Zeebo console launches in Brazil, racks up a few publishers

theconsoleIs there room for yet another next gen console? Maybe not in the US or Japan, but how about Brazil? Upstart console makers Zeebo are counting on the fact that they can get into developing countries that maybe Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have ignored.

Of course, if you want to take on the big boys, you need to have support. Specifically, support from the game publishers, because no matter how great your console is, if the publishers don’t make games for it, you’re screwed. The good news for Zeebo is, they’ve managed to get some big names. EA Mobile, Namco Networks, THQ, and the 800 gorillia of the casual game market, PopCap have all signed on to support the Zeebo.

From the press release:

Zeebo Targets the Next Billion Gamers in Emerging Markets

SAN FRANCISCO, March 23 /PRNewswire/ — Capcom(R), EA Mobile(TM), Namco Networks, PopCap Games and THQ today announced their endorsement of Zeebo, the first affordable 3D videogame console designed specifically for emerging global markets. The innovative console will launch in Brazil next month. The console features secure 3G wireless game delivery and addresses the special requirements of these regions where current generation videogame consoles are expensive for the middle class and software piracy is rampant.

“We are humbled to have the support of these gaming industry giants,” said John F. Rizzo, CEO, Zeebo. “Content is critical for the launch of any new console platform and with the support from these influential publishers, and the long list of impressive brands they have to offer, we are well on our way to making gaming for the next billion a reality.”

“We are excited to partner with Zeebo on their visionary and ambitious global gaming initiative,” said Takeshi Tezuka, general manager of Mobile Contents Development, Capcom Co., Ltd. “The evolutionary combination of fast 3G wireless digital distribution and a simple yet elegant business model will open up new avenues to reach gamers directly with some of our top titles such as Street Fighter(R) Alpha.”

“Zeebo is an innovative partner in our efforts to reach consumers in emerging markets, we are supporting their launch in Brazil,” said Antonio Curi, EA Mobile. “We are supporting the Zeebo launch, offering Need for Speed Carbon and FIFA 09, which will feature a Portuguese voiceover.”

“Zeebo’s vision to bring gaming to the ‘next billion’ aligns well with our goal of bringing casual entertainment to consumers any time and any where,” said Scott Rubin, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Namco Networks America. “We are pleased to support Zeebo as they enable gaming in emerging markets around the world by publishing games like PAC-MANIA, Ridge Racer and Alpine Racer for the platform.”

“The emerging markets of the world have historically presented a very interesting dichotomy between a huge untapped consumer base and a very real piracy issue,” said Doug Clemmer, president of THQ Wireless. “Zeebo has solved this problem by providing THQ a direct path to deliver a great entertainment experience to consumers in emerging markets.”

Additional publishers and developers actively supporting the Zeebo console platform include Com2uS, Digital Chocolate, Gameloft, Glu, Id Software and Machineworks Northwest LLC.

For more information on the Zeebo videogame console please visit www.zeeboinc.com.

Mike Yuen from Qualcomm and John F. Rizzo from Zeebo will present “4 – Gaming for the Next Billion,” this morning at 10:30am PDT at Game Developers Conference Mobile in San Francisco in Moscone North, Room 134. On Tuesday, March 24 at 11:00am PDT, Rizzo will also participate on the panel, “How will startups and the industry giants wrestle over the future of games?” at the GamesBeat 2009 Conference at the Mission Bay Conference Center.