The Gizmondo was launched in 2005 by Tiger Telematics (not to be confused with Tiger Electronics, developers of Game.com and R-Zone) and took on the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. It had unique features such as Bluetooth, a 1.3-megapixel camera, SMS & MMS, GPS, and GPRS. Only 25,000 units were ever sold in its short, 1-year long lifespan which makes it the worst selling handheld console of all time.
Why It Flopped
- Limited advertising in the United States with only eight games that were released in the region.
- The Gizmondo cost US$400/£229 at launch. You could buy it for $229/£129, with the downside of having to watch so called "Smart Adds" [sic]. Yes, you'd be forced to watch advertisements, which would be loaded into the system, to subsidize the cost (though, luckily, the ad servers never went online during the console’s lifespan). Its competitors, the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS went for $249.99 and $149.99, respectively.
- It was mostly sold in shopping mall kiosks. As such, it was hard to find, as it wasn't sold in game stores.
- Stefan Eriksson, one of the people involved in its development and Carl Freer, the founder and CEO of Tiger Telematics, had criminal records in the past that surfaced a year after they resigned from Tiger Telematics and after the Gizmondo was released.
- Shortly after the Gizmondo was released, Freer announced a wider screened Gizmondo, which may have made gamers hesitant to purchase the original. This wider screened Gizmondo was never released.
- Only 14 games were released for the system before Tiger Telematics went bankrupt.
- Believe it or not, some of the games were never released, like the GTA-esque game Colors.
- The chassis that was used for it was a rubber case with no plastic underneath, meaning that this console is slowly melting with time.
- Sticky Balls is the best game on the system. Sticky Balls was also released on iOS in 2014. Due to the game's popularity on iOS, it came with a sequel.
- With only 8 or 14 games, it's very easy to get the entire library of the Gizmondo.
- The console has a ton of features ahead of its time, including Bluetooth, SMS, and GPS. It actually has quite a bit in common with the PlayStation Vita in terms of features.
- Speaking of the $299 version, Tiger never activated the system that played the advertisements, meaning that you could essentially save $100 by buying this version.
- The phonebook and SMS features required a SIM Card, fortunately one came free with the system meaning you will save money rather than having to buy one yourself.
Because only 25,000 units were sold, Gamepro called it the worst selling handheld of all time and in 2007, Gametrailers listed it as the worst console of all time.