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Phantom Game Console Presentation

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the indrema-indrema-indrema dept.

PC Games (Games) 237

superultra writes "Glaximus has posted an impressions piece on Penny-Arcade of one of Infinium Lab's first press conferences. Most notable is that which Gabe, of Penny-Arcade fame, also replicates on Penny-Arcade's front page: 'One of the last questions asked was rather direct and perhaps aimed a bit low. "So, I have all my consoles at home, and I have a very powerful PC that plays lots of games and can be upgraded simply by installing new hardware myself. Why would I want to buy a Phantom?" Rob's answer? "Well then you aren't really part of the Phantom's core user base." That got some chuckles from the crowd, sure. But it was Rob's next statement that had the real impact. "See, you people say you have enough consoles, and a powerful PC, but whenever a new console comes out, you people always buy it."' Other details are scarce, except that the release date is now April 2004, and that the Phantom will use highly advanced DMCA techniques such as Epoxy Encapsulation and Case Intrusion Detection. Doing so will, no doubt, provide the Missing Link in Digital Rights Managment."

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isn't it obvious? (4, Funny)

sweeney37 (325921) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305729)

So, no games or companies mentioned, no indication of what the launch titles would be, or if there was even any Phantom-exclusive original content planned. When asked directly just who Infinium had in their corner, Rob's reply was interesting: "I can tell you I can't tell you. I can tell you I'd like to tell you. I can tell you who we don't have. Do we have EA? No."

c'mon, why don't they just say it. we all know the launch title is Duke Nukem: Forever, why must they beat around the bush?

Mike

Re:isn't it obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305781)

why must they beat around the bush?

Because they're looking at triple-NC-17 porno.

Re:isn't it obvious? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306019)

Rob's reply was interesting: "I can tell you I can't tell you. I can tell you I'd like to tell you. I can tell you who we don't have. Do we have EA? No."

Jeebus this guy spouts poetry like our esteemed Secretary of Defense [msn.com] ... now I'm really scared. Does he know someone named Darl?

I'm seeing some sh*t! (4, Funny)

dswensen (252552) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305732)

I think this comic [penny-arcade.com] , also from Penny Arcade, sums up the Phantom more neatly even than that press release.

Re:I'm seeing some sh*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305753)

You're just gagging for karma, aren't you? When you don't have anything of your own mind to say, post AC. Whore.

Re:I'm seeing some sh*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305772)

switch to decaf, buddy.

Re:I'm seeing some sh*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305782)

Now that's a lame reply if ever I saw one. Anyhow, he's right. Posting Penny Arcade links that suck is definitely karma whoring and should be punished.

Re:I'm seeing some sh*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305804)

punished? why?

because it wastes your time? obviously you've got too much of it on your hands anyway, if this trite shit is all you can think of to worry about.

because it sucks? look at yourself in the mirror, you live with licking fatty nut-sack all day. what difference is a lack of a comic link going to make?

vaya con dios, turdburglar

Re:I'm seeing some sh*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306037)

When's the last time you saw a Penny Arcade link that DIDN'T suck?

Ha ha! Phantom Game Console sucks! I should write a cartoon about it! HA HA HA ROFL MAYO

PA review (0, Redundant)

bobobobo (539853) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305776)

They also have impressions [penny-arcade.com] of someone who was at the presentation. Pretty interesting stuff.

Re:PA review (1)

revmoo (652952) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305803)

Good job, you just linked us to the story attached to these comments.

Reading the article surrenders....

Hp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305734)

Fp!

application needed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305737)

With the recent death of the goatse.cx guy, we need a new goatse.cx guy. This is your opportunity to be the next goatse.cx guy!!! Reply with your answers to the following questions.

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the looseness of your anus? (1 being incredibly tight, 10 being incredibly loose)
  2. If you rated the looseness of your anus under 9, would you be interested in a looser anus?
  3. Why do you want to be the goatse.cx guy?
  4. If the looseness of your anus is less than a 9 do you have any problem with CmdrTaco shoving taco shells up your anus and smashing them?
  5. If the looseness of your anus is greater than or equal to 9, do you still want your anus to be looser?
  6. Do you have any objections to being naked whenever you are in the slashdot compound? (except for butt plugs if you wish to wear them)
  7. Will you engage in taco snotting with CmdrTaco to become the next goatse.cx guy?
  8. Will you sign a wavier that any injuries caused by goats will not cause you to sue CmdrTaco, slashdot.org, and/or goatse.cx?
  9. Please provide an email address so we can contact you.

Re:application needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305746)

YESYESYESYEYEYS

email is archangel@aol.com

I WANT THE JOB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305793)

My anus is failrly stretched out
please e-mail me at
michael@slashdot.org

Re:I WANT THE JOB (-1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305889)

Sorry. Michael already stole my web site. He doesn't deserve to have another one.

