In what’s beginning to become a crowded market, Scientific Atlanta have announced that they are working on a games console. No specifications have been released yet, but the company claimed the device could compete with current games consoles from Sony and Nintendo. Chief Executive James McDonald said their new product would offer “the same performance you get out of those game boxes.”
Scientific Atlanta do not expect their Explorer hardware to be available to buy on the high street but will instead be installed by cable operators in subscribers’ homes. Games will then be downloaded to the box on a pay-per-play or perhaps a “buy outright” charging scheme.
Set top box builders and suppliers are working on ever more sophisticated hardware to compete for the coveted space under your television – getting the most compelling media gateway into millions of homes is worth a lot of revenue.
It will be interesting to see how the new console compares with Infinium Labs’ notorious Phantom console, summarised here a few weeks ago. What content will be available for Scientific Atlanta’s new console? It’ll need a lot of software to be able to compete with the systems already in the market, and with the potentially huge library of adapted PC games available to the Phantom.
Also allegedly about to emerge is the DISCover Console – a PC based system that boasts of the simplicity of a console. It allows users to play games simply by dropping the disk in the DISCover’s drive, rather than having to install and configure each game. The DISCover may cause problems for both Infinium and Scientific Atlanta based on the technology they eventually use: their website claims “‘DISCover® technology is protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,721, 951: a “home entertainment system for playing software designed for play in home computers.’ No one can manufacture a game console that plays PC games without infringing on this patent.”