Zeebo

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This article is about the game console. For the company that manufactures it, see Zeebo Inc.. For the fictional character, see List of To Kill a Mockingbird characters. For the iCarly character, see iCarly (season 1).
Zeebo System
Zeebo sphere logo.png Zeebo logo.png
Zeebo-Real Console.jpg
A Zeebo console wrapped in plastic and its power connector
Manufacturer Zeebo Inc.
Product family Zeebo
Type Video game console, Microconsole
Generation Seventh generation era[1][2][3]
Retail availability

June 25, 2009 (Brazil)
November 10, 2009 (Mexico)
2010 (Russia & India)

2011 (China)
Discontinued September 30, 2011
Media Digital distribution
CPU ARM11 clocked at 528Mhz
Storage 1 GB NAND flash
Graphics ATI Imageon
Controller input 6-button dual analog gamepad
Connectivity

1 SD card slot
3 USB 2.0 ports
3G HSUPA
2.5G EDGE

2G GPRS
Online services ZeeboNet on Claro 3G (Brazil)
Telcel (Mexico)

Zeebo is a 3G-enabled entertainment and education system from Zeebo Inc. It enables users to play video games, and also connect to the Internet, communicate online and run educational applications. The Zeebo is targeted at developing markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and Mexico.[4][5][6] Zeebo Inc. says that the Zeebo brings "the fun and excitement of interactive entertainment and education to those who—until now—have had little or no access to such technology."[7]

Overview[edit]

The company's stated intention was to create an affordable console with inexpensive games and educational content delivered via wireless digital distribution to circumvent piracy.[8] There are no DVDs and cartridges; games and other content are downloaded wirelessly over broadband cellular networks.[9] In addition to games, the Zeebo system also provides Internet connectivity, enabling users to access educational and information content, communicate via e-mail and do social networking (this capability is currently supported in Brazil and Mexico).[10][11][12]

Zeebo has attracted a growing list of content from companies such as Activision, Capcom, Digital Chocolate, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Fishlabs, Flying Tiger, Gamevil, G-Mode, Glu, id Software, Limbic Software, Namco, Polarbit, Popcap, Twelve Interactive and Vega Mobile.[13][14][15][16][17]

History[edit]

The Zeebo was first announced in November 2008 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and went on sale there in limited quantities on June 1, 2009 with a suggested retail price of 499,00 Brazilian reais.[6][18] In September of the same year, the price was cut to R$399,00,[19] and the price was reduced again in November to R$299,00 (~170USD).[20] The console was distributed nationwide in Brazil in December 2009. By August, 2010, there were approximately 40 games launched for Zeebo in Brazil. On September 1, 2010, Zeebo announced that it was adding new capabilities and accessories to the Zeebo in Brazil, including Internet connectivity, a keyboard and new more ergonomic gamepad. The new Brazilian system configuration is priced identical to the previous one: R$299 (~170USD). The company announced that Brazilian owners of previous system configurations can upgrade to the new one for free.[21][22]

The Zeebo was launched in Mexico in November 2009. It shipped to national retailers across the country on November 4, 2009, with a suggested price of 2,499 Mexican pesos (approximately $205 US). The Mexican system configuration is similar to that introduced in September, 2010 and includes Internet connectivity, a keyboard and ergonomic gamepad.[23] The price was cut to 2249 pesos (approx. $184 US) in April 2010.[24]

The Zeebo is available in Brazil, Mexico, and India. Reports indicated that the Zeebo was planned to become available in China by 2011.[25][26]

Zeebo Inc. announced an agreement with AT&T in March, 2010. The company stated that "The agreement gives us access to AT&T's international roaming network, allowing us to carry out rapid trials of the Zeebo platform in new geographic areas as we establish longer-term agreements with local carriers for deployment of the system. It will also give us a chance to explore opportunities in the US market in the future."[27] However it appears that Tectoy has decided against the Zeebo and on its homepage now states that they are gearing towards a more educational market.

On May 27, 2011 Zeebo announced its end of operations in Brazil and Mexico.[28][29] According to the company, all games would undergo a price reduction and Zeebonet 3G would remain active until September 30, and all warranty services would be honored.[30] On the same day, on ZeeboNet 3G, a message was added to the details of the game "Turma da Mônica em Vamos Brincar" (Monica's Gang in Let's Play) stating that the game would be unavailable for purchase by the end of the day.

As of March 2014, Zeebo's home page still stated that the company was "currently working on a next generation Android-based platform for launch in 2012."[31]

Wireless capabilities[edit]

The Zeebo system was developed by Zeebo Inc. with the participation of 12 companies, mainly Qualcomm and Tectoy. It is manufactured and distributed by local partners in target countries (e.g., Tectoy in Brazil).[32] The console uses a Qualcomm BREW mobile gaming chipset similar to that in mobile phones. Players are able to buy and download games and other content wirelessly through 3G or EDGE.[33][34] The user is always connected to the wireless network without any subscription fee. Purchases are made through an online store using a virtual currency, Z-Credits. Zeebo's gaming delivery system reduces costs (with no discs or cartridges needed) and overcomes piracy barriers – two elements that have hindered sales of game consoles in developing markets.[35] Z-Credits are purchased by bank transfer, credit card, bank debit or prepaid cards. Games cost from about 500 to 2500 credits.

