GP2X handheld to sell 50,000 by Christmas

Should Sony and Nintendo be worried?

GP2X handheld to sell 50,000 by Christmas
N-Gage + DS + Game Boy ...

The UK distributor of the GP2X, the Linux-based handheld games and multimedia console, claims its machine has sold 30,000 units in less than nine months. That puts it ahead of its cult hit predecessor the GP32, not to mention the last newcomer to the handheld scene, the doomed Gizmondo console.

Furthermore the company expects to sell 50,000 units by Christmas, and plans to launch a 275mhz GP2X model offering improved performance.

"This really shows the power of the open source model – with a budget of orange peel and sticky tape we have managed to sell just over 30,000 units almost entirely on word of mouth alone," said Craig Rothwell of GP32/2x Distribution Ltd, who presumably hasn't been reading our previous coverage of the console, let alone anyone else's. Harrumph.

"The GP and Linux community have really got behind this console as the underdog and have been porting games and apps so fast smoke must be rising from their keyboards," he continued.

While we're always delighted to see new entrants in the handheld games space, other words that talk of scaring the 'big boys' is somewhat premature. The combined installed base of PSP and DS will probably reach five million by Christmas in the UK alone. That's hundred times that of the GP2X.

But this isn't a machine for those who want to run with the crowd. Rather, the open source system targets retro gamers and homebrew designers, and there are now an estimated 500 games, ports and applications available for download over the Internet. The GP2X also offers an alternative multimedia device, since it can act as a media player, an e-book and a photo editor.

And Rothwell says that the functionality is further enhanced by a break out board enabling the unit to be used as a mini Linux computer.

Finally, October 2006 will see the release of the first big budget commercial game to be released for the GP2X – a Grand Theft Auto homage, Payback.