The Phantom Looking More Real, New Business Model Still Questionable
from the at-least-it-appears-to-exist dept
As expected, Infinium Labs is using E3 as its coming out party to prove that they do, in fact, have a product. You may recall this is the company that has faced lots of doubt about whether or not its gaming console really existed. The company started to look a bit more respectable by hiring a CEO who helped develop the X-Box, but quickly lost a lot of goodwill by suing one of the sites that questioned the legitimacy of the company. Now, they’re making a big push to prove that they exist. Wired News has an article about the company saying that instead of pushing it as competition to gaming consoles, they’re targeting “occasional” or “lapsed” gamers and offering the system as a service. That is, if you agree to pay $30/month for two years you get the hardware “free” and access to the basic level of downloadable games they offer. Of course, it’s not really free, but the hardware fee is baked into that monthly fee. Of course, it looks like they still don’t have any publishers officially signed up. The games they’re displaying at E3 are only for display at E3 and might not actually be available when the device/service launches in November. As anyone in the gaming business will tell you, if you don’t have good publishers signed up early, the gaming device will fail. Infinium seems to believe they’ll be able to sign up enough publishers now that they can demonstrate the device publicly and build some buzz. You’ll also notice that the box looks entirely different than it did just a few months back when people were doubting that it really existed. More importantly, you have to wonder about the business model and the target market. They say they don’t want hardcore gamers, because they’ll already have a console and a PC with all the games they want. However, you have to wonder why the occasional or lapsed gamer wants to pay $30/month if they don’t really play games that often. On top of this, the games they’ll offer at that basic level of service are older games. As Infinium points out, this may help get publishers on board by offering them a new revenue stream for old games, but that also means that your offering users old games. I guess they’re hoping that these lapsed video gamers won’t notice that they’re playing old games, but it doesn’t seem like the most compelling pitch to a lapsed gamer: come back to gaming, but get locked into a two year, $30/month contract, and we’ll let you play a few old games that you can probably pick up for a couple dollars in the bargain bin!