The console's wireless connectivity also allows users to browse web sites, send and receive e-mail and take part social networking activities via the wireless network. The Zeebo can also perform "over-the-air" (OTA) updates to the console's firmware—delivering new content, features and bug fixes.[36][37]

Accessories[edit]

Z-Pad[edit]

The standard Zeebo "Z-Pad" controller includes a total of 7 buttons, a D-Pad and two analog sticks. On the right side, there are four buttons (numbered 1–4); two shoulder buttons rest on the top, called ZL and ZR; at the center, there's a "Home" button, which takes the user back the start screen of the Zeebo interface, while functioning as a typical "Pause" button during games. Directly below this button are the two analog sticks, whereas the D-Pad is located at the leftmost side.[38]

Boomerang[edit]

Official Boomerang controller for Zeebo.

The Boomerang, sold by Tectoy in Brazil, is a wireless controller with a built-in accelerometer, using motion-sensing technology to play games with actual physical gestures.[39] It has a D-Pad, two buttons (labeled 1–2) on the top-left side, a "Home" button, a sliding on-off switch and a wrist strap. It requires two AA batteries as a power supply.

Keyboard[edit]

The Zeebo also includes an external keyboard, used with the system's web-browsing, email and social networking functions.[40]

Games[edit]

The Zeebo features remade versions of games from mobile phones and other consoles, such as FIFA 09, Resident Evil 4, Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D, Galaxy on Fire and Rally Master Pro.[41][42] There are also a number of original game titles developed specifically for the Zeebo, including “Zeebo Extreme” racing games, "Boomerang Sports" games, Zeebo "Football Club" games and Un Juego de Huevos (known as Um Jogo de Ovos in Brazil), an action-adventure game based on the hit Mexican animated film "Una Película de Huevos" from Huevocartoon.[43][44] In March 2010, Zeebo began releasing a series of classic arcade games. These games were originally created in the 1980s and 1990s by Data East Corp. in Japan and have been modified to run on the Zeebo system. The titles include Caveman Ninja (originally known as Joe & Mac), Spinmaster, Super Burger Time and Dark Seal (also known as Gate of Doom).[45]

In June, 2010, in advance of the World Cup, Zeebo released the first of its Football Club ("F.C") titles, Zeebo F.C. Foot Camp, developed by Zeebo Interactive Studios in Brazil. It includes four mini-games, each emphasizing a particular soccer skill, such as dribbling, juggling and goal-kicking. Along with Zeebo F.C. Foot Camp, the company released Zeeboids, an application that enables users to create personal characters ("avatars") to be used with the Football Club games.[46] Also in June, Zeebo announced a variety of forthcoming games from independent developers such as Digital Chocolate, Fishlabs, Limbic Software, Twelve Interactive and Vega Mobile.[16]

In Brazil, the Zeebo is sold with three free games embedded – FIFA 09, Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City and Brain Challenge (known in Portuguese as "Treino Cerebral").[41] Three other games, all in Portuguese, are available for free download with new systems: Prey Evil, Zeebo Extreme Rolimã and Zeebo Extreme Jetboard. More 30 other titles are available for purchase (via Z-Credits) and download.[44]

On September 1, 2010 Zeebo announced a number of new games and educational applications to be launched in 2010 and 2011. They include a new Zeebo Football Club game, called Zeebo F.C. Super League; a series of titles from Disney Interactive Studios, including Disney All Star Cards, Alice in Wonderland and Jelly Car 2; and a series of titles based on the popular Monica's Gang ("Turma da Monica") comic books in Brazil from cartoonist Mauricio de Sousa.[21][17][47]

In Mexico, the console includes five free embedded game titles (Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D, Pac Mania, Tekken 2, Zenonia and Zeebo Family Pack). More than a dozen games were available for wireless purchase at the time of the Mexican launch in November, 2009. More than a dozen more have since been introduced, all in Spanish.[48] Zeebo has also announced that the English language teaching company Interlingua will be developing entertainment and education applications for the console.[49][50]

In addition to games and educational content, the console provides access to more than 50 web sites, grouped in subject categories, called "Z-Channels."[23][12]

Technical specifications[edit]

  • Interface: USB HID
  • Power: AC adapter 5V 3A
  • Consumption: 15 W max.
  • Graphics: 4 million triangles / second
  • Audio: 8 channels simultaneous MP3, ADPCM, MIDI
  • Resolution: 640×480
  • Size: W × D × H – 157 × 215.4 × 44 mm
  • Weight: 1.3 kg (3 lb)

Development[edit]

