by Mike Masnick

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!

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  1. identicon
    alex, 10 May 2004 @ 10:54am

    No Subject Given

    AMD Athlon XP 2500+ and Nvidia GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, 256MB of RAM, and a 40GB hard drive for $200??

    How fast do you thing someone is going to hack the hardware and just put Linux on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    data64, 10 May 2004 @ 1:35pm

    Seems like any publicity is good publicity

    I think Infinium Labs is a classic example that goes to show "Any publicity is good publicity".
    If they had not been in the news all this time thanks to them suing people and looking like they are making a fool of themselves, this story would not have been posted here on TechDirt nor would anybody else really care for them. But, since Infinium has been in the news they get mentioned everywhere.

    I still wonder how many would actually purchase their products, but Infinium labs atleast has got a lot of geeks at least aware and looking at their products. (mindshare ?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2004 @ 9:04am

    Is it going to make game publishers more money?

    If not, why would they support it in any way? I sure as hell wouldn't.

    I'm still trying to figure out why this seems like a good idea to them.

    Totally agree with people hacking the box, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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