Gizmondo unveils 'adverts-for-consoles' scheme

Cheaper hardware in return for being sold to

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If you fancy one of those Gizmondo handheld games consoles but you're not so keen on the £229 price tag, the company behind it may soon help you out.

Gizmondo Europe will knock £100 off the price of the machine if - and it's a big 'if' - you allow yourself to have advertising sent to your console three times a day.

The ads, which consist of videos transmitted over the console's GPRS connection, only appear when the user visits the Home screen. To sweeten the pill further, Gizmondo promised this "value added service" would incorporate a range of offers, such as sales discounts, free music and movie downloads, and merchandise.

The company pledged the ads would be highly relevant to each user, with delivery driven by personal details entered by consumers. So not only must you agree to have all this advertising inflicted upon you, you have to cough up some highly marketable personal demographic data into the bargain.

"Squarely focused on the MTV generation with similar tones and relevance to that particular audience, owners of this model will not receive ads for washing up liquids, tax-return reminders, or stair-lifts," the company said in a call to Nathan Barleys everywhere.

The first ads-funded Gizmondos will go on sale on 22 April, with the first ads being beamed out on 2 May. If you've already bought one of the consoles, you can opt into the ad-beaming scheme, for which you'll receive an "electronic voucher" entitling you to "stereo headphones instead of the earbuds; a recordable 128MB recordable [sic] SD card containing demos of games, films and music; a free copy of Trailblazer; and a voucher for the first ever GPS game, Colors".

These are part of the Value 'Smart Adds' [sic] pack Gizmondo will offer for £199, alongside the standard £129 'Smart Adds' console, which lacks these... er... goodies.

Gizmondo said both ad-backed packages will go on sale overseas as and when the console is launched there, in "Spring 2005".

Crucially, the 'service' is "not available on any other device". Which, we'd say, is good news for the customers of Sony, Nintendo, Tapwave et al. ®

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