Linux Game "System of Tomorrow" Ships in Two Weeks

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 19, 2008

Last month I wrote about the EVO Linux-based gaming console. The term "gaming console" seemed a bit misleading to me at the time -- it is ultimately where parent company Envizions Computer Entertainment would like the EVO to be -- but it is an early adopter system in the truest sense of the phrase.

The EVO Smart Console was originally scheduled for release on November 18th. It seems the FCC approval and testing process is taking longer than planned. Envizions expects the consoles to ship in the next two weeks. There are also two versions (in four configurations) available. Two versions? You guessed it -- Linux and Windows.

Honestly, the EVO's approach seemed a bit shaky, but I still hoped the model could be workable. It's not so much that customers and partners requested a Windows version of the hopeful Linux-based gaming system that surprises (or even disappoints) me. On some level, it's hard for me to fault Envizions for giving its customers and partners what they want -- until I realize that in doing so, it's apparent the company wasn't all that sold (or convinced) on the idea of a gaming console (Linux or otherwise) in the first place.

In this press release, Envizions CEO Derrick Samuels says that " offering two versions of the system it will make an easier transition for new customers to gradually experience the EVO Linux platform." That seems reasonable, people do buy hardware with Windows pre-installed and eventually switch to Linux.

The next statement makes me question how realistic the "users will switch to the EVO platform" is and how committed and viable the "Linux-based gaming console" idea was in Envizions' eyes: "The Windows EVO unit won't play our custom games but may support our download game platform."

I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that "custom games" means those developed for the Linux platform (which is still a lone future release of Hexxen II). I am assuming that the downloaded games that might be supported are those found on the EVO-Direct game site. If this is the case -- many (if not all) of the games there are available for Windows from the get-go.

The EVO Smart Console isn't solely about games, of course. But it doesn't offer anything more earth-shatteringly innovative than many other system builders provide. There's the promise of Linux games, and downloadable games for Windows. But Envizions' investment in the "Linux gaming" promise no longer feels remotely firm enough to get a foothold. And those buying the Windows version probably aren't doing so for the games offered now, and even less so for future game releases-- they're already using their consoles to that end.