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Gizmondo's Spectacular Explosion 57

Over at Wired, Randall Sullivan writes about the spectacular breakup of Gizmondo. The discussion of the short-lived portable console's reign begins, of course, with the well-known car accident: a perfect metaphor for an imploding company. The article goes on to discuss the sordid past of Bo Stefan Eriksson, and how his role with Gizmondo never stopped his collusion with some of society's more sordid elements. From the article: "It wasn't long before Eriksson imported his wingmen from the Uppsala Mafia. Johan Enander, who had served more than two years for crimes including grand theft and extortion, handled security for Gizmondo functions. Peter Uf, who had spent more than five years in prison for fraud, was named a Gizmondo director. The company opened a glass-fronted corporate headquarters next to Farnborough Airport, and expensive Ferraris and McLarens dotted the parking lot. To add to the glitter, in 2004 Gizmondo purchased a 75 percent interest in a London modeling agency called Isis, ensuring that there would be plenty of beautiful young women at its parties and events."
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Gizmondo's Spectacular Explosion

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  • and in the mag, the illustrations are awesome. However, I did feel that there's so much more information than presented. The story could have easily been a feature, but ended up being just another good Wired story...
  • To add to the glitter, in 2004 Gizmondo purchased a 75 percent interest in a London modeling agency called Isis, ensuring that there would be plenty of beautiful young women at its parties and events.

    I know that beautiful women unrelated to the product at hand are a time-honoured schtick in the industry (e.g. the "classic" E3 booth babes), but that really, really strikes me as unfathomably scuzzy.

    I guess it's like the old saying goes: if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, bamboozle 'em with bosoms.

    • Not the fact that the company's whole product was a game console wrapped around a GPS, where the actual game play was a secondary concern to getting kids to carry around a tracking device for their parents?

      I mean, "Momma, can I mow the lawn?" What kind of game title is that?
  • Now this sounds like a company to work for. Ferraris, models and a board room full of ex-cons. How did the nerds become so cool?
    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )
      They were never nerds to begin with, or they would've been able to produce a finished product.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Parafilmus ( 107866 )
      Since you ask, this is how it went down:

      Foreign Investors: "Hello, nerds. We are buying your studio. Please to create software for our device. We have lots of money."

      Nerds: "This prototype is sweet! This is going to be fun!"

      (several months later)

      Foreign Investors: "We are out of money. Please to close your studio now."

      Nerds: "How is that even possible? We had lots of money!"

      Foreign Investors: "We invested it."

      Nerds: "In what, pray tell, did you invest our entire budget?"

      • (Lest the "funny" tag cause confusion, I wish to clarify that the above is, in fact, a firsthand account.)
  • by BeeBeard ( 999187 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @02:04PM (#16308977)
    driving some ostentatious ride for the tiny-penised, and you secretly wished horrible things upon him? Well now your retribution can be realized--look no further. [wreckedexotics.com] The wreckedexotics.com site, referenced in the article, is just amazing.
    • The site you just linked is LITTERED with ZANGO infected files. Thanks, you moron.
    • Why do people automatically say that if someone drives a fast, expensive car that they have a small penis? It bugs me that people resort to name calling when in reality all they are is jealous over the fact that they can't afford to drop 150k on a car who's sole purpose is to look sexy and go fast. What if the person happened to bust his ass for his job to make that money, and really enjoys driving very nice, exotic and fast cars?

      • by elcid73 ( 599126 )
        agreed... and more strangely is the fact that we really only apply this to automobiles. If someone has a gigantic house with way more rooms than they need, nobody says they are are trying to compensate for anything. If someone dresses super flashy, we don't make the same poor generalizations (well, we do assume things about people in both cases, but not about their percieved physical shortcomings).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Sponge Bath ( 413667 )

        Why do people automatically say that if someone drives a fast, expensive car that they have a small penis?

        That is a particularly disturbing generalization if the driver is a woman.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cptgrudge ( 177113 )

        Why do people automatically say that if someone drives a fast, expensive car that they have a small penis?

        You must drive one of these "fast, expensive cars", don't you?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You must drive one of these "fast, expensive cars", don't you?

          Wow, you must think you are so witty. Actually I don't. I drive a 98 Subaru Forester. My dream car would be a Mazda RX7 r2 with the twin turbo. Hardly $150k, but definitely fast, and with 50/50 weight distribution making it a beast in the corners.

          But I love how you assume that just because I defend people with expensive flashy fast cars that I drive one. The fact is I think the reasoning behind the grandparent's comment is completely basele

          • To be fair, the car in this story wasn't any paltry $150k sportscar. It was possibly the most expensive car on Earth, leased with company funds that should have gone toward, for example, manufacturing hardware and developing software. It's not out of line to wonder at the psychology behind an expense like that.
          • Apparently you can't detect sarcasm. It was a joke; don't take everything so damn serious. I knew that the position you've taken was going to come up, so as the first to voice it, you got responded too. (Sorry if I hit a nerve?)

            FWIW, I think that production cars at the six figure level are more about status and power, rather than greed or having a "serious driving machine". When a person drives one, or hell, even sits in one, many people change. Even if they aren't aware of it, a person may see thems

          • I agree with you completly
        • You must drive one of these "fast, expensive cars", don't you?

          I don't even have a car. What does that mean? I must know!
      • I'll have you know that the reverse is true. The 1.4l Mazda 323 I drive clearly demonstrates that I have a hose like Ron Jeremy!

