Is The Phantom Real? Is It An Xbox Rival, A TiVo For Games, Or Both?

from the keep-up dept

CNN has started investigating the "mystery" of the Phantom - a hyped up gaming console that no one was quite sure existed. The reporter finally tracked someone down and got a little more info. It appears that it's a gaming console that is designed to receive games over the internet, rather than via plastic discs you stick into a tray. This actually makes a lot of sense, if done well (a big if). Someone from Infinium Labs (the company working on the device) says it's a cross between a WebTV and a TiVo - but for games. Of course, that's also what Microsoft claimed to be working on with their mix of WebTV/UltimateTV/Xbox.


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  1.  
    identicon
    TAD, Aug 27th, 2003 @ 3:11pm

    Downloading???

    Today's console games come on dual density DVDs. That's up to 4 GB per game, at least. Unless my broadband pipe gets a LOT broader, there won't be any instant gratification in downloading games. I can't imagine downloading for 2 or 3 days to get 1 game.

    Bah

    It's a hoax

     

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  2.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 27th, 2003 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Downloading???

    Well... that was my first reaction too, but the more I think about it, the more I think there are ways this could work.

    I agree that the gratification may not be instant, but it's not really instant when you buy a game either... You still need to go out to the store and buy the game - or order it online and wait a few days for it to show up.

    If the gaming system can be designed to start downloading portions of the game automatically in the background (overnight?) you might actually be able to start playing a game or test it out before making a purchase decision.

    Who knows, though. I think there are some possibilities here, but implementation is a big question.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2003 @ 3:24pm

    Move out of the Third e-World - was Re: Downloadin

    TAD,

    Your comment followed yet another of Mike's posts on how non-american countries actually HAVE net access. Even if it depends on a pipe fatter than what Verizon's doling out by the teaspoon, it still may be more than a mere hoax.

    "Bah" to you.

    While the bulk of the most provincial of americans don't really use the net, I'm rather surprised to see a techdirt reader spouting a comment that is so obviously yokel. Please, Tad, please, experience some life outside your own zipcode!


     

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  4.  
    identicon
    TAD, Aug 27th, 2003 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Downloading???

    Even the demo of a great console game is going to weigh in at a few hundred mega bytes at the very least. That's still an hour or more at 1Mbps. I think discless is ultimately the way to go, but this may be yet another case of a great idea way before it's time.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 27th, 2003 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Downloading???

    Right, but assume the demos are downloaded automatically overnight, and the next morning the user notices "oh, hey, I have a new game to demo..."

    Or, if users can get beyond the idea of instant gratification, it could work. If they pitch the service more like a Netflix-style service, where you "rent" something, but it won't show up for a few days, then I could see it working as well.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    TAD, Aug 27th, 2003 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Move out of the Third e-World - was Downloadin

    Having grown up in Mississippi, I don't think I've ever been called a yokel, though "cracker" and "redneck" may have come up on occasion.

    I may yet be proven wrong... and Duke Nukem Forever may be out in time for xmas too!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Peteo, Aug 27th, 2003 @ 5:59pm

    Can Be done

    A Few years ago I went for a job interview at a company that can "stream" games... Ie it would download parts of a game.It worked and took about 5 to 10 mintues for the game to run on a 1.5 mbit connection. Not sure if they are using that. I know yahoo! games has something like that now though.

     

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  8.  
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    dorpus, Aug 27th, 2003 @ 6:06pm

    Mmmm Network Computing

    Remember that worthless fad of the late 90s, dumb terminals called "network computers"?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Phantoms don't exist ..., Aug 28th, 2003 @ 8:27am

    Phantoms don't exist ...

    @ this point I think the word " Phantom " is quite fitting ...
    I'd say aprapro' but I'm sure I've mispelled it and besides I'm boycotting the French and only eating Freedom Fries ... ( grin )
    Jeeze I miss my Yoplait :-(

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Aug 28th, 2003 @ 10:14am

    Re: Downloading???

    TAD,

    DVDs are not 'dual density', they are single or dual layered. Single layered DVDs can hold up to 4.7 GB of data and dual layered DVDs can hold up to 9.4 GB of data.

    Also, you don't need all 4 GB or (9.4 GB) in memory at one time to play, a majority of what's on the disc is cut scenes, additional levels, etc. You could probably get started playing with as little as 300-400 MB downloaded (maybe less) and continue to download while you play.

    The problem I foresee is how many games can you download before you fill up your hard drive?

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Peeomp, Nov 16th, 2003 @ 5:53am

    Re: Downloading???

    I agree with you as to what the 'potential' problem facing this 'potential' console is. I would not want a system which can only play as much as the hard drive can hold. IF it is possible to make a wifi downloaded game truly playable in less than several days and IF this concole does ever get produced and IF it is truly as amazing and ahead of all the existing options on the market, why would I buy it if I can only own a handful of games at any one time. I currently own every next-gen console on the market and have enough game titles to fill several shelves in my entertainment center. If I had to put all of my games on myhard drive, I would cut my collection by two thirds. I am as yet unconvinced that this system is feasable with todays technology, unconvinced that some unknown start-up in the gaming business can out-design the existing giants who spend billions on R&D, and unconvinced that a less than informative web site and a few vague media links amount to much more than a pipe dream on Behalf of Mr. Robbins and his company. Of course, I could be wrong.....but I like to make my predictions based on logic and evidence, not on what I am capable of dreaming up.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Roman1, Nov 19th, 2004 @ 10:35am

    Phantom is a phantom

    All i can say about this "phantom" is buyer beware! !Do the research and you will find that the founder of Infinium labs has a history he doesnt want the world to know about.....Only a fool would invest anything into this myth!!Also look at the specs on this console An AMD 2500+ 256 RAM and a 40 gig hard drive!!I could find hardware better than that in my local (Radio Shacks) trash..Do you honestly think your going to play todays hottest games with specs like that?? It seems like they threw something together quickly to keep people quiet long enough to make of with your money....It just seems to fishy to me.....

     

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