the games industry, I got the distinct impression that Gizmondo had spent so much time telling everyone in the industry they forgot to tell anyone else… and that anyone else includes the all important end user… you.

So what happened come launch day? Well, Gizmondo opened up a store in Regents Street, London, and had a huge bash with celebs popping out of the woodwork all over the place at a reported cost of £800,000.

At £229 a pop, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Gizmondo would need to shift roughly 3,500 units in a fairly short space of time to break even on their opening bash. So how many units did they reportedly have for sale on opening day? Erm… 1,000. Yep, even though they managed to sell all 1,000 units in about 4 hours, the money they made wouldn’t have even covered Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay’s fees for showing his face at the bash.

So, now we have the scenario of a bit of kit that has been in development for almost as long as Duke Nukem, has more features than the cockpit of a 747 (and those are damn fine features) but, sadly, is as well known as an extra from Eastenders. This, in my opinion is criminal.

The Gizmondo, on paper, is a superb machine that should pretty much sell itself. GPS for under £250? I’d buy one just for that! But then you’ve got the multitude of other functions as well and they fact that every feature has been fully exploited only makes the Gizmondo even more desirable.

Using the GPS, the Gizmondo is pretty much theft proof as a stolen unit can be tracked constantly… Or you can send a distress signal over the GPS and get someone to come get you armed with knowledge of exactly where you are… You can use the GPS to play games, and fight a real turf war to win territory in the proprietary game Colors. All of these features make the Gizmondo a must have unit… if you can get one, that is.

Another feature making full use of the GPS is Smart Adds, by which a advert is downloaded to the Gizmondo up to a max of three times a day. They don’t intrude on use and will sometimes contain special offers, or be activated if you’re near a retailer supplying the brand featured in the advert

Now, at last, it would seem that the Gizmondo crew have woken up to the fact that damn near everyone who isn’t ‘in the trade’ hasn’t got the faintest idea what Gizmondo is. It seems that they’re finally ready and willing to push what should be the best handheld on the market.

In an effort to drive pick up, Gizmondo are now offering the unit at the knockdown price of £129, a whopping £100 less than the launch price just a few weeks ago. These units differ from the standard £229 ones in that you don’t have a choice about the Smart Adds, you get the unit with it already enabled, but to be honest, three 30 second long TV quality adverts are no great hardship, especially as they wait until you’ve finished what you’re doing before being shown.

The real question though, is why have Gizmondo taken this step only weeks after launching? Could it be that companyies that have signed up to Smart Adds aren’t happy with an audience of just a few hundreds (on a standard unit, you can opt to not have Smart Adds at all)? Or could it be that Gizmondo have realised that the DS, though not nearly as feature rich beats them firmly on price and has a strong games catalogue made even bigger by backwards compatibility with GBA carts? And let’s not forget the PSP, which even at import prices is still competitive and has the might of Sony and all the developers falling over themselves to get a game out on it.

Perhaps, finally, the penny has dropped that unless you tell the general public about a product, no matter how pant wettingly good it is, it isn’t going to sell. Here’s hoping that Gizmondo haven’t left it too late and still have some coppers in the kitty for an advertising campaign worthy of what the unit can do, otherwise you can file the Gizmondo under the same heading as Betamax Videos: A great product killed by rotten marketing.

Check out the full press release here and why not add your thoughts in the HEXUS.game-news Forum?