Early 3D mockup of the Phantom
Announced over a year ago, Infinium Labs is finally set to debut this console on March 31st, 2004. This mysterious Game console is probably the most over hyped system of all time. Supposedly it's not going to have CDs or DVDs, all games or other content will be downloaded via the VPGN (Video Player Game Network or something like that.) Like a PC the system is supposed to be "on" all the time while programs, DDLs, patches, and updates auto-install once they become available. The advantage to this (they say) will be that games will be cheaper due to cutting out distributors, packaging, fighting for shelf space, etc.
Sounds like a good idea, but I can see one problem: What are you supposed to do once you run out of hard drive space? Delete the game? Then do you have to pay for it over again? I suppose then you should be able to download it again for free (since you already paid for it) but what if you delete it then for some reason the server doesn't offer it anymore? So did you just pay full price to essentially rent a game? What if some fool breaks into your house and you have to beat him to death with your Phantom game console, then as the home invasion robber lays dying at your feet he whips out a .44 magnum and fires, but with your quick ninja skills you deflect the bullet with the game console? Now your Phantom is messed up and covered in blood and it doesn't boot up, so do you have to buy all the games all over again? What if a buncha stupid script kiddies mangle the VPG-wahcamacallit network and delete all your account info so it looks like you didn't buy any games? Are you just stuck with the permanent Phantom spiky bootie-rod or what?
I suppose they have answers for these questions, still I don't like the idea of not having a physical cartridge, CD, or DVD in my hands. Although working units of this console were shown at the latest E3 the only pic I could find was this CG mock-up, so I have no idea what the system actually looks like. The whole thing sounds just like the DisCover system to me, but with the added pain-in-the-butt of dealing with company bozos every time you have a problem downloading something, which brings me to another question: Just how much is this thing gonna cost? Are they going to provide the internet service free or do you have to pay for that too, regardless if you download games or not? I don't know, while this is a cool concept something tells me it's not going to work very well. I guess we'll all find out next month.
For some time we've all known that the Phantom has been canned. Just been lazy and haven't updated the page. It's a shame too, despite all of the rumor and hype I actually thought this console might have had a chance out in the real world.
The pics of the white Phantom there are the closest any of us are going to get to owning the real console. These were shown at last year's E3 and of course were ganked off of some news site of somebody who actually went. A much slimmer desgin than the sharp, black edgey thing in the 3D mockup. A few protoypes are problably floating around of the black style too, or at least a few empty cases.
A few other games were shown in addition to Varmitz there, and I'm sure there's problably a lot of working units floating around as this console got all the way to production stage when Infinium just ran out of money. It really sucks too, becasue what the games industry needs (actually, any industry periodically) is a shot in the arm from outsiders to keep fresh ideas going. That's what keeps stuff from becomming boring.
The Phantom is a sad, sad story of the little guy who tried to break in with the big boys and lost even before getting a foot through the door.
Back to Unreleased Systems
nVidia NV36 GPU
AMD Athlon XP 2600 CPU
512Mb DDR RAM
80Gb hard drive
5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Wireless keyboard and mouse
Logitech corded controller
100 megabit Ethernet adapter
6 USB ports (4 on the front panel)
S-Video, RCA and composite outputs
Supports NTSC, PAL and HDTV