Tiger Telematics

Last updated
Tiger Telematics
Founded2000;23 years ago (2000) (as Eagle Eye Scandinavian)
DefunctFebruary 2006 (2006-02)
Fate Bankrupt

Tiger Telematics, or Tiger, was a Swedish electronics company, best known for the failed Gizmondo handheld game console. [1]



In 2000, Carl Freer formed Eagle Eye Scandinavian, a small electronics distribution business in Sweden. [2] In 2002 the company merged with Floor Décor, a carpet retailer based in Jacksonville, Florida. [3] Once that was completed, Floor Décor's Michael Carrender became the company's chief financial officer.

The merged company soon renamed itself Tiger Telematics Inc. with a new ticker symbol "TIGR". It made an attempt to take on Sony and Nintendo in the UK gaming market and relocated at an office near Farnborough Airfield. Stefan Eriksson, whom Freer had met during a previous business visit, was brought into the company with Peter Uf and Johan Enander. [4]

Gizmondo launch

The Gizmondo device made its debut as a concept product at the German CeBIT show in March 2004, when its European subsidiary was then known as Gametrac Europe before renaming itself as Gizmondo Europe.

The company became known for its extravagant spending, despite not yet making a profit, let alone getting the Gizmondo off the ground. It counts amongst its exploits buying out model agency ISIS, and leasing a shop on Regent Street in London as its flagship showroom at a cost of £175,000 per annum. Despite the losses, Tiger Telematics gained continuing funding, including $73.1 million worth of investment capital during 2005, and it issued some 24.7 million shares which brought in over $200 million.

The showroom also ran a launch party at the Park Lane Hotel and its own store, sparing no expense. The party was hosted by Dannii Minogue and Tom Green, with performances by Sting, Pharrell, Busta Rhymes and Jamiroquai. [5] Sting was rumored to be paid £750,000 for the performance. In an attempt to promote the product, Eriksson competed at the 24 hours of Le Mans in the Gizmondo-sponsored Ferrari 360 Modena GTC in 2005, but retired in the morning with mechanical troubles.

In August 2004, the company announced it was buying Swedish games developer Indie Studios, which had already agreed to create two titles for the handheld.

In October 2005, shortly after Gizmondo was released in America, a Swedish yellow-page paper printed a story linking Stefan Eriksson and two other Swedish Gizmondo Europe executives to the Swedish crime ring "Uppsalamaffian" (Uppsala Mafia). [6] [7] The paper investigated a 6-month loss of 200 million dollars, exhibiting large payouts to later bankrupt entities. Further, the trio's felonious history was revealed, such as Eriksson's 10-year prison sentences in 1993/94, for, among other things, conspiracy to pass counterfeit currency and attempted fraud, and the fact that Johan Enander was wanted by the Swedish police. In light of these findings, Eriksson and others resigned. [8] One of those resignations came from Carl Freer, the chairman of the board and a director who, with Eriksson, co-owned Northern Lights Software Limited. Freer had previously sold luxury cars in France, Germany and the U.K., some of which turned out to have been stolen. [9] Northern Lights was paid $3.5 million to create Chicane (a Formula One racing game being developed exclusively for Gizmondo) and Colors (an urban gang warfare first-person perspective shooter), two Gizmondo games that were actually developed by Gizmondo Europe itself. [10] Freer paid the money back to Gizmondo in order to stop an investigation into the matter. The Gizmondo company itself denied knowing anything about Eriksson's past.

In addition, Gizmondo paid $4 million to Games Factory Publishing for nineteen concept games on the handheld, including a game called Typing Tutor, despite having no keyboard peripheral, and $5.9 million to Electronic Arts to port its SSX and FIFA games.

Around March 2005, US-based Tiger Telematics bought UK stock market-listed games developer Warthog for almost 500,000 Tiger shares and $1.13 million in cash—altogether worth $8.1 million. Acquiring all of Warthog's operating subsidiaries, along with the group's debts, and Warthog's CEO, Ashley Hall, COO Steven Law and CFO Simon Elms, to become Tiger employees. Warthog's team also has close ties with key games publishers and game franchise owners.


On January 23, 2006, the UK based arm, Gizmondo Europe (GE) declared bankruptcy. Gizmondo hemorrhaged hundreds of millions of dollars before filing for bankruptcy: in 2004, Tiger Telematics reported a loss of $99.29 million, and between January and September 2005, they lost $210 million, "Principally due to development costs for the Gizmondo and non-cash expenses associated with shares of restricted common stock issued for services". In other words, it had bartered shares in lieu of cash payments. Soon after Gizmondo retail locations in both the US and the UK closed, and the Gizmondo website was shut down. The game development arm of Gizmondo also went out of business.