It does not exist! (4, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305742)

I forgot who, but someone actually went to the address they had listed for their headquarters. It turned out to be completely abandoned, not even any furniture or anything. When that person called and asked about it, he was hung up on. That, combined with the fact that most of the screenshots look like they're coming from his GARAGE (there were some tires sitting in the corner) and the fact that there's never any real concrete evidence of this thing actually existing make this thing winner of the Vaporware of the Year award.

-- Dr. Eldarion --

Re:It does not exist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305818)

That was on HardOCP.

isn't google wonderful? (5, Interesting)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305883)

here is the hard "truth" [ferrago.co.uk] , or something close enough too it.

HardOCP (2, Interesting)

obsid1an (665888) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305922)

This [hardocp.com] is what you are looking for.

I have a big nuspe in my pants ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305756)

I'm becaninning to HERE what u say!!!

If you believe the phantom... (1)

ferrocene (203243) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305765)

Then I have a 4ghz cpu, 1gb 2ghz DDR ram, 512mb UltraShiny GeForceFX6900++ console called the Enforcer that I'd like to sell you.

Seriously.

We have Max Payne 3.

*smirks*

Re:If you believe the phantom... (1)

Uncle Gropey (542219) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305814)

We also have a mouse and keyboard. Frag Vice City pedestrians as effeciently with a gamepad, I challenge ya.

Is that a phantom in your pocket... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306012)

...or are you just happy to see me?

"You People." (2, Interesting)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305773)

I remember when Ross Perot gave a speech to the NAACP during his presidential campaign, he kept using the phrase, "You people."

The crowd became outright hostile as the speech wore on. I remember hearing one person incredulously shout, "US people???"

I can't imagine the crowd at the presentation reacted any better.

So Infinium believes Us People will buy basically whatever any console manufacturer makes, eh? I guess they're unaware of the Sega Saturn. Or the Atari Jaguar. Maybe they believe Nokia's press releases, and not their in-store sales figures on the N-Gage. I don't know. It seems to me that the video game industry has more failed consoles than successes.

But then, I'm not in the business; I just play games.

Re:"You People." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305939)

Well the CP in NAACP stands for Colored People not Caucasian People and last I saw Perot he wasn't black.

Re: You are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306006)

No, it stands for:
National Association of Apes, Coons, and Possums

88/14

Re:"You People." (3, Insightful)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306072)

Yes, of course he's not black. Clinton's not black, either, and he got a lot of votes from African-Americans. If a politician wants a group's votes, he needs to sound like he's either a member of a group, or supports that group's interests.

By constantly saying "You people," the underlying message Perot gave was: "You and me are separate and we're going to stay that way." Compare this to Clinton's "I feel your pain" approach: It said, "I may not be black, but I understand disenfranchisement."

Back to topic, the message Infinium gave with this comment is: "We're not really by gamers for gamers as the company motto says, and we think you'll buy whatever we give you."

Blink, Blink (5, Insightful)

swat_r2 (586705) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305775)

The Phantom is to Video Games as the Segway Scooter is to Personal Transportation.

Can't beat free publicity.

Re:Blink, Blink (1)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305981)

Uh, no. The Segway exists and works and innovates. It's just dumb.

The Phantom is also dumb. But it doesn't exist, doesn't work and even if it did it doesn't innovate. It imprisons. It is mail order only.

This reeks of that Mel Brooks classic, The Producers.

Re:Blink, Blink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306052)

So George W. Bush is going to injure himself playing the Phantom Game Console?

article (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305777)

There is an article that came out just today about the game phantom (looks cool). They even have a few screenies. here [gamespy.com]

I am posting as AC, no karma-whoring today!

DON'T GO TO THAT SITE - IT'S DIARHHEA GIRL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305792)

asshole

Re:DON'T GO TO THAT SITE - IT'S DIARHHEA GIRL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305960)

Best. Subject Line. Ever.

Re:DON'T GO TO THAT SITE - IT'S DIARHHEA GIRL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305971)

haha LMAO

OWNT

PNWED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305996)

haha, he got you dude, show a little respect

Re:article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305796)

How noble of you! If there were more people like you around /. would be a better more family friendly place!

Re:article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305812)

GOD DAMNNN BASTARDDD!!!!!! whoever you are I'll find u

Re:article (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305874)

pwned

Not quite... (5, Insightful)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305783)

"See, you people say you have enough consoles, and a powerful PC, but whenever a new console comes out, you people always buy it."

We didn't buy the 3D0, TurboGrafx-16, or Jaguar, did we?

uh yeah.... (1)

ferrocene (203243) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305800)

I didn't buy the 3D0, no sir...don't remember playing evil clown driving games at all.

Nope.

Re:Not quite... (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305806)

No but I did buy a 32x! ...I hate myself...

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305836)

I bought a TurboGrafx-16... But I waited for when it was on the cheap!

Re:Not quite... (2, Interesting)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305902)

3DO was too expensive so we had good reason not to. The Jaguar had no good games and the ones that were supposed to be good never were released. And I can't speak for the TurboGrafx 16. As a side note, I owned a Jaguar and loved the Tempest 2000 and Iron Soldier games.

Re:Not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305942)

The 3DO, at the very least, had a few gem games.

StarControl 2, Wing Commander, Return Fire, Twisted. It wasn't worth the 500$ spent on it, but it's a nice system with some excellent titles.

StarControl 2 on the computer is a joke, ugh.

Re:Not quite... (1)

UtucXul (658400) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305991)

I bought the TurboGrafx-16. And even the stupid CD thing for it. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

Re:Not quite... (1)

SWTP_OS9 (658064) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306040)

The only thing I though was intersting on the orginal 3DO was the 15 minute video of a Animated Batman epsode demo on the include demo disk!

Re:Not quite... (4, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306071)

At the time, we weren't even in high school yet, let alone had jobs to buy consoles with. Now that we have jobs and money and free time to kill, we're looking for these consoles on eBay.

Of course, these older consoles aren't the ones that require a broadband connection. That's a good way to slash your target market down to an order of magnitude less than what it could be...

Vaporware (1)

jr87 (653146) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305791)

ehh...still sounds like pure vaporware to me...They are trying to sucker some investor into putting in and they will never put out.

Doesn't sound right (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305794)

1.8 GHZ P4 presumably not a celeron
256 mb of ram
80 gig ram
ATX architechture MotherBoard
NV 36 graphics
Controllers

cost $300.00

Definitely looks like an X-box like loss leader, problem is there is no OS included. What are developers going to develop to ? Whats more unless they have a couple billion to drop sales of consoles theres no way they are going to get the developer support on porting the games over.

Maybe their epoxy DMCA scheme could sound nice to developers, but is casual piracy of console games that extreme ?

Re:Doesn't sound right (1, Flamebait)

MikeXpop (614167) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305842)

All that for $300? Hell, the 80 gigs alone has got to cost at least $1500... *please mod or reply +1, funny or -1, unfunny, not -1, stupid*

Re:Doesn't sound right (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305867)

Mea Culpa
One of these days I will learn to proofread.

80 Gig HD

Re:Doesn't sound right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305848)

I can't reference where I read this but, $300 is for the starting model, apparently. The stats you listed are for a top-of-the-line model.

Re:Doesn't sound right (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305938)

os is win xp based according to pa article...

Re:Doesn't sound right (2, Informative)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305944)

All right, this thing sounds like it's one hundred percent vaporware, but let's play let's pretend for a moment...

You don't need an OS to develop a game. None at all. The only functionality that one would really need is how to talk to the hard disk to store items on it, and that could pretty much all be done through bios calls and a drive with some sort of documented filesystem interface on it. Everything else would be done through programming to the direct hardware, like most game consoles already do. In fact, I'd be one to argue that an OS will get in the way of getting down to the bare metal, and would provide worse performance than a "naked" system.

Additionally, game makers are terrified of piracy. Scared shitless. If someone makes a system that is more hack resistant to casual piracy, then they're going to have a pretty attractive carrot to dangle in front of developers.

Re:Doesn't sound right (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306003)

man at that price I'd defintely buy it. How long do they think its going to take some Uber-geek to figure all there DMCA bull shit boot Linux on that badboy.

Those people who belive that eventually client side security will work crack me up...

Re:Doesn't sound right (0)

spliff37 (653199) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306062)

What I find suspicious is the fact that you can't take it with you.

Indeed, the Phantom or any of it's software won't even be available in stores-- some stores will allow you to purchase a Phantom, but not leave with one: the machine will be shipped to your home.

Why would they do this? The only reason I can see is that they need to hardwire your identity (obtained from the order form) into the console in order to further enhance the DRM system.

Of course this increases the production costs per unit considerably, but I cannot think of another reason they would do this. Anyone?

Mandalorian Armor (2, Interesting)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305798)

Infinium is this year's Indrema. They've got pie in the sky plans and nothing to show for their hype. If you look at all the features Infinium is proposing for the Phantom it starts to look a lot like an updated L600 from Indrema. The hype for the Phantom actually looks like a cross between Lindows.com's and Indream's hype. It's like the marketoids from both companies got together in a conclave of absurdity.

I want to feel bad for anyone who invests in this flop. I find it exceedingly difficult however because they're painfully stupid. Hopefully the people backing Infinium married well so there's a chance their offspring to end up with decent genes.

I am laughing (1)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305807)

Lets see Pentium VI, Windows XP, nVidia Card etc...

Sounds like a PC. Too bad the general purpose version is pretty damn cheap anyway.

I think all these opportuneurs don't get it:

The general purpose computer will eventually price crush the game box.

Re:I am laughing (4, Interesting)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305927)

The general purpose computer will eventually price crush the game box.

it may price crush them (it's close to that now) but it is nowhere closer to having three things:

1. appliance-style instant-on "plug and play" -- instead you have to load the OS then install the game, then load the game, and so many things can go wrong there.

2. unified controller architecture (man the buzzwords) so that game developers don't have to worry about which version of Microsoft Sidewinder you're going to use, or maybe you'll just use the keyboard and a trackball or what have you.

3. "franchise" games like Nintendo's Mario, oh so popular with the young 'uns.

Now, what the PC does have, is mods. I think that's the big weakness of Xbox live and all that, there's no ability for the community to "embrace and extend" as it were. Kinda ironic, but not surprising. The PC is an open architecture computer, the game consoles are closed-architecture appliances.

Re:I am laughing (1)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305999)

Uh huh. And the game box will continue to better-game-crush the PC. Developers LIKE the game box because there are good sales of even the shittiest games while a shitty game on a PC might not recoup enough to pay one or two developers.

But it's easier to make a game for PC. Shit, games for other consoles are WRITTEN on the PC. So the pressure is on to find a way to make PC gaming profitable.

Hence, X-box. And ain't no way MS is giving that up to this idiot and his glow-box.

Check the New BeDoper (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305808)

BeDoper [bedoper.com]

Having reached what can only be termed an impasse in ongoing venture capital negotiations, BeDoper's parent company, the 404 Company, has elected to release all of their BeOS, Amiga, Linux and Windows hardware and software designs under the Nethack General Public License.

These products include:

1. Vickie

2. Auggie Doggie

3. Biputer

6. Electronic LSD

9. Walkman Pipe

7. Oral/Aural Web *

5. A500/A600/A1200 Power Supply Switch

8. Amiga Wireless Presentation Thingie

4. Musician's Union *

10. PhoneRoom

11. Virtual Theater

Any future shelved Wal-Mart items derived from these works shall become the sole property of myself and not the bloody multi-nationals who will undoubtably develop them. Shouts out: The Usual Suspects.

*Represents actual effort, and hence unavailable at press time.

I should point out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305831)

That the first link (Vickie) is the same machine as the phantom. And probably more likely.

Re:Check the New BeDoper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305840)

Auggie Doggie? Yeah that sounds like a great game to play IF I WAS A COCKSMOKING FAGMASTER

Re:Check the New BeDoper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305849)

What's it like to be trolled by the master, kid?

Vickie - Your portable emulator system. Small enough to take anywhere.

Vickie currently plays games from these systems:

Arcade Games
PC Games
Odyssey 2
Intellivision
Colecovision
PC Engine
Vectrex

Atari:
2600
5200
Lynx
Jaguar

Sega:
Master System
Game Gear
Genesis
Saturn

Commodore:
VIC-20
C-64
Amiga

Nintendo:
NES
SNES
Gameboy / Color Gameboy
Gameboy Advance
N64
Gamecube
Wonderswan / Color

Sony:
Playstation
Playstation 2 (coming soon)
Pocketstation

SNK:
Neo Geo
Neo Geo Pocket / Color

More Systems to be Supported...
TV Out/USB/Compatible with Arcade Joysticks such s the
X-Acade.
Thousands of ROMs Licensed for Sale on CD-rom or ia Internet Micropayment.
Powered by Linux.

Um hello...!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305819)

It's called the Phantom!!! What the hell do you think that means!? I wouldn't be surprised if the guy presenting walked out laughing his head off at the crowd he got for his presentation of "phantom" ware.

i know where to get one (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305823)

It is right next to the snowball in hell. So just fly down there in your hovercars and get one.

(Note to the well read, i dont mean Dante's hell.)

Re:i know where to get one (1)

SWTP_OS9 (658064) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306068)

Well Apple did state it froze they last week.

Full Sail! (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305824)

The article mentioned this presentation took place at Full Sail. Full Sail [fullsail.com] , the alma mater of Imari Stevenson, a school which also received accolades from the Romero, is also hosting a Phantom promo? Ever notice how everything sucky about the game industry seems to cluster together?

I used to imagine Full Sail as the kind of place that would ask you essay questions like "The President has been kidnapped by ninjas! Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?" on its application forms. Then I went here [fullsailsucks.com] and found out they don't have essays at all.

Re:Full Sail! (1)

Impotent_Emperor (681409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305868)

Ever notice how everything sucky about the game industry seems to cluster together?
Yes, it's called Florida.

I thought I read somewhere that Florida was the most corrupt state in the Union. I guess a lot of illegal activities go on down there.

Re:Full Sail! (-1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305970)

Two words: Governor Bush.

(shudder)

Re:Full Sail! (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306097)

It's not so bad as long as you don't have to deal with the people.

Jaysyn

heh (2, Funny)

revmoo (652952) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305825)

So, am I the only one planning on buying one and raping it for parts?

A P4, 80gig hard drive and some ram all for $300 eh? Not bad :-)

Re:heh (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305877)

nah, if we can flash it back to a normal pc, I'll turn it into a PC PVR/Game station.

Re:heh (1)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305888)

better bring your blowtorch, epoxy encapsulation sounds like it's hard to crack. One of these [remington.com] might work, if your aim is good. They aren't meant for epoxy removal, but I've found a .22 can deal with almost any adhesive.

solvents all around. (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306085)

epoxy encapsulation. Basically means they encase the electronics in glue.

They mus have never heard of solvents. If they can stick it, someone (and I'll be trying, working in a bio-chem lab has its advanatges...) will melt it.

Re:heh (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306087)

Woh,

That's a little over kill buddy!

I have a sneaking suspcion they aren't going to submerge this thing in epoxy. that would be a little expensive and probably an utter pain when slapping it together. They probably intend to glue the cards in or something silly.

Your just crazy enough to make it to my friends list, welcome aboard buddy!

I have a console for sale... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305838)

...really...I do...seriously...I'm not kidding...you'll see...you'll all see....one day I'll show you...and then you'll all pay...pay...PAY!!!!

ya know (5, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305860)

The idea is not bad, but you need to obey the first rule of business:

Know your Market.

A broadband fed video game console is not exactly new, ya know. (Sega's SegaNet for the Genesis, JagNet for the Atari Jaguar, etc) Neither is DRM technology. (Those of you that cracked Commodore games can now raise your hand, thank you all)

The video game market is really filled with thrill junkies. Looking for their latest fix. Weither that is Donkey Kong Country or Final Fantasy X-II, in the end, "It's the games, stupid."

If they can't name a single game, they're grasping at straws. A joke in an ATX case.

DMCA techniques? (0)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305862)

We don't need sensationalism to know that copyrights and patents are unnatural and soon to be abolished.

Site is already, slow, so here's the article text. (2, Insightful)

bo0ork (698470) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305872)

Phantom Impressions

By Glaximus [mailto]

The Presentation

A crowd of about 300 had gathered in one of Full Sail's larger classrooms for the monthly meeting of the Orlando chapter of the International Game Developers Association. Our guest speakers for the night were Infinium Labs, the company behind the oft-maligned and highly mysterious Phantom console. They were cautious with information, and while they did spill some details about the system, it's hardware, and their business model, they left a lot of critical questions unanswered. It was information about The Phantom, however, which until now had been almost non-existent.

The speaker for most of the presentation was Robert Shambro, one of two large Italian fellows who looked like they could moonlight as enforcement agents for various underground loan agencies. Rob spoke eagerly and seemed genuinely excited to present the Phantom and it's details to the crowd, but there was definitely a shiny coating of PR and spin covering the words of his oration. The other speaker was a third man, a generally non-descript laid back fellow by the name of Tim Roberts, who is the CEO of Infinium Labs. He answered a few questions but for the most part Rob did all the talking.

Yes, they did bring an actual Phantom "console" to the meeting. It looked exactly like the mock ups on the Infinium Labs website, and was about as big as a standard PC-- just picture your home desktop laying on it's side. Yes, it even had that glowing blue Phantom logo on the front. There were no visible controller ports, however there were some USB ports in the back, along with various outputs for S-Video, Component, A/V, a few USB ports and even a FireWire connection.

The Hardware

One of the first topics in the presentation was the Phantom's hardware. It was markedly different from what is listed on their website and in their promotional video, however Rob stressed that it was a beta box and that it may upgrade before release. They listed a 1.8Ghz Pentium 4 processor, 256mb of RAM (didn't mention what type) which could be upgraded to 512 or a full gig. An 80 gigabyte "storage device"-- no further specs than that were given. Rob also mentioned the system would be using "NVidia's NV36 graphics card." All the controllers and peripherals were made by Logitech, cord connected at first but wireless if you upgrade. He also said that currently the box was running on a standard ATX motherboard, which explained the console's size. Rob said he'd like it to be smaller but that's dependent on pricing issue, of course. He then went on to say that they had but five of these prototypes, which goes in direct contrast with previous statements from Tim Roberts that they "have several hundred prototype models here in the office." Well, perhaps those were earlier (Alpha?) prototypes.

As far as specs go, that's all we got. There are lots of little details missing-- RAM type, bus speeds, etc etc... technical as they are, they really make a difference in a high performance gaming machine. Again, Rob stressed that this was a Beta version of the hardware so things were subject to change.

Basically, the hardware is presented as a fair-to-middling PC. It even runs on a "specialized" Windows XP kernel. Now remember, consoles can get by with slower processor speeds and less RAM because they have very powerful hardware configurations made solely for pushing polygons around on screen. Also, most games run at a low resolution compared to your computer monitor. When questioned, Rob stated that the console is aimed for TV use.

Next topic was protection-- keeping the user out of the Phantom's hardware and software. He very quickly listed off lots of technologies and encryptions, nothing on the software end was out of the ordinary but some of the more interesting hardware ones were "Case Intrusion Detection" and "Epoxy Encapsulation of Critical ROMs." Yes, no going inside your own hardware for you, young gamer. Epoxy encapsulation-- covered in glue! All of this left our heads scratching as far as upgrades went, when Rob told us that the Phantom is not field serviceable! All hardware upgrades and improvments are done via shipping the console back to Infinium Labs, how that all works out is "yet undetermined." Indeed, the Phantom or any of it's software won't even be available in stores-- some stores will allow you to purchase a Phantom, but not leave with one: the machine will be shipped to your home.

All of this seems tied to a somewhat menacing tagline used in the beginning of the presentation: the first slide pictured a Phantom and underneath it read "The next generation in interactive gaming!" Ok, sure... but the line under that, in somewhat finer print, read "The Missing Link in Digital Rights Managment."

Content and Content Distribution

Here's where things get interesting. The Phantom has no actual input devices for physical media. No CD/DVD drives, no cartridge slots, not even a place for memory cards. All content is delivered online, via the mighty power of it's "always on" broadband connection. Games can be downloaded as trial demos, rented, or outright purchased. In the case of demos or rentals, you are required to be connected to the internet while you play. Rob certainly pitched the upside of this delivery model: no paying for packaging and no paying for shelf space at Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Ok, cool. One attendee asked if these savings would pass down to the consumer-- considering the "3 to 5 dollars" per game packaging costs and the ten to twenty dollars spent paying the store would be saved, games could be offered to a user at a lower price. Well, no, says Rob. He says that they don't want to have games that "cannibalize each other", and there he may have a point. If the Phantom version of Crusher XTreme sells for 30 bucks, and the PS2/GCN/XBOX versions all sell for 50, why not go with the Phantom one? Publishers shouldn't mind so much because they can take the same cut from each version and they would still sell as many, if not more, copies, right? Well, those economics may be suspect but what is most likely going on is that Infinium realizes that gamers have long accepted fifty dollars as the price of a new console game and are acting accordingly.

As far as a release schedule went, Rob said that the console would enter beta production in November, be tested throughout December-January, and be ready, tentatively, for a Q1 2004 release-- about April or so. As for price point, Rob said he would like to launch at $299, and that they were almost there hardware wise. The monthly subscription (required to play games) will be set at $9.95. Rob did point out that although there was no way for the company to make money on hardware, they weren't going to sell it at a loss either.

Rob really talked up the developer angle at this point. He said that Infinium was willing to accept all sorts of independent games, the SDK would be provided for free, and that these indie companies wouldn't need to go through a publisher. That does greatly reduce the cost for a small developer and it's a great way to get your game into people's homes. Profits from these games would be split 40/60 towards Infinium, but the price point for these indie games was not mentioned.

A few questions about this topic came up also. People enquired about a quality control system for these games, to ensure that not any ol' hack could just upload their half baked junk on the Infinium servers. The details for that were sketchy, and Rob said the framework wasn't really in place. He did say that he had "thousands" of interested parties contacting him weekly with games and ideas. One other attendee asked how his game would be noticed among these "thousands", especially if he was a small indie developer. Rob dodged this question quite a few times, but eventually he bit the bullet and admitted that developers who wanted front page recognition would have to pay a higher "slotting fee" to receive it. This caused audible consternation in the room. It seems that there's no escaping paying money for shelf space, be it on an end cap at CompuGiant or in the virtual halls of Infinium's shopping sites.

When it came to actual game content and launch titles, there was again only limited information. The meat of the launch content was going to be PC ports, with 1000+ games in the works, and 4000 more games from recent history. Console games were barely mentioned, Rob said that there weren't any console ports in the works because currently it was just too expensive. As far as titles in the works, again, no names mentioned but oddly he had a penchant toward virtual reality. In his mind it was the next big thing, and he told us more than once that Phantom developers who created virtual reality games would certainly be given priority. While he never defined "virtual reality", we all assumed he meant the good ol' headset-and-remote style of VR that found brief popularity in the mid 90s.

So, no games or companies mentioned, no indication of what the launch titles would be, or if there was even any Phantom-exclusive original content planned. When asked directly just who Infinium had in their corner, Rob's reply was interesting: "I can tell you I can't tell you. I can tell you I'd like to tell you. I can tell you who we don't have. Do we have EA? No."

He explained for a while that many publishers weren't willing to go the all-digital route yet, because of piracy fears and because Infinium hadn't really earned the trust of the industry yet. He pointed out the large amount of software readily available for Phantom gamers, but again, they are all PC ports of somewhat recent games.

