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Infinium Phantom Gets Positive, Negative Spin

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the dizzy dept.

PC Games (Games) 33

aanand writes "Kevin Bacchus, Infinium's PR man and the brains behind the launch of the Xbox, has given a revealing interview with State in which he attempts to lay to rest once and for all the doubts about the Phantom's viability and, indeed, existence. The man himself: 'I built a game console. I know what it takes to do that. It wasn't until I met with the founders of the company as they were interested with bringing me on board that I realised that it was a lot less audacious than it seems on the surface.'" Infinium has also recently announced that they "will be shipping Java technology on its Phantom game receiver when it launches this fall", but with Xbox Live Arcade seeming to duplicate at least some of Phantom's "advanced gaming on demand system" functionality, and muck-raking sites such as 'Where Is Phantom?', billed as "The site for all [Infinium] Critics, Cynics, Detractors and Doubters", nipping at its heels, the company may have its PR work cut out for it.

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blaa blaa (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9605008)

it's not building a pc in a box that's hard..
it's making it a success and making the thing actually fly off the ground and be financially viable that's the problem.. and of course the software to go with the thing but that again isn't the major problem.

besides.. in the interview they say their target is the 'casual gamer'.. how the hell are they going to reach a casual gamer with a system like this? why would a casual gamer shell out money monthly when he could just buy some gamecube and be over it?

and in addition to that they've been buffing it up for so damn long already without delivering a single thing!

of course, they could add a porn channel to the thing and make it a hit!

Re:blaa blaa (3, Insightful)

eliza_effect (715148) | more than 10 years ago | (#9605233)

Exactly. I mean, it's not as if Infineon invented Mini-ITX. Putting off the shelf hardware into a small box isn't a magical feat. It's the infrastructure, that if it existed, would be very impressive. However, since there have been no live demos of the Phantom SERVICE, it's all speculation. I don't know why they thought they could show a plastic box and say "LOOK! IT'S REAL!" when what they're banking on isn't the plastic box at all, but what it will hook up to..

I hear it's being shipped with Duke Nukem Forever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9605151)

And Team Fortress 2! RAPTURE!

It's in the stores already! Well, almost. (3, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 10 years ago | (#9605327)

I saw a product labelled Infinium [friseurbedarf24.de] in a store already. Sadly it doesn't play many games...

The Producers? Maybe Not... (2, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9605513)

The Slate article was very interesting. At the very least, it looks like Phantom is going to be an honest effort. I still don't believe that it will be wildly successful though, but not because of the model itself. Subscribable games would be kind of like Pay Per View. But my Grandma could buy a PPV movie without too much trouble, I don't think that using the Phantom service is likely to be that easy.

The underlying problem is the reliance on PC games for content. Those games were not made with this kind of use in mind which leaves lots of room for trouble. The other problem is that the market they claim to be aiming for, probably doesn't have broadband. Casual gamers can use the current generation of consoles without too much trouble or additional expense. I just don't see that with the Phantom. Why should a casual gamer bother with Phantom?

As always, I reserve the right to be utterly and completely wrong! In any case this should be interesting to watch. Hopefully Phantom doesn't turn out to be something akin to "The Producers".

Re:The Producers? Maybe Not... (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9609943)

Except that it's not Slate at all but State.

So phantom's real now? (1)

Toxygen (738180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9605562)

A little while ago the phantom was nothing but a ghost story and nearly everyone believed it was all a hoax, and now that it's getting closer to a release date everyone's getting excited that it may be a real thing now.

That PR team is nothing but genius.

Re:So phantom's real now? (2, Funny)

jkeyes (243984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9605568)

So they've hired you to post good things about them on slashdot, eh?

Re:So phantom's real now? (2, Funny)

exick (513823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606759)

I think he's referring to the Xbox.

Re:So phantom's real now? (2, Funny)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606535)

Not really excited. The concensus has slid from "hoax" to "stupidity" and is now leaning towards "The Next N-Gage."

Re:So phantom's real now? (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606574)

No, it's more a grudging acceptance that since the company hasn't folded or been exposed as a scam yet, that they may actually be willing and able to bring this thing to market. Many people still expect them to crash and burn soon afterwards.

Beta Tester (1)

irie27 (129943) | more than 10 years ago | (#9611171)

Does anyone remember about a year a go or so about signing up to beta test the machine? I did and never heard anything. Anyone else sign up?

Re:Beta Tester (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620906)

I did, and let me tell you. WHoooooooooooooo does that thing fly. The graphics are run in your head, and all of the controls work mentally. The great thing it, it is just a small black box with an LED that lights up when you plug it in. It consumes almost no power, and runs cool as ice. The "imagi-vision" method of display is so clear, it is like your mind is making it up right there...

How can it not fail? (4, Interesting)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 10 years ago | (#9605866)

Given the amount of money that Microsoft have deemed fit to hemorrhage just to get a moderate stake in this market, I can't see how some upstart company expects to do anything.

Their software delivery route is a method that another of the players, Nintendo, don't see fit to even seriously bother with as an accessory. It's certainly a massive restriction, especially coupled with the various caps and sliding bandwidth charges that are starting to be introduced as takeup improves.

You can't commoditize the PC gaming market, that goes against the basic principles and the reasons for its existence in the first place.

I can't see a good time for them to release this product. The upcoming holiday season is already very full from promises of the PSP, DS and various AAA franchises and sequels from all the major players. There is simply no room for a fourth player.

I'm not sure how much having a standardised platform will affect PC titles either. Will this kit be good enough for new titles such as Half Life 2 and Doom 3? Will it lead to a depression in complex graphics encoding? Will it kill FMV interludes, texture qualities?

Re:How can it not fail? (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607873)

"Nintendo, don't see fit to even seriously bother with as an accessory."

You mean like this [lik-sang.com] ?

I'm not convinced. (4, Interesting)

DarkGamer20X6 (695175) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606350)

Since they're ostensibly pulling a "Duke Nukem Forever" on us, until I can hold one in my hands, this aptly named "Phantom" will be no more to me than a mere ghost.

Incidentally, I seem to remember there being some big news about how the Phantom would be at E3. I don't think I've heard anything of it since. I didn't see anything in my most recent EGM; I believe Slashdot hasn't had a story about said E3 appearance. Has anybody seen any article about the Phantom showing at E3?

Re:I'm not convinced. (1)

Jerrith (6472) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606380)

Yes, they were at E3. I was there, and while I didn't go in the booth, walking by, I did see that they had machines setup and playable. (While avoiding the "I believe" tshirts they were giving out.) There are some reviews out there about what they were like at E3, the detail I remember reading was that they weren't hooked up to the internet at the time, and you could only play some already downloaded / installed content on them.

Re:I'm not convinced. (2, Funny)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606518)

HardOCP had pictures of their booth before it was fully set up. They actually had signs like "Deciet" "Lies" and "Flim-Flam" like the Penny Arcade comic. Tycho posted that at some point during the con, the CEO approached him and proclaimed that he had just killed a dog. At least they're trying to have a sense of humor about things. Hopefully they'll be as amused as we are when they compare first-month sales reports with Nokia.

Re:I'm not convinced. (2, Interesting)

dsyu (203328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606969)

They were definitely at the last E3, and I walked through their booth, largely unimpressed by what I saw.

They were demoing a few games, but beyond puzzle-type games the only thing I saw mildly interesting was UT2K4 (or maybe 2K3, unsure), which, of course, I'd rather play on a PC. They also had this keyboard+mouse stylized controller which looked ok, but as far as I could tell, was not wireless.

It's a pretty big mystery to me who they think their target audience is. Not moi, for sure. At least I got a free T-Shirt that has the Phantom logo and says "I believe". I'm guessing it'll be good for a few laughs in a couple years.

At least.... (3, Interesting)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606476)

Their 8k filed in March [yahoo.com] .

Last year, when I saw simmilar data, they had a development budget of 0. Now, they actually have development expenses of $259,407.

On the other hand, they spent $320,000 on litigation.

Built a game console? (3, Funny)

sandalwood (196527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9606635)

"I built a game console"? If by "built a game console" you mean "put a PC into a set-top box," then I guess you could be correct...

Re:Built a game console? (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607035)

I can't believe I've never heard of this Kevin Bacchus visionary before. I mean, apparently he built Microsoft's Xbox all by himself, with nothing more than his bare hands.

I'm surprised at this point there's funding. (2, Insightful)

stoneymonster (668767) | more than 10 years ago | (#9609089)

Who is providing the capital for these ventures? There are already 3 major players in this market, which by all accounts is declining pending the release of the next generation. It seems sheer lunacy to bank on a 4th player, even in the hopes of capturing a minor part of the market. Plus, it appears that their release (if it ever happens) will coincide with Xbox 2, PS3, etc. That competition is impossibly stiff. I'm not saying everyone should stay home and never challenge MS, Nintendo and Sony, but you'd better be damned innovative and have some serious marketing tricks and partnerships up your sleeve. I don't think, gee we can play PC games on a TV is going to cut it.. And all this is assuming they actually build the thing.

