Another "crash" for Gizmondo

This week there was another twist in the bizarre story of the ill-fated Windows CE 5.0 powered Gizmondo gaming device.

You might have heard the news about a million dollar Ferrari Enzo crashing in Malibu California with someone claiming to be the passenger stating that the driver left the scene on foot! Well it turns out that this "passenger" was the owner of the car and the former Executive Director of Gizmondo.

While the whole story is yet to be told, here's what we do know about both the crash of the Ferrari and the crash of Gizmondo…

First there's Gizmondo: I went to a press party for the announcement of this new handheld gaming device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas two years ago.

While I'm not a "gamer", I was impressed with the technical specifications of this "soon to be launched" device. It seemed to have everything: a color display with a 3D graphics processor, MP3 player, MPEG4 video player, digital camera, GPS (not for navigation, but for "location-based-services") Bluetooth for multi-player gaming, GSM/GPRS tri-band wireless phone, and SMS/email messaging! And of course, it used the latest Windows CE 5.0 operating system which would potentially allow for incredible games and other applications software.

There was just one small problem with it: In order to get the game developers to write titles for it, they needed a large installed base of consumers. However, in order to get distribution of the devices, they needed a large library of game titles. This is a typical "Catch-22" and only companies with huge names like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have ever been successful in pulling this off.

Somehow the executives at Gizmondo were able convince their backers that they could succeed where even companies like Nokia have failed, since they were able to get lots of money to fund this company.

Perhaps if the company spent the money on game titles instead of on lavish executive perks - such as a $100,000 car allowance for Executive Director Stefan Eriksson - then maybe (just maybe) neither the company nor the Ferrari would have crashed.

But then again, perhaps both events were preordained. That might be because about the time that Eriksson quit the company, a Swedish newspaper claimed that they discovered that years before he was convicted of counterfeiting and served time in prison for it. Of course if the counterfeiting allegation is really true, then it's a wonder that Gizmondo couldn't find a way to keep from getting over one hundred million dollars in debt!

As for the crash of the Ferrari… Eriksson allegedly has only been able to provide the LA Sheriffs with the first name of the man he claims was driving when the Ferrari crashed while racing at 120mph on the famous Pacific Coast Highway (PCH.) I don't know about you, but if I gave the keys to my million dollar car to someone, I would at least know his last name! While the sheriff hasn't "officially" said they don't believe the story, apparently, they did say they are not currently looking for the man known only as "Dietrich".

Somehow, I have a feeling that for Stefan Eriksson, like for the investors in Gizmondo - it's "game over".

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