        Oh wait, I don't.

  • The whole car cash seem to have planed in some way are they trying to cover up some conspiracy?
    • Don't believe me? Get yours today, FREE!
      • I just searched the page for the "zango" links you so abhor. Know what I found? A: Bupkis.

        Clean the spyware off your machine and you'll stop seeing Zango links. Then, with any luck, you'll be able to live down this embarassing ordeal. As long as you don't install any more spyware, that is.
        • I dunno. I'm seeing those zango links also, and I'm pretty sure my machine isn't infected.

          See the "car crash videos" link in the upper-right corner of the article? That takes you to the page with the Zango links.
          • Interesting. It looks like the videos themselves are zangofied. Which is real easy to defeat by not accepting the DRM. (And people wonder why I hate Windows Media formats.)

            Of course, the real issue is that no one is pointing to that page, yet this fellow is hell-bent on his Zango warnings for those pages. So either he's already infested (seems likely to me), or he likes to make mountains out of mole hills. Whatever.
            • I dunno; the infected videos are advertised in the article. If I were running an insecure browser and media player, I might have been glad of the warning.

              I hear ya about the format, though. Executeable code launched from a movie? Whose brilliant idea was that?
  • All in all, the (re)telling of this story underscores one thing in my mind: You can do almost anything if you have the balls. Errikson may have needed a few attempts (and jail sentences) to get the act down, but eventually he walked and talked like a successful gangster.

    Sadly, the mindset to work such blatent lies seems to coincide with a juvenile need to collect shite and "play fancy." This is by far one of the most telling aspects of the story: It was motivated by intense greed.

    I've b
    • by PhakeDC ( 932887 )
      Thank you for that insightful comment. I'm at a loss myself, but I'm learning being a greedy materialist can't get you anywhere really in the end. One has to strike a balance, though I've been looking into voluntary simplicity recently.. Still would appreciate owning a few items not to mention decent compensation for any work done.
      • by mugnyte ( 203225 )

          After all my wins of "things" - I always lack from the inability to connect to more people by just buying stuff. Skip that expensive lesson and just try to meet more people (adult classes, bike/book/art clubs, community theatre, dart/bowling/pool leagues). These days, I use the neighborhood potluck concept to bring people together and play silly boardgames. This cascades into weekend bike rides, hikes, dog babysitters, recipie sharing, and lots of laughs.
    • If I had mod points, I'd use them on your post.
      Balance in all things... works out for the best, whether it be natural vs. technological, 'health' food vs. 'junk' food, posessions vs. experiences, or any other set of conflicting extremes.
      Extremes just aren't healthy, physically, psychologically, or spiritually. It's pretty sad that it takes acts of extremism and desperation to cause change in our society these days... In fact, it takes something pretty extreme for anyone to even notice that something is happ
  • wow with a GTA killer like Colors [joystiq.com] you would think gizmondo would do great.
  • by British ( 51765 ) <british1500@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @03:10PM (#16309949) Homepage Journal
    If this whole story would be made into a movie, I would go see it. Forget the video game angle, the whole swindling of money and wooing investors is a good enough plotline for me. It could be done in circular time, with a wrecked Ferarri Enzo and an officer to the scene. Then it unfolds.

    On a side note, I noticed the names of the launch games, one being "Mommy, Can I mow the Lawn?". That just seemed to ridiculous to be a serious launch title. Sounds like it was made up to tell investors off. I can picture in the office:
      "uh, yeah, we have, um, a launch title or 2 for the Gizmondo. It's called uh (looks outside office window), Mommy, can I mow the lawn? Total PSP killer!".

    I read the whole 6-page spiel and was more entertained by the whole scam story than the game console itself. The same can be applied for the Phantom console.

    So, any other scam artists want to release a game console?

  • Is there some sort of bizarre conversion problem for the online version of Wired? This article is missing commas, hyphens, semicolons, and other punctuation all over the place; in places, it almost hurts to read. If these aren't technical errors, Wired needs to hire a few more hacks and a few less hackers.
  • What astounds me is that with the criminal backgrounds and the way things were being run they still actually managed to create a product. The phantom console people had none of that and still have produced nothing but vapor...pretty amazing IMHO.
  • by VGR ( 467274 )
    I cannot see the word "Gizmondo" without being reminded of this awesome commentary [slashdot.org] on it from a year ago, back when its goofy pricing plan was announced. (The fifth item is a bit eerie in its prescience.)
  • Any comparisons between the fraud schemes behind Gizmondo production and the development cycle of the Phantom console are completely unfair.

    After all, the Gizmondo device actually EXISTED.
  • This is a great story, and I feel a bit of local pride. Uppsala, finally we aren't just known for good stuff like Linneaus, 18th centry scientists and mySQL! :-)

    However, the description of Eriksson and the images are pretty glamorising, he looks like a Sin City tough guy [wired.com]. I was told by one of his old classmates that he used to be known as Fat Steve in school, and if you look up the images from the net where he stands next to the car, he still looks pretty chubby and he has a surprisingly open and boyish fac
  • The funniest thing is, Phantom investors must be feeling jealous right now that those guys actually delivered the console they promised instead of just ripping off the invested money.
  • "This whole thing could have been avoided if Eriksson had just been satisfied driving a Trans-Am."

    I know I am!

    nothing like >300 hp for a dime and a nickel!

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson