It was launched recently in Brazil, and they plan to follow-up with launches in other developing countries, such as India and Russia. It operates on a card slightly larger than for a mobile phone. The idea is that it will download games over the 3G network instead of distributing by disc.
Here's a video on YouTube of the Zeebo:
You may ask, as my girlfriend did, what's so important about getting gaming consoles to the developing world? Well, probably benefits in at least three categories:
- Education. Educational games can be played on this, which is important for teaching skills not available. For some people this (and their phone) will be their main contact with a computer. This could be a great platform for teaching programing, language, or anything else that requires a skill-set and is hard to teach in a developing country.
- Work creation. Like the iPhone apps, this provides a venue for independent developers, at least for now.
- Proof of concept. If a project such as this is profitable, then it encourages others to develop technology for the developing world.