by Mike Masnick

Phantom Loses Its Only Shred Of Credibility

from the vaporware-for-everyone dept

You may recall the story of Infinium Labs and their very aptly named "Phantom" gaming console. Announced to great amounts of hype, it had some people scratching their heads from early on asking if it was really real. Some enterprising folks did some investigating and turned up an awful lot of evidence that the whole thing was a big scam, set up by the founder who had a history of shady business dealings. Every attempt to prove it was real wasn't particularly convincing. They showed up at CES in 2004, but wouldn't actually turn the box on and even announced a release date of March 31, 2004 (yes, 2004), which came and went. In February of that year, the company tried to silence critics in two ways. First, they hired Kevin Bachus as CEO. Bachus was one of the early creators of the original Xbox, and gave the company immediate credibility -- just as more accusations started coming out about how the company was really just a stock scam. The second way they tried to silence critics was to sue them. Rather than actually answer the charges that the company was a scam, they sued the original reporters who dug up the story. Since then, they haven't done very much, other than show up at the occasional trade show while still keeping most of the details secret. A year ago, stories started floating saying that the company was out of money. They apparently did raise some money, but were immediately sued by the investment bank that helped them, claiming that the company never paid them for the help. If all that hadn't scared you away from the company by now, perhaps the fact that its last shred of credibility apparently just walked out the door when their "respