Envizions entering with an all-in-one console costing more than PS3.
Visions of the Phantom Game Console circle in my head while reading Kotaku's note about an announcement release for Evo: Phase One, a "media entertainment console" from Envizions Computer Entertainment that reportedly turns a computer, media center and PC gaming into a single machine. Evo: Phase One is currently scheduled for a release during Q4 2006 (a.k.a. by the end of the year).
Before the fanboys get their panties in a bunch, Envizions does not appear to be attacking the same market as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. Their press release makes clear they're designing a cheap media PC that's meant to hook into their online game store, where consumers can download the latest games -- Tomb Raider: Legend and Hitman: Blood Money being the newest we noticed -- straight onto their console.
"Evo will be one of the first true gaming hybrid consoles that will be built -to-order with few restrictions, but at the same time offer a platform that will constantly evolve to suit the customer's need," said CEO and founder Derrick Samuels in the release. "Evo is a computer but it will also provide the entire family the opportunity to access the different applications throughout the home via wireless network."
The console certainly won't be too shabby when it comes to powering games with its bundled Sapphire RADEON HDMI X1600 featuring 128MB DDR3 memory, an 80GB hard drive and a single wireless controller, but marketing it as a console would probably be an ill-fated move considering its anticipated retail price of $679.99. Sony's already struggling to convince people PlayStation 3's worth $80 less, and they constantly refer to PS3 as more of a computer than strictly a game console.
Though Envizion's online game store currently features "over 1,600" games, Infinium took the same approach with their Phantom game console, struggling to keep the concept together for years amidst constant financial troubles, and we still haven't seen it come to fruition. We've sent out a request to talk with Derrick Samuels about their plans, though, so hopefully we'll learn more soon.