Does the world need another video game console? The executives at Lenovo believe so, and appear to be working pretty hard at achieving their goal.
Earlier this month, Lenovo created a separate company, Beijing eedoo Technology Ltd., for the purpose of developing and marketing their motion-sensing Ebox gaming system.
Similar to Microsoft’s Kinect, eedoo’s Ebox will use a camera to plot and track players’ movements on-screen without the need for an in-hand game controller. However, games will likely be more family-oriented than many of Xbox’s popular titles, making the new console more of a rival for the Nintendo Wii market.
“We are the world’s second company to produce a controller-free game console, behind only Microsoft,” said Jack Luo, President of Beijing eedoo Technology. “Our product is designed for family entertainment. Ebox may not have exquisite game graphics, or extensive violence, but it can inspire family members to get off the couch and get some exercise.”
Luo is projecting a slow, but successful, start for the Ebox with an expectation of 1 million units to be sold annually by the time the console has been in production for three years.
The purpose of the Ebox is to fill the demand for gaming entertainment in China, where importing game consoles has been banned since 2000 due to fears of the effects of video games on the nation’s children. Though the Xbox is manufactured in China, Microsoft has been unsuccessful thus far in convincing regulators to allow sales of the system within the country’s borders.
It appears that there will be no shortage of content for the Ebox when it’s ready to hit the consumer market. So far, 16 video game developers from around the world have signed contracts with eedoo to produce content for the console. Additionally, the company is planning on providing 30 games free with the purchase of a system.
The Ebox may begin selling as early as this November, but will likely appear in stores sometime during the first quarter of 2011. Pricing has not yet been set, but according to Luo it is expected to retail for more than Nintendo’s Will, but lower than Microsoft’s $299 Xbox.
Will Lenovo find success in their new venture? I can’t honestly see the system gaining much ground outside of China, with the exception of a cult following by game collectors. However, it will depend on the quality of the system and whether developers come up with something different or simply re-package what already exists for the consumption of a country sealed away from the free world.