Once upon a time, there was a company that wanted to revolutionize the gaming industry. Infinium Labs wanted to be asked into your homes and played with. They had a great idea for a system, and that was a broadband gaming system that gave you games from the net. A golden age of gaming was about to begin. This revolutionary system was going to allow you to get games without leaving hte house, plus have a chance for indie developers to get their names out in the world by allowing them to sell their games for this machine. Makes sense in a world where licening fees for third party games are heavy.
We had a field day with it. The prototype was a computer tower on it's side with a CDROM drive. It didn't look like much. But, it was going to give the big boys a run for their money. Part of that problem being that few people in the United States had access to Broadband, it being relatively new. I remember Penny Arcade making a huge deal out of this system just because promises were made and still no one saw anything come out of it. You had the idea that it was a computer with almost everything stripped out of it. That was what you were paying for. I can connect and download games on my PC, what was the incentive to buy this new machine? My favorite part was the intrusion prevention that they were implementing...apoxy so that you couldn't open up the system and upgrade it.
So, where is this wunderkind system now? A lot of time has passed and I was wandering around the internet and decided to look it up.
Well, apparently it made the rounds at E3 in 2004. Funny, I don't remember seeing it there really. They had a snazzy booth and some technical specs on display. The design of the system is very different. It now looks like a futuristic Waffle Iron. But, from reading the system specs, which are a lot more powerful than I remembered, it got me curious.
Phantom® Game Receiver
AMD® Athlon™ XP 2500+ central processing unit (CPU)
NVIDIA® GeForce™ FX 5700 Ultra graphics processing unit (GPU)
NVIDIA nForce™2 Ultra 400 platform processor
256 MB RAM
40 GB local content cache
Microsoft Windows XP® Embedded Operating System
Dynamic, personalized user interfaces customizable for age, gender or technical expertise
Lapboard, mouse and game pad included
HDTV and Dolby® Digital 5.1 compatible
Works with any consumer-standard broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP): DSL or faster
But....is is still looking like a PC. In fact, my own home system is more powerful than this. The nForce chipset that they are proposing is not very powerful, considering that it was the standard onboard chipset for motherboards almost three years ago and the 5700FX is not a great card, campared to what is coming out for console
. 256MB of ram is nothing either, especially if this system is really using Windows XP for it's backbone. Pretty words like 40 GB 'local content cashe' will not make me think any different about it. It is a Hard Drive.
'Phantom® Game Service is designed to provide a completely new entertainment experience. Because it is always connected to your broadband service, digital content is literally at your finger tips when YOU want it, day or night without leaving the comfort of home.
To get started with your new service you will need:
1. Phantom Game Receiver
3. Broadband Connection
4. Phantom Game Service'
What is the price? No where I have been able to find a price, to even guess if it is in a capatible with the next-genners. There is a unvieling of this system coming out, but the details are shady there too. Basically, nothing has changed with Infinuim Labs since they first came out onto the scene in 2000 with this idea.
then, of course, on deeper reseach, I find that the specs, which I have quoted you off their site, aren't the real specs....huh? That is right, a couple of articles have been released that have quoted different specs, such as a 3 Ghz processor and a 120 GB hard drive. So, which is it?
The Windows XP embedded OS is supposed to load in 8 secs, but no where in the Microsoft World do they even mention this platform for Infinium. Yet, they claim that they have been hard at work with Microsoft on this. A couple of OS developement friends looked at me funny when I asked them.
But, it all comes down to the games, right?
"Currently, we already have commitments for 5,000 titles to come on our system at launch," said Roberts. "[W]eâ€™re not going to get every top title out there, but we know weâ€™ll launch with 20 of the top 200 titles at launch, and continue to add those top titles in the months ahead."
MMM, how? Those top games are licensing monsters, while your product description says that you are trying to lower the costs of gaming. And 5000 games? Impressive numbers, how many of them are unknown titles or straight PC ports? Hell, it wouldn't even be a port, because this machine is a PC.
Interestingly enough, I got a release date. First Quarter in Asia and Europe. That strikes me that the company is going to release in these places instead of domestic first, especially when Broadband is awfully expensive there and not readily available in most places. A older gamespot article said that Infinium said it will release it's service in Nov 04...2004. Where is it now? It seems that this company really has kept up the meaning of the name Phantom...because it sort of doesn't seem to exist.
With the exception of the processor, waht is making this any different than the Next-Gen consoles?