A day before I wrote this piece about the launch of the CT510 and how the console is nowhere to be found in Beijing, I sent an email to the folks at eedoo, the company that makes the device. Yesterday, eedoo’s Victor Wang finally got back to me, and the answers to my questions do clear up a few things about the CT510, although they also raise some new questions. What follows are his answers translated verbatim from the Chinese, and unedited.
Why did eedoo change the name from iSec to the CT510?
We were calling the iSec a ‘motion-sensing entertainment device,’ but in the development process we discovered that the scale and number of games required for an entertainment device is very high, and [games'] demands on the [operating] system are also very high. We currently don’t have the ability to develop and release an entertainment device that would satisfy gamers and the public. In exploiting platform technology we already have to release an ‘eedoo online multimedia motion-sensing device,’ we’re emphasizing the motion-sensing and internet apps, and weakening its appeal as a games/entertainment device. This is in accordance with our Chinese family demographic: women, and middle aged people. For the time being, we won’t try to cater to core gamers.
The ‘eedoo online multimedia motion-sensing device‘ is being called the ‘eedoo motion‘ for short. The English name for this is a OMMS (Online Multi-Media Set-of-box) [sic] and the product model is the CT510. We will continue to research the needs of core gamers, acquire technology, and release the iSec at an appropriate time.
How has the market responded to the device since the launch?
The market and gamers have been following the launch very closely. We have our first ‘experience store’ in Beijing’s Shiji Jinyuan, and the atmosphere is very good, with consumers experiencing and buying the device.
The reaction of retailers has also been very lively, there are over 200 distributors nationwide who are currently involved in discussions with us.
Why did the price go up by 799 RMB ($126) [compared to the announced price from last year]?
The ‘eedoo motion’ has never been officially on sale before now, and the official price of the device now is 3799 RMB (~$600), therefore, there has been no so-called price increase.
Are you not concerned the price is too high? For $600 consumers could buy two Xboxes with Kinect…
We know that many gamers will compare international products at their gray market prices [with our device], and we understand this.
Gray market products are not officially on the market, they are not taxed, the games and content are pirated, there is no after-sales service, etc. We can’t compare prices with the gray market; there’s no way to compete.
But if we compare with international products using Amazon.com prices, we can see an Xbox with Kinect and one or two bundled games sells for $400 [Note: it appear's he's referring to the 250 GB Xbox 360 Kinect Value Bundle, which comes with two bundled games]. Because of differences in the [game] distribution model, Xbox games are distributed on CDs, and Kinect games go for about $30, so six additional games would cost $180. In total, that’s close to $600, so the prices are the same. Eedoo’s target demographic is middle and upper-class families in China, and the device includes eight bundled games and ten pre-installed online apps. The games have content covering martial arts, dance, exercise, sports, relaxation, and other motion games. The online services include streaming video, online karaoke, Disney English, and interactive educational stuff for kids. In the future we will also have an app store to download updates and additional content. Plus there’s the Fanhome OS, a dual-core processor, 250 GB of HDD space, wifi, and after sales service to guarantee the reliability of the product. The ‘eedoo motion’ is a special domestic product created independently, the first in the Chinese market, with a strong ability to compete.
Of course, there will be a process required for many consumers to recognize a product like this, so we will continue and strengthen our brand promotion and sales, and expanding into new channels, for example video ads, online community plans, family sporting competitions, etc., to let more consumers know about the product and understand the value of eedoo. We believe that Chinese family consumers will quickly achieve health and happiness thanks to the ‘eedoo motion.’
So, there you have it. The iSec isn’t dead, just resting, and the CT510 isn’t a game console, it just happens to come bundled with eight games. While I have some, ahem, disagreements with some of what the folks at eedoo have said here, it’s nothing I haven’t stated before. Now that they’ve finally given me an address where I can play the thing, though, I’ll be getting out there at the first opportunity to put the CT510 through its paces firsthand and see if it lives up to eedoo’s hype, lives down to my extreme skepticism, or falls somewhere in the middle. I’m looking forward to it.