Sonyntendows, beware : Freebox now a game console

mot-bile 2009 - First a set-top box remote control looking strangely like those you play basic videogames with on a boring flight, then some new games, now a developer toolkit... the gaming war is definitely on between French MSOs, and Free-Iliad wanted to shoot first, ahead of Xmas and of likely anouncements by SFR & friends (Universal). Ahead of December the 17th, too, the date when regulator ARCEP is expected to deliver its verdict for France's last 3G license.

Freebox should by no means be likely to compete with Sonyntendows (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft). But as an enabler for low end gaming experiences, an emulator, it could have some impact. Game console manufacturers cannot expect to rule over The Big Screen as easily as they used to. Besides, The Big Screen is already as much a PC monitor as a game console monitor, when it's not already itself an internet enabled device.

The only question that seems to matter is the future of what is still called video game industry. Some day, players will have to move beyond the old PC/Mac - Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft - Java/BREW comedy. Without rejecting as false the choice between safety and ordeals.

More to come before Game Developers Conference 2010, next March in San Francisco.

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