The company was also involved in litigation. Swedish Ogilvy Group, MTV Europe, Christian and Timbers (landlord to their office), Handheld Gaming and Jordan Grand Prix all filed million dollar lawsuits against the company. Gizmondo was also currently under investigation in the UK for approximately £25-30 million owed to HM Revenue and Customs.

In early February 2006, the High Court appointed two liquidators. David Rubin & Partners was to deal with the sale of the company's assets, thought to amount to little more than the furniture in its Regent Street showroom and Begbies Traynor was asked to investigate exactly where Gizmondo's money had gone. The 27 staff remaining at Gizmondo's head office in Farnborough and five at its London store were made redundant. No Gizmondo accounts for 2005 have been published, but internal figures show sales of just £1.4m in the first nine months of the year. Losses were equivalent to £500,000 a day. Directors' salaries amounted to £6.6m for the nine months. Leasing cars cost £2m-plus.

The console was deemed the worst console of all time by GameTrailers because they claimed it drove Tiger into bankruptcy. [11]

Carl Freer buys intellectual property assets

In November 2007, Carl Freer stated in an interview with the Swedish-American journalist Hans Sandberg that he was interested in starting up production of the Gizmondo again. [9] In April 2008, a press release was issued that an agreement had been reached between the joint liquidators of Gizmondo Europe Ltd in Liquidation and one of the company's ex-Directors, Carl Freer. The press release originated as a low quality copy of a letter purported to be from one of the accounting firms handling the insolvency, posted to a file sharing site. According to Mr Freer, “the shareholders of Tiger Telematics will now be able to prosper on the re-introduction of the Gizmondo into the market." [12]

The new system never appeared. [13] The original planned launch date was May 2008, [14] but this was quickly pushed back to November 2008, [15] along with details of a new company, Media Power, behind the launch, headed by Carl Freer and his Swedish partner Mikael Ljungman, with development apparently proceeding according to the new schedule at least until September. [16] By December 2008, the console had still not appeared, and another announcement was made about a complete redesign as a Windows CE or Google Android powered smart phone. [17]

Since then, the Media Power website has gone offline and co-founder Mikael Ljungman has been arrested and convicted of serious fraud. [18]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Handheld game console</span> Portable self-contained video game console

A handheld game console, or simply handheld console, is a small, portable self-contained video game console with a built-in screen, game controls and speakers. Handheld game consoles are smaller than home video game consoles and contain the console, screen, speakers, and controls in one unit, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">PlayStation Portable</span> Handheld game console by Sony

The PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a handheld game console developed and marketed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was first released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, and in PAL regions on September 1, 2005, and is the first handheld installment in the PlayStation line of consoles. As a seventh generation console, the PSP competed with the Nintendo DS.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Warthog Games</span> Former British video game developer

Warthog Games Limited, or Warthog plc, was a British video game developer, located in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, with studios in Sweden and the United States.

The history of video game consoles, both home and handheld, had their origins in the 1970s. The concept of home consoles used to play games on a television set was founded by the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, first conceived by Ralph H. Baer in 1966. Handheld consoles bore out from electro-mechanical games that had used mechanical controls and light-emitting diodes (LED) as visual indicators. Handheld electronic games had replaced the mechanical controls with electronic and digital components, and with the introduction of Liquid-crystal display (LCD) to create video-like screens with programmable pixels, systems like the Microvision and the Game & Watch became the first handheld video game consoles, and fully realized by the Game Boy system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gizmondo</span> Handheld game console (2005–2006)

The Gizmondo was a handheld gaming console developed by Tiger Telematics. It was released in the UK, Sweden and the U.S. starting in March 2005. Its first-party games were developed in studios in Helsingborg, Sweden, and Manchester, England. Gizmondo Europe, Ltd. was based in London, England, and was a subsidiary of Florida-based Tiger Telematics, whose chairman Carl Freer led Gizmondo's development.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">SCi Games</span> British video game publisher

SCi Entertainment Group plc was a British video game publisher based in London. The company was founded in 1988 by Jane Cavanagh and floated on the stock exchange in 1996. In May 2005, SCi acquired Eidos plc, the parent company of publisher Eidos Interactive, and merged their operations by June 2006. In December 2008, SCi was briefly renamed Eidos and was subsequently acquired by Square Enix in March 2009.

<i>Richard Burns Rally</i> 2004 video game

Richard Burns Rally is a sim racing game, published by SCi and developed by Warthog with advice of WRC champion Richard Burns (1971–2005).

Bo Stefan M. Eriksson is a Swedish video game developer and criminal from Uppsala involved in the British gaming company Gizmondo with his business partner Carl Freer, until it became insolvent in 2005. In February 2006, he became known for wrecking an Enzo Ferrari in Malibu, California, USA. He was the leader of the loose criminal organization "Uppsalamaffian" until he began to develop the Gizmondo.