There's so much more under the surface (2, Insightful)

Torgo's Pizza (547926) | more than 10 years ago | (#9610536)

Muck-raker? I suppose it's true since there's so much muck to go through. Ever since Morley started Where Is Phantom?? [whereisphantom.com] and I came on board as co-admin, we've been slogging through the mess that is Infinium Labs. The author in State has an obvious man-crush on Bachus and it shows the marketing PR wizardry that Infinium posesses to cover up their darkness.

Since we've hit our stride in April, we've uncovered so much information on Infinium management that would make any consumer blanche. Just visit our site to see a history of lies, possible perjury, court documents, a web of assumed internet identities, federal convictions, firings, lawsuits, hacking and phreaking, possible drug dealing... it goes on and on. There's no telling how far the rabbit hole goes.

Once you use public documentation to see what these folks have done, are doing and are going to do, how can anyone support them?

Torgo
Admin - Whereisphantom.com

Re:There's so much more under the surface (1)

BobTheLawyer (692026) | more than 10 years ago | (#9613567)

So how did they get Bacchus on board? Would he really be risking his money and reputation on something that's close to being a scam, or does he just have zero judgment?

Even if... (1)

Riturno (671917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9612931)

Even if these jokers do finally ship something, I can't say that I'd trust them to bring content in the long-term. I smell a 3DO console here with a dash of duplicitousness.

Their expenses on R&D versus litigation more like SCO than Sony. Too much of their company appears as smoke and mirrors, which is too vigooursly defended when questioned. There are too many inconsistencies.

I'll believe it when I see it, but I won't be holding my breath.

Re:Even if... (1)

jkeyes (243984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9613352)

If anything they're being more similar to Phillips CDi which had infomercials advertising it.

Naturally. (1)

Weirdofreak (769987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616110)

the Xbox is now positioned as the hardcore gamers console of choice
As these [gamefaqs.com] GameFAQs [gamefaqs.com] polls [gamefaqs.com] prove beyond All Reasonable Doubt(tm).

So not only is their logic flawed in that pre-release scepticism makes a console good (look at the N-Gage), and not only would they be in trouble even were their logic flawless (much skepticism = 'console of choice'; comparitively no skepticism = comparitively no sales), they're also basing this logic on seemingly incorrect data.

They made some good choices in the PR department.

Re:Naturally. (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9625077)

These polls prove what? That a long time ago, some of the people who visisted GameFAQ's voted in a non-manditory poll that happened to favor the Gamecube? Especially considering all the console dick waving and bias that goes on there, even today?

I agree with the stupidity of catagorizing Xbox as "hardcore" by default, but come on, come up with more, larger, and more recent pools of data than a few polls on GameFAQ's.

And I love and play both my Gamecube and Xbox, though I have been using my PC for gaming more recently, now that I've upgraded it to the point where I can play more recent games.

Consoles are for kids (1)

2TecTom (311314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9618860)

"Indeed, the Xbox is now positioned as the hardcore gamers console of choice"

Hardcore gamers??? Every "hardcore gamer" I know uses a PC. I have never even seen a console being used competitively at LAN party or tournament.

Sheesh ... wtf do they get these marketing guys from,eh?

Re:Consoles are for kids (1)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9624997)

You have obviously been to the wrong LAN parties and tournaments. I've been to a few, and one of them had a handfull of people playing Halo. Two eight player games of CTF games going on. if I remember correctly, which were almost always full. I have no idea about what makes Halo so attractive, but even I admit to jumping on and enjoying a game or two. And almost every LAN gaming center I've been to has an Xbox or four in the back for Halo goodness.

Man, those were good times.

Re:Consoles are for kids (1)

2TecTom (311314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9627797)

I meant that I've never seen a console used by a competitor during a tournament. Nor have I seen a participant connect a console to the LAN. This is not to suggest that I've seen a lot or even very many consoles at the many LAN's (Quakecon, Fragapalooza, LANageddon, etc.) that I've attended. The few consoles I did see, were all handhelds being used by kids. None were ever connected to the LANs AFAIK.

Probably just will never buy it... (1)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620739)

I can't take Infinium seriously, no matter what they tell people, or get a write up, or try to push off as a demo. Any company that used an email form for beta sign ups on vaporware is, imho, never to be trusted again.
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