by Ronnie Dungan
Vivid Imaginations is about to enter the console market in a joint venture with Nikko, launching a new portable entertainment centre incorporating, games, MP3, video and digital imaging technology.
Launching in September this year, digiBLAST is a joint venture programme with Nikko, GP Group and Vivid. Targeted at children aged 6-13, Vivid says digiBLAST will be the first portable entertainment system on the market offering video, gaming, MP3 and digital photo capability in one console.
The unit will also have playback connectivity through normal TV screens when required and each unit will come with a starter cartridge including five Atari Classic games and an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.
Over 10 software titles will be available in the first year retailing at around £11.99, with more titles later in 2006 . Software will be targeted at both sexes as will console colours to maximise the market opportunity. Properties signed up so far include Spider-Man, Yu Gi Oh, X-Men, The Fast and The Furious, Tony Hawk, Atari, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Totally Spies and WinX.
The digiBLAST launch will be supported by a major TV advertising campaign, PR, sponsorship and POS. The base unit will retail for around £69.99 and software at around £11.99. Software to hardware sales ratios of 5:1 are expected. Due to stock limitations Vivid is restricted to selling a maximum of 110,000 consoles pre-Christmas but with software and accessory purchases expects it to equate to a retail value of over £12 million.
"Vivid is heavily investing in the digiBLAST brand because it offers longevity and big volumes for both retailers and ourselves. Pricing, functionality, styling and software content are all perfectly targeted," said Vivid managing director Paul Weston.
"We know the competition is out there but coming in later with a superior product is a distinct advantage in this sector."