Jukin' and Jivin

After the power point presentation, Rob opened the floor to a Q and A session. It was, at times, rather ackward. While constantly pleasant, Rob dodged and danced around a number of questions, reiterating what he had covered in the power point when he could, quickly looking for a new question when he couldn't. That's a shame too, because by this point he really had the ear of the crowd, and even though the details in the presentation were sparse it seemed like everyone was willing to give him a fair shake. The questions were sometimes critical but given that this was the first open Q&A session for the console, this was expected. However, his answers were sometimes circular, sometimes all together off topic. Some questions were answered by Tim (the CEO) but it always seemed that when he got to the "good stuff" in the answers, Rob would cut him off or ask for the next question.

For example, one critical attendee asked him about release schedules and how they'd work for indie developers who didn't have to work via a publisher. He began with, "Publishers are notorious for shipping games early to get the cash in and force players to beta test."

Rob quickly answered that "We wouldn't stand for such a thing," but the questioner continued, and when he mentioned that games would be brought to the Phantom in a "publisher-less environment", Rob interrupted and said that "publishers can't be ignored, and we always have to work within the publisher's demands."

The Q&A session went on for about half an hour, and the mood of the audience began to dim. One of the last questions asked was rather direct and perhaps aimed a bit low. "So, I have all my consoles at home, and I have a very powerful PC that plays lots of games and can be upgraded simply by installing new hardware myself. Why would I want to buy a Phantom?"

Rob's answer? "Well then you aren't really part of the Phantom's core user base."

That got some chuckles from the crowd, sure. But it was Rob's next statement that had the real impact. "See, you people say you have enough consoles, and a powerful PC, but whenever a new console comes out, you people always buy it."

Finally, The Demo...

After the Q&A session... the meeting ended. Over. Without a demo of the Phantom, not even the operating system. For all we know, the box on display with the bright blue light could have been nothing more than casing and a bright blue bulb. Earlier in the session Rob mentioned that the system's UI was "under construction" and all they had at the time were placeholder .jpegs. To not show the OS in this condition is somewhat understandable, for no doubt as soon as the pixels hit the large projection screen in the front of the room the cameras would go a-snappin'. But to leave the meeting hall without so much as a Phantom boot-up screen?

Impressions

Even with the somewhat negative buzz about the Phantom and Infinium Labs floating around, a few of us hoped to be impressed, if not converted entirely. Sadly, it was difficult to be impressed by the show. The presentation was quality, but it was lean on specs and details, and there was never a moment when anyone in the crowd was blown away. Rob dodged a lot of questions, and the group left without a demonstration of the technology. The Phantom seems to be a cross between console and PC gaming, but just barely. There really is the impression that the Phantom is just a PC in a box you can't open or play with. Without further specs on the hardware the system actually looks slightly underpowered-- bigger numbers don't necessarily mean better or faster. Even the XBox, the first to receive "PC in a Box" status, still has specialized hardware devices just for the type of processing games need. None of that sort of technology was mentioned in the meeting. There is an opportunity here to make digital content delivery a reality, but the extra-heavy focus on anti-piracy measures and inability to so much as take your game to a friend's house to play makes this less system less of a console than perhaps they realize.

From the software side, they aren't looking so hot either. With six months scheduled until their launch, and not a single title or 3rd party company mentioned to back them up, there's very little enthusiasm. I can't imagine someone looking forward to the Phantom's software lineup, because chances are they already have it, or will be able to buy it for their PC-- and actually have a physical copy of it, something which is impossible via the Phantom.

Overall, however, there's the impression that these guys really have little knowledge of or respect for the gaming public. In all of a 90 minute presentation/Q&A session, not a single game was mentioned by name by anyone from Infinium. They seem to be of the opinion that gamers will just buy the console because it's "cool and new." They claim to support indie development but the impression is they'd rather just exploit it. There's an almost sinister air about their trademarked slogan, "By gamers for gamers," because there's really doesn't seem to be a gamer among them.

Troll, beware (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305901)

Yes, they did bring an actual Penis "console" to the meeting.

This is a troll, reading the word penis is offensive to me (i'm a girl)

Re:Site is already, slow, so here's the article te (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305973)

"Oh the site is slow now..."

Yeah, fucking karma whore

We're all using prototypes right now! (1)

eagle8635 (674636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306032)

Here's the quote i like,

"He then went on to say that they had but five of these prototypes, which goes in direct contrast with previous statements from Tim Roberts that they "have several hundred prototype models here in the office." Well, perhaps those were earlier (Alpha?) prototypes."

Yeah, these "alpha" prototypes are known as PCs to the rest of the world. It really sounds like someone's been licking toads.

Games are Not His Focus (2, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305896)

This guy is not building a gaming platform. He's building a cable decoder.

Cable companies would like nothing more than to rent you immersive, persistent entertainment. ("Sell? That's so last millennium.") Problem: Cable boxes today are pitifully stupid due to the drive to keep costs low; they have no local storage. Also, they've learned the hard way, both through their spastic "Interactive TV" initiatives and their broadband internet offerings, that there's no way they can serve interactive games without intolerable download waits from the head end.

