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I just received an email from Infinium Labs, the company behind the soon-to-be failed Phantom console. The email was in reference to their upcoming beta test. The 300 chosen beta testers will receive their units in October which strikes me as far too late for a Christmas launch.


Anyway, the email had a picture of the console. As far as I know this is the first picture made available (as their website had the console covered). Here's the shot:




I'm not 100% sure but I think this is a 3d render and not a photo. Still, I guess it's an idea of the final design. No (visible) optical drive? No buttons? So this thing is really going to be only downloaded games?

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Phantom specs have been revealed:




Over the weekend, Infinium Labs held the official unveiling of the Phantom Game Console, a device designed to play PC games and games designed specifically for the system. As previously reported, the console will come preloaded with several games, but users can also download and stream games using the console's Internet capabilities. Infinium Labs will be starting an official service called Phantom.net that will serve a number of different functions, allowing users to download demos and patches and even test beta versions of games. The following is a complete list of specifications for the system:


Custom OS running Windows XP kernel

3.0GHz processor


Nvidia video card

Intel motherboard

Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound

100GB+ internal storage

Onboard RF wireless modules

S-video, RCA, component video, and PAL support

10/100 baseT Ethernet

Wireless controller

Wireless keyboard and mouse

2 USB ports

4 controller ports

12' port extension cable



Optional Components:

Controllers, wireless and corded

Keyboard and mouse with charging base station

Storage expansion for additional game storage

DSL modem

Cable modem

Wireless WIFI card

Memory upgrades

Speaker sets

Flat-screen displays



Those interested in preordering the Phantom can register on Phantom.net. Online ordering is expected to start in October.


Could be interesting but what the heck kind of pricing are they looking at here? Alot of folks took the Xbox to task for being a PC in a small case but I just dont know how else to describe this thing.

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You know, I would think that by now, new companies entering the hardware end of the videogame console wars would realize that any new device costing more than $300 is going to fail. I'm sorry, but the market will not tolerate a console that is that expensive, no matter how powerful it may be. These guys need to be much more aggessive in their pricing to be successful.


Also, what's with the monthly subscription fees? Is that for online content or something?

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Is that for online content or something?


Jeffrey, the whole console is based on online content.


The system will supposedly come preloaded with a load of PC games (no word yet on titles). At that point you pay 9.99 for access to their servers to download more games right onto the hard drive.


From what I understand this system is completely based on downloading games online and online content. There will be no product sold in stores.


Take a look at the product sheet:




EDIT: I wanted to say that Im completely positive that this will more than likely fail but I can't help but be interested in how its going to pan out (functionality wise). What will PC Games look like? What kind of content will be offered? etc etc etc...

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I might be turned around on this Phantom thing. Think of it as a gaming PC on a cell phone contract -- you can have a capable gaming pc that hooks up to your TV instead of a monitor for $300 + $10 a month.


And kiss big upgrades costs goodbye, one of the reasons I switched from mainly PC gaming to mainly consoles with the Dreamcast.


I'm not saying I'm getting in line for it or even that this is THE business model. But it certainly doesn't seem as silly as it initially did.



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To be fair, I've not heard of anything as tight as 2Gb outside Australia, but 10Gb isn't that uncommon elsewhere.


Another problem, though, is speed, even with broadband. On a really good day on my 512kbit ASDL I get about 55kbytes a sec from remote servers. Thats 38130 seconds to download 2Gb, or 10 hours 35 minutes of saturated pipe. How often to you think you'll do that before your ISP throws a hissy fit? Apart from anything else, I could drive to the store, buy the discs and come back again in less time.

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All right, I've given this some more thought and I even watched the video they posted on their website. With all that in mind, I have decided that the Phantom is going to fail.


I say that because I simply have no idea for whom Infinium Labs developed this device. They say it's "the first console developed by gamers for gamers" but that doesn't tell you anything. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to say that there are two types of gamers: PC and console. These two groups aren't mutually exclusive of one another, but they do seem to represent the two main groups of consumers in this industry.


First of all, I don't see how this device would appeal to PC gamers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but essentially, the Phantom will play PC games on a console-like device. Unfortunately, anyone who is a hardcore PC gamer will probably already have a machine capable of playing all these games, thus eliminating the need to own one. The $399 that's spent on a Phantom would more likely go towards a better video card, more RAM, a bigger harddrive, or any number of computer upgrades. Clearly, this console isn't for them.


That brings us to console gamers, which, for the most part, includes the casual Joe Gamer as well as a Pikmin Onion's worth of gaming enthusiasts and hardcore gamers. The trick to thriving in the console wars is to create a large user base of system owners, thereby giving developers an incentive to make and sell games on your platform, which will, in turn, convince more people to buy it. The best way to create a large user base is to sell a system with advanced features for a reasonable price, as well as offering a good amount of gaming content. At this moment in time, the highest price anyone can place on a console and still see it succeed is $299. Correct me if I am wrong, but no console in recent memory that has been successful has sold for more than that initially.


The Phantom will sell for $399, a full one-hundred dollars more than the Xbox and PS2 cost at their launch. This will most assuredly turn away potential customers, who see little need to spend that much money on a gaming device, especially when they already have 3 consoles from which to choose. Let us also not forget that in addition to playing games, many people want a machine that will play CDs and DVDs. Since the Phantom lack of a CD- or DVD-ROM drive, that will lower its perceived value among consumers, who seem hesitant to embrace a games-only machine like the GameCube - which currently costs $30 less than its two competitors - and the Sega Dreamcast. Worst of all, I doubt most gamers will want to shell out a $10 fee a month to be able to use the unit.


Finally, the big obstacle standing in the way of the Phantom's success is the lack of households with a broadband connection. This will severely limit the potential user base of the system, simply because broadband is still in the early stages of market penetration. At the very least, there aren't enough broadband users out there to whom they can sell this thing to generate numbers like the PS2 or even the Xbox. This fact will certainly change in a few years, but not in time to save the Phantom from its inevitable doom.


Although the Phantom does have some interesting ideas for gaming, it simply does not fit into market as a viable competitor. The high cost of the device, coupled with a small potential user base will leave it without ground on which to stand.

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