Panasonic's Jungle is inching towards release, entering an invite-only beta phase in the US.
Panasonic's first entry into the console market since the ill-fated 3DO, the MMO-themed Jungle, looks set to launch imminently, with US users invited to take part in a beta test process.
The console, which was hinted at back in October with a low-resolution video on a teaser site
, is said to offer on-the-go access to popular MMOs in a hand-held form factor - including, the company announced, the sci-fi themed MMORPG Battlestar Galactica Online.
Although the company is still keeping its cards very tightly to its chest, an e-mail was recently sent to US customers inviting them to take part in a closed beta process to test the device and see how well it copes with the unique requirements of MMO games - a genre which has never translated particularly well to consoles.
, which has seen a copy of the e-mail, reports that Panasonic has claimed to be "doing something very different
" in the hand-held market, stating that it knows "other companies out there have traditional hand-held gaming covered
Sadly, the e-mail did not include any hints as to when the device is likely to fully launch, or how much Panasonic - which last entered the gaming market with the supremely expensive 3DO back in 1993 - will be looking to charge for the device.
Do you think that the promise of on-the-go access to MMO gaming will be enough for Panasonic to break into a market ruled by Nintendo and Sony, or is the Jungle destined to be as big a flop as the 3DO? Share your thoughts over in the forums