The Jungle, the first portable online gaming console, hopes to free players of massively multiplayer online games from their desktop personal computers. Panasonic Cloud Entertainment, a San Jose-based section from the Japanese electronics manufacturer, will be releasing the device at an unannounced date.

The Jungle Web site shows that this project is a multi-tier effort, with the device being marketed alongside a new MMO, Battlestar Galactica Online, as well as a cartoon series called Online Underground. Panasonic Cloud leaves much to the imagination, eschewing any device specifications, release date or MSRP. Their promo video text reads in entirety: “A mean little machine… coming… a new MMO coming soon (Battlestar Galactica Online)… A badass show here now. We are online gaming.”

For these details and much guesswork, the breaking coverage from CrunchGear has a few points to make. The Jungle has a full QWERTY keyboard, directional-pad and a few additional buttons that straddle standard PC and mobile console interface. As they learned from a test gamer at the Penny Arcade Expo, the screen resolution is excellent as well. As for unconfirmed features, Wi-Fi and 3G would be necessary to execute the mobile connection necessary for such a device, while a Linux OS and HDMI port are rumoured as well.

Reactions have preemptively condemned the Jungle - Ars Technica forecasts success only if the specs are cutting edge and the console is very inexpensive. They also see little demand for a Battlestar title, suggesting primary focus be on making the Jungle compatible with Blizzard’s blockbuster MMO World of Warcraft.

The Jungle will have to work hard not to be redundant in a space dominated by the iPhone and the Nintendo DS. But taking mobile gaming to the hardcore gamer, as with the likes of World of Warcraft players, could give it a market share in a new space, that of playing MMOs anywhere.

By Ivory King