Indrema has provided the following status update and clarification concerning issues of game development and licensing, development tools, plans for games, and expected availability of the Indrema Entertainment System itself (i.e., the game console). This message initially appeared as a posting on the LinuxDevices.com discussion forum, which you can access here.
For those unfamiliar with the Indrema system, the Indrema Entertainment System (IES) is a set-top device that converts a TV into a high-end gaming system. The device is packaged in a sleek enclosure with the look and feel of a top-of-the-line VCR. It offers a choice of dialup or broadband Internet access (it has a built-in 10/100 mb Ethernet controller), and comes with a game controller. The embedded computer is based on a high-end x86 processor, plus 64MB RAM and up to a 50 GB hard disk. High speed graphics is generated by means of an upgradeable plug-in module, which initially uses an NVIDIA GPU. The embedded operating system is DV Linux, an open source Linux port targeted to gaming systems.
My name is Karen McNeil, and I'm here to try to answer some of your questions about Indrema. I do public relations work for Indrema, and I've been working with them for about six months.
First off, the certification issue. Originally, the plan was that all software designed for the IES -- commercial, freeware, open source, etc. -- would have to be certified by Indrema, with a one-time fee (for freeware) of somewhere between $50 and $200. The commercial software would have a (most likely) higher certification fee, as well as having to pay per-game royalties. Non-certified games will not run on the console. As one of you hinted at, the IES console is sold at a loss, and Indrema's profits will be made from software licensing fees -- a revenue stream which will be enforced by the certification system.
Now, I say "originally," because Indrema has since reconsidered this plan. After extensive feedback from the open source community (most of whom were concerned about the conflicts of certification with the bazaar development model), Indrema has decided to change the freeware / Open Source portion of the certification plan to better accommodate independent developers, particularly Open Source developers. There has been a long, drawn out discussion on this issue -- many people have given their suggestions and preferences, and John is considering all the options. (John = John Gildred, Indrema CEO.) This dialogue has been taking place on the Indrema mailing lists, so if you'd like to find out more about what's going on with that, or put in your own suggestions, I suggest you join the list. (And if you do plan to join, you should read a bit of the recent archive to see where everyone's at right now and what's already been discussed.) Here's how:idn.indrema.com). The SDK which is currently available is everything you need to produce a game, although additional features are going to be added soon. So that's one major tool which is free to everyone. Additionally, Indrema will be offering a special version of CodeWarrior to it's developers. The price on that hasn't been definitely set, but we're expecting it to be free or close to it.
On the subject of games: Indrema expects to launch the first IES product in late spring with around 30 titles available. Many of these will be ports of games which are available on other platforms, but some will be brand new games, with a few which are exclusive to Indrema. We haven't made any official announcements of developers or titles, but you can expect us to within the next month or two. We have received a great amount of interest from development houses of all sizes, including major ones, and expect to launch with many titles from these houses, but we're just not at the point where we can make official announcements yet. (I know it seems like announcing what you already know should be a simple thing, but it's actually very complicated.) So if everyone will just be patient for a little while longer, you'll get answers on this front. And, again, we expect the IES to be available for around $299.
I hope I've answered most of your concerns here. If you have any more questions, you should join one of the mailing lists, since both John and I monitor those and answer questions whenever we can. For general questions, check out the FAQ and the [discuss] list. For certification questions, go to the [certification] list. If you're a programmer, artist, musician, etc. and are interesting in joining a game development project, go to the [games] list. And, if you want to discuss the tools available for Indrema, go to the [iesdk] list. All of these lists can be accessed from the IDN website.
Hope to be hearing from you . . . .
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