Problems just keep coming for handheld gaming company Gizmondo.
Last month we witnessed the bizarre PR fiasco [story here] of the company pre-announcing its next-generation widescreen console before the first-generation machine had been released in America – hardly a great way of ensuring a successful launch.
Now, just days after the US launch, three of the company’s senior European executives have quit after reports in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet alleged that two of them – Stefan ‘Fat-Stefan’ Eriksson and Peter Uf – were part of the 'Uppsala mafia' who received criminal convictions in the 1990s. Aftonbladet claims that Erikson received a ten-and-a-half year jail sentence following conviction for a range of offences including blackmail and physical assault.
Eriksson and Uf joined Gizmondo after the company bought Swedish games developer Indie Studios in 2004.
Although no suggestion of criminality has been directed toward him, Gizmondo Europe co-founder Carl Freer also tendered his resignation upon learning about the Aftonbladet article. A Gizmondo spokesman today told us that Freer intends to take legal action against the paper. The company denies any knowledge of Eriksson and Uf’s criminal activities prior to the report in Aftonbladet, despite carrying out background checks.
These woes will not go down well for Tiger Telematics, Gizmondo’s parent company, who recently announced a massive $99.2m loss last year.
The Gizmondo console has its fans – particularly now you can get a satellite-navigation package that makes use of its built-in GPS – but going head-to-head against Sony's PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo Dual Screen was never going to be easy. With management woes and decent software thin on the ground, things are looking increasingly bleak for the console.