What they want is a PC that the subscriber can't modify in any way. It looks like the Phantom guys propose to build this.

Or, they could just be a bunch of flakes out to put over an obvious hoax on the industry. (Please support our "phantom" console, ha ha...)

Schwab

I can't see their market advantage (1)

deltagreen (522610) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305898)

The Phantom has no actual input devices for physical media. No CD/DVD drives, no cartridge slots, not even a place for memory cards. All content is delivered online, via the mighty power of it's "always on" broadband connection. Games can be downloaded as trial demos, rented, or outright purchased. In the case of demos or rentals, you are required to be connected to the internet while you play. Rob certainly pitched the upside of this delivery model: no paying for packaging and no paying for shelf space at Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Ok, cool. One attendee asked if these savings would pass down to the consumer-- considering the "3 to 5 dollars" per game packaging costs and the ten to twenty dollars spent paying the store would be saved, games could be offered to a user at a lower price. Well, no, says Rob. He says that they don't want to have games that "cannibalize each other", and there he may have a point.

Then how on earth are they supposed to compete?
They are limiting their own market to those who can get broadband. And for those who don't already have broadband, that's an extra cost, in addition to the regular console game pricing.
Add in the fact that they are competing with Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, who have exclusive content for their consoles. I really don't see how this can work. Lower price is probably the only way they can compete.

Infineum business plan (4, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305907)

1)hype console
2) Depend upon the utterance "You people buy every console there is."
3) Profit!

Yes folks! They have revealed the elusive and often obfuscated STEP 2!

Hallelujia! No longer do I have to steal underpants [geocities.com] to build a business!

April of 2004? (4, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305914)

That wouldn't happen to be April 1, 2004, would it?

Micheal, I think your should stop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305925)

anally raping little boys. Men are suppose to fuck women, not other men.

I resent your comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306059)

Michael Sims here, just to clarify, I havn't "raped" and little boys as you put it. Every sex act I committed with these boys was consentual. Each boy who was anally pleasured by my cock was well compensated with either candy or money, therefore it was not "rape" as you so bluntly put it. Please expect to hear from my lawyer, I will be suing you for defamation of character.

Photos Of the Headquarters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305935)

http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NTEyLDI=

For all you naysayers, here's a link with ACTUAL photos of their development labs!

Security features (1)

Takahashi (409381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305937)

I actually read the "article" and the author said that standard Digital Rights features would be included as well as epoxy encapsulation and case intrusion.

Case intrusion can be a useful feature by which you may be able to disable the device if opened (with or with out power).

It is my understanding epoxy encapsulation is when you bond the die directly to the PCB and embed the IC under a bubble of epoxy. This is standard practice.

IMHO this is all fake so I guess it doesn't really matter in the end. ;)

Enron Economics (5, Funny)

banzai75 (310300) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305941)

... and be ready, tentatively, for a Q1 2004 release-- about April or so.

If I remember correctly, April would be in Q2.

Actually (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7305978)

it doesn't have to be. You can start you're business year anytime.

Bad name for a console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7305983)

Cos every time I read the word 'Phantom', I associate it with a blood annoying alien - ifa yousa know what iya mean!

Re:Bad name for a console (1)

SWTP_OS9 (658064) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306100)

They cant use the term "The Phantom" Its already copywrited and tradmakes up the wazu! Its the title of a charactor that... now get this... hated Pirates!

This is more smoke and mirrors than VisOn Windows!

Pssh... epoxy THIS. (1)

MP3Chuck (652277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306010)

Who wants to bet they get Linux running on it within a month of its release...

Re:Pssh... epoxy THIS. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306031)

For the die-hard geeks around the world. This is EXACTLY the kinda system we want to hack. If it's "unhackable" then it WILL get hacked. Plus, it will be a shinning example to the rest of the industry to not invest so much on consumer lock-down. But rather, invest the same amount in quality control.

This is Going to Tank (2, Insightful)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306022)

First of all, this is basically an easy-to-use version of a PC. The AOL of PCs if you will that plays already existent console games.

Secondly, what if your area doesn't have broadband? Doesn't about 50% of the US still use modems?

And finally, no memory card, no disk drive. You want your friend to borrow your game? No problem. Give him the whole console. Want to trade save games. Same thing. There's a reason we have disk drives and memory cards, this is it.

So where does that leave our audience? I guess that means anyone who has broadband, doesn't have a good PC, and doesn't like to play console games with friends.

Any takers?

Slashdot is really going downhill (0, Flamebait)

Musc (10581) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306102)

Remember when slashdot used to be a reputable news source? Clearly those days are long gone.
Since when are web-comics a news source? Also, whats with those stupid links to elmer's glue and some rubics cube type puzzle doing up there?

I propose a new addition to the slashdot moderation system. There should be an option to moderate the STORY as '-1 Troll'.

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