PHILIPS CD-I COMES OF AGE AS A GAME MACHINE AND MORE
CD-I Sales on the Rise Following Infotainment Blitz
Following a successful holiday commercial blitz, Philips CD-i seems finally to be gathering momentum as competition heats up with other CD-based platforms from The 3DO Company, Sega and Commodore. Sales of CD-i players outsold other CD-based systems during the last quarter of '93 by as much as 18 to 1. This is significant in a platform that has been slow to catch on. However, 1994 looks like a good year for CD-i owners, especially those interested in gaming.
--I Like Your Figure
According to figures presented by Philips at a special press event held at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (WCES), there are currently 300,000 CD-i units in consumers' hands. The goal for '94 is to bring the total number of units sold to 1,000,000! If this is reached, CD-i will be established at a viable growth point to insure its continued success. From the quality of titles shown at WCES, and based upon the newer value priced players being offered, this goal looks attainable. The reason for this growth is that Philips is finally pushing CD-i as an entertainment system, rather than as an edutainment and infotainment product only.
--Like, I Dig Your Hardware, Man
The cost of CD-i ownership has just dropped significantly with two new units being offered by Philips and Magnavox. The Philips CD-i 220 Player, supplied with a wireless remote Thumbstick controller, retails for $499. The Magnavox unit, the CD-i 200 Player, comes with the same remote for $399. Both accept Philips Digital Video Cartridge (DVC) providing full screen, full motion video for $249.95. Offering a new level of video quality in CD-i games and making access to Video CD and music videos a simple affair, the DVC is a must have accessory. At present, 30 movies are available on CD with hundreds more on the way from Paramount and MGM.
--Being in Full Control
In addition to the included remote, several other controllers are available.
Of course, there's that large, gaudy Roller Controller designed for kids.
However, several other devices are more worthy add-ons. New is the Touchpad, a joypad similar to those accompanying game consoles (it looks almost identical to the Gravis PC Gamepad) that is ideal for action titles. Two Touchpads can be used at one time for multiplayer games. Also new is the Trackerball, a trackball variation, and the Mouse and Mouse Pad. Still in development is a handy wireless remote gun controller, ideal for titles like Mad Dog McCree.
--It's All Fair Game
Of course, of greatest interest to us is the quality and quantity of game
titles in the works. Though games for CD-i are not as plentiful as those for
PC CD-ROM, there is still a large body of exciting titles in development with some presently available. Titles you can nab right now (with some set to ship imminently) include: Voyeur, Kether, Inca, Caesars World of Boxing, International Tennis Open, Escape from Cybercity, Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Mystic Midway: Rest in Pieces, Battleship, Alice in Wonderland, and Alien Gate. Many more titles are due to ship over the next few months.
--Brought to You by DVC
Several key games titles to watch for on CD-i require the new Digital Video Cartridge. These are: Mad Dog McCree, The 7th Guest, Space Ace, Microcosm, and Litil Divil. Of these games, Mad Dog, Microcosm and 7th Guest are the most visually stunning. The quality of the full screen, full motion video is unsurpassed on any CD platform at present. There is simply no comparison with the smoothness of movement and picture image that these CD-i titles provide. Yes, there is the additional cost of the DVC module, but the quality of game play is worth it. Besides, having the DVC will allow you to view Video CD movies.
--And the Titles Keep Rolling By
One other game shown in early development was Creature Shock. This title, featuring full 3D rendered graphics (of 3D Studio quality), was absolutely amazing. An action/adventure title, Creature Shock is the kind of game that will sell CD-i players. It looks that good! Yet, there are quality titles in development the DO NOT require the DVC. One in particular is Zelda's Quest. With the feel and game play of the original NES Legend of Zelda, this game will capture many gamers with its photorealistic imagery and design similarity to the aforementioned title. Zelda fans will find this title a must addition to their game library.
--What the Future Holds
Of course, the future of CD-i, and all the new platforms, is dependent on the percentage of market share gained and the overall acceptance of the platform by consumers. Though it is next to impossible to pick a winner in the CD-based player market at present, I believe that CD-i has as good a chance as any of succeeding, and a better chance than most. Time will certainly tell. However, if I were to buy any system right now (CD-i, 3DO, CD32, Sega CD/CDX, or Jaguar), dollar-for-dollar, I would probably go for CD-i. Still, I think I'll wait just a bit longer and see what develops by Summer of '94 at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show.
The previous article was taken from the Prodigy Interactive Service.
Anything relating to CD-i can be discussed in this forum. From the multiple hardware iterations of the system to the sofware including games, reference, music and Video CDs. Maybe you hold an interest in Philips Media and the many development houses set up to cater for CD-i if so then this is the forum.
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