The Pippin @WORLD (PW-10001) is a Pippin console that was marketed by Bandai Digital Entertainment in the United States. Its parent company Bandai announced a partnership with Apple Computer on December 13, 1994 to produce the consoles and later supplied an alternate version to Katz Media as an OEM.
Manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, the @WORLD was nearly identical to Bandai's own Pippin Atmark, which had been released earlier in Japan. Minor internal changes included the reduction of venting in the electrical shielding and an updated PRAM battery socket to facilitate exchange of the backup battery. The U.S. model featured ROM revision 1.2, which added support for external SCSI drives. The ability to load non-authenticated discs would require ROM revision 1.3 from a Katz Media Player 2000.
@WORLD consoles were produced for the American market in black cases, while Atmarks from Japan were typically in platinum/white cases with a small number of black Atmarks. Some U.S. units have beige internal CD-ROM trays instead of black trays. A unique gold @WORLD console was produced for Gil Amelio, the CEO of Apple at the time.
Matching black versions of AppleJack controllers, modems and keyboards were produced, but are rare. Wireless controllers, memory modules, and expansion docks could only be found in the platinum/white color scheme of Japanese consoles.
The Pippin @WORLD console was first unveiled at a "Media Preview" event with Sheryl Crow at the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 15, 1996, the day before the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Bandai budgeted $50 million to promote it in the United States. Apple operated a "Developer Test Drive" program until September 1st. On September 23, 1996, Bandai announced that the consoles would ship with a 28,800 bps modem from Motorola.
The Pippin @WORLD was originally scheduled to ship in September 1996, but the release date soon slipped to November with the list price set at $599. The @WORLD was shown in November by Bandai at an "Internet Innovators Pavilion" at COMDEX '96 in Las Vegas. However, Bandai Digital Entertainment formally announced at COMDEX that the ship date would be delayed to December and that the price would be cut.
The @WORLD console and about 15 launch titles began shipping from Bandai the week of December 2, 1996. With the exception of a few Mac mail-order vendors, the shipments were too late for the holiday season and would not reach retail stores until January 1997, with peripherals to follow. The price of the basic system was reduced to $499. Atworld.Net internet service was available for $19.95 a month.
By May 1997, amid reports that the consoles were not selling well in the consumer market, Bandai Digital Entertainment organized a Pippin @WORLD Business Unit to refocus the platform towards vertical markets such as corporate intranets.
On February 27, 1998, Bandai announced that it would abandon the Pippin platform and close its subsidiary Bandai Digital Entertainment on March 13, 1998. Bandai had sold only 30,000 units in Japan and 12,000 units in the United States, missing its original sales targets of 200,000 and 300,000 units, respectively. DayStar Digital helped liquidate as many as 2,000 unsold units. The remaining inventory was repackaged for sale in Japan as the now-rare "black Atmark".
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- Bandai Digital Entertainment's English page (archived 1998-01-24)
- Pippin @WORLD Technical Specifications (archived 1998-01-24)
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