Content for the Zeebo is based on the BREW platform and is created using the Zeebo SDK, downloadable from the Zeebo Inc. website. Gamepad peripherals are made possible by a BREW extension. The Zeebo system supports OpenGL ES 1.0/1.1. Applications are downloaded wirelessly over-the-air and commonly range in size from 5–25MB.[52]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Zeebo game console: Why it matters | The Digital Home - CNET News
  2. ^ Zeebo - the fourth game console? | Tech News on ZDNet
  3. ^ Ralph, Nate (March 25, 2009). "GDC: Zeebo To Bring Gaming to Emerging Markets". Wired. 
  4. ^ "Zeebo, console da Tectoy, quer competir com o PS2" (in Portuguese). 
  5. ^ "Zeebo Takes Wireless Gaming to Emerging Markets". 
  6. ^ a b "Zeebo History In Brief". [dead link]
  7. ^ "zeeboinc.com – Mission". 
  8. ^ "Zeebo Inc. Fact Sheet". [dead link]
  9. ^ "Invisible network concept helping Zeebo make a serious business out of wireless games". 
  10. ^ "Zeebo Partners with Opera to Bring the Internet Café into Emerging Market Living Rooms". [dead link]
  11. ^ "Zeebo é lançado oficialmente no Brasil" (in Portuguese). 
  12. ^ a b "Console de videogame Zeebo ganha acessórios e acesso à web" (in Portuguese). IDG Now!. 
  13. ^ "Gigantes do mercado de jogos credenciam Zeebo" (in Portuguese). 
  14. ^ "Zeebo: entrevista com Reinaldo Normand, da Zeebo Inc" (in Portuguese). [dead link]
  15. ^ "Youtube: Tectoy Digital Video Presentation". 
  16. ^ a b "Innovative Independent Publishers and Developers Bringing New Content to the Zeebo Platform". [dead link]
  17. ^ a b "Disney Mobile to Launch Popular Games on Zeebo System". Newswire. 
  18. ^ "Zeebo 3G Wireless Console Ships to Retailers in Brazil". BizSanDiego. 
  19. ^ "Zeebo Planning to Deliver More Games and Lower Console Price for Children's Day in Brazil". 
  20. ^ "Zeebo a R$ 299: agora vai?" (in Portuguese). 
  21. ^ a b "Zeebo Inc. Brings ʻLearn, Connectʼ Experience to Consumers in Brazil". Zeebo Inc. Announcement. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Big News From Brazil: Zeebo Adds Internet, Keyboard, New Controller". [dead link]
  23. ^ a b "Zeebo 3G-Connected Digital Gaming, Entertainment and Education Platform Ships to More Than 2,000 Retail Stores in Mexico". Reuters. November 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  24. ^ "Children's Day Sale on Zeebo Systems in Mexico". [dead link]
  25. ^ "Zeebo to Debut in Mexico in 2009". [dead link]
  26. ^ "The Zeebo game console: Why it matters". 
  27. ^ "Zeebo and ATT Agreement: Reaching Out to New Markets". [dead link]
  28. ^ "Zeebo, Inc". 
  29. ^ "Zeebo Inc. confirma fim do console brasileiro". 
  30. ^ "Preguntas" (in espanhol). Zeebo Mexico. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Zeebo, Inc". Archived from the original on 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  32. ^ "zeeboinc.com – Partners". 
  33. ^ Adrian Covert. "Tectoy Zeebo Gaming System Uses Free 3G Connection to Distribute Games". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  34. ^ Laura June. "Tectoy's Zeebo gaming console to run on 3G network in Brazil". Engadget. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  35. ^ "Zeebo Gaming for the "Next Billion"". Mobilesociety.typepad.com. April 10, 2009 in Games. Retrieved 2009-07-07.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  36. ^ "Zeebo to Debut in Mexico in 2009". Reuters. August 25, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  37. ^ "Qualcomm collaborates with America Movil to launch Zeebo in Mexico". 
  38. ^ "Zeebo User Information". 
  39. ^ "zeebo.com.br – Console" (in Portuguese). [dead link]
  40. ^ "Using Keyboards with the Zeebo". [dead link]
  41. ^ a b "Zeebo.com.br – Jogos" (in Portuguese). [dead link]
  42. ^ "Interview: Fishlabs talks Galaxy on Fire for hybrid console Zeebo". 
  43. ^ "Huevocartoon's Un Juego de Huevos Videogame Now Available Exclusively for the Zeebo System". [dead link]
  44. ^ a b "Zeebo Brazil Games". [dead link]
  45. ^ "G-Mode Co. Ltd. to Bring Classic Data East Arcade Titles to Next Billion Consumers". [dead link]
  46. ^ "Zeebo, Inc. Launches Zeebo F.C. Foot Camp Game and Zeeboids Avatar Application". [dead link]
  47. ^ "Coletiva novo Zeebo – Cobertura completa" (in Portuguese). Zeebo Brazil. 
  48. ^ "Zeebo in Mexico". [dead link]
  49. ^ "Popular Huevocartoon Characters to Come to Life in Videogames Developed forZeebo". Reuters. November 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  50. ^ "Zeebo Teams With Interlingua to Bring Language Training and Educational Content to Families in Mexico". Reuters. November 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  51. ^ Tectoy, Qualcomm Aim Emerging Video Game Markets with Zeebo. Zeebo Presents Gaming For The Next Billion // XBit Labs, Anton Shilov, 03/23/2009
  52. ^ "Zeebo Inc. Developers Page". 

External links[edit]