Gizmondo beef up with Disney and Sega

Since we first brought news of the Gizmondo gaming console to you in June 2004 it has been coming on leaps and bounds.

Not only is the Gizmondo a handheld games platform, but it’s also able to play music and video; has GPRS, Bluetooth and GPS built-in to it; works as a wireless email and SMS client; and has a digital camera built in. All for an expected $399 in the US or £229 in the UK.

While this is all very lovely, it’s common knowledge that what keeps a gaming machine alive beyond the spec sheet is the games it runs. Tiger Telematics, who have developed and sell the Gizmondo, are developing their own original software, having bought two software developers Indie Studios and latterly Warthog Games in October 2004, but they are also wisely doing deals with other companies.

The fruit of these now-combined studios, renamed Gizmondo Studios, will be nine titles; City; Colors; Johnny Whatever; Sticky Balls; Fallen Kingdoms; Momma, can I mow the lawn?; Milo and the Rainbow Nasties; Furious Phil; and Future Tactics.

A three year deal with Disney should bring their games to the Gizmondo platform. The initial fruits of the deal will be Tron 2.0. Developed in-house by Gizmondo, the contract also “envisions for four additional titles to be determined by mutual agreement”. The agreement has the Gizmondo paying a minimum guarantee totalling $100,000 for the Tron 2.0 property over three years. Four other titles could also be developed under the deal.

Tiger Telematics have also signed a letter of intent with Taiwan-base Digital Media Cartridge Ltd, hoping to bring many of the classic Sega video games to the platform. Currently this deal looks a little less certain that the Disney deal, but the games being discussed include Sonic the Hedgehog, Outrun, Golden Axe, Altered Beast and Shinobi.

As an icing on the cake, our friends at CNET declared the Gizmondo a finalist in the Next Big Thing awards.

The Gizmondo soft launched by taking pre-orders in the UK in October 2004, and should be in UK shops in February 2005 priced at £229. The online capabilities will be provided using a Gizmondo-branded Pay As You Go (PAYG) service.