<i>Future Tactics: The Uprising</i> 2004 video game

Future Tactics: The Uprising is a turn based tactical shooter video game by Zed Two. Once known as Pillage, this turn based shooter was stuck in development for a number of years before being picked up by Crave for a US release, followed shortly by JoWood for a European release. It plays a lot like the Worms 3D games and has a story penned by Paul Rose. The game features a geo-mod system in which almost anything can be destroyed, leaving battlefields scarred by craters. It was released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and Windows.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carl Freer</span> Swedish businessman

Carl Johan Freer is a Swedish businessman and technology entrepreneur primarily known for founding the American company Tiger Telematics, which created the handheld game console Gizmondo. Freer is also the founder of Singapore-based medical-device company, Aluminaid and co-author of several patents.

<i>Sticky Balls</i> 2005 video game

Sticky Balls is an action puzzle game published by Gizmondo Studios and developed in Manchester and designed by John and Ste Pickford in 2005 for Gizmondo, and later ported to iOS in 2014.

The 2000s was the fourth decade of the video game industry. It was a decade that was primarily dominated by Sony, Nintendo, newcomer Microsoft, and their respective systems. Sega, being Nintendo's main rival in the 1980s and 1990s, left the console market in 2002 in favor of returning to third-party development, as they once were. Overall the decade saw the last of the low resolution three-dimensional polygons of the 1990s with the emergence of high definition games, and often focused on developing immersive and interactive environments, implementing realistic physics, and improving artificial intelligence. The sixth and seventh generation of video game consoles went on sale, including the PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Game Boy Advance and Xbox 360. Notable games released in the 2000s included Half-Life 2, Wii Sports, Grand Theft Auto III, The Sims, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Super Mario Galaxy, the Halo trilogy, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Exient Entertainment is an independent video game developer and publisher based in the United Kingdom and Malta. Predominantly developing for handheld gaming systems, Exient grew a name for designing and developing popular series' games to portable systems. It is known for its ports of various games in the Madden NFL, FIFA, Need for Speed, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour series for Electronic Arts and for developing numerous titles in the Angry Birds series. The company was incorporated in 2000 and began operations in January 2001.

Mikael Ljungman is a Swedish politician, lawyer and businessman. He was 2009–2010 convicted of fraud and false accounting related to his business activities, for which he served a two-year prison term. He is also known for his association and involvement with two high-profile tech failures: the game console manufacturer Gizmondo in 2005 and IT Factory in 2008. After his release from prison, Ljungman became active in the Christian Democrats legal policy network. He was selected as a Christian Democrats parliamentary candidate for the 2014 Swedish elections, as number 32 on their Stockholm candidate list.

Entex Industries, Inc. was an American toy and electronic game manufacturer based in Compton, California. The company was active during the 1970s and 1980s.

Although organized crime has always existed in Sweden, it has risen significantly in the 2000s. The number of organized criminal groups operating in the country continues to rise. In 2018, Sweden had the highest gun deaths in total across Europe, and deaths involving guns tripled in Sweden between 2012 and 2020.


  1. Lin, Thomas (2 June 2010). "Fast Times at Tiger Telematics High". Venture Beat. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  2. "Wired 14.10: Gizmondo's Spectacular Crack-up". Wired.
  3. "Floor Décor now Tiger Telematics". South Florida Business Journals. 5 June 2002. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  4. Anthony James; Michael Gillard (2006-05-21). "The firm that blew it all in two years". London: The Sunday Times.
  5. "Gizmondo Launch Brings London's West End to a Standstill". PR Newswire. March 21, 2005. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  6. Aftonbladet: Direktörerna har fått långa fängelsestraff Archived 2007-06-08 at the Wayback Machine
  7. GameSpot News: The definitive source for video game news, announcements, ship dates, rankings, sales figures, and more
  8. Tony Smith (2005-10-27). "Gizmondo executives quit under a cloud". The Register.
  9. 1 2 "Carl Freer startar om Gizmondo". Realtid.se. 2007-11-13. Archived from the original on 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  10. "Tiger Telematics Quarterly Report for Q1 2005".
  11. "GT Countdown - Top Ten Worst Consoles".
  12. "Purported letter from Paul Davis of Begbies Traynor, one of the joint liquidators of Gizmondo Europe".
  13. Joseph Flatley (2008-12-20). "Surprise! No new Gizmondo for 2008". Engadget. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  14. "Carl Freer:"I m going to resurrect Gizmondo" -- indeed he is". Engadget. 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  15. "Carl Freer: Gizmondo Arrives Late 2008". 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  16. "The Nordic Link: Gizmondo 2 Is Here - Sales start in November/December". 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  17. "Gizmondo 2 turns into a smartphone". 2008-12-22. Archived from the original on 2010-05-07. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  18. "Bagger Points Finger At Swedish Partner". Copenhagen Post. 2009-06-10. Archived from the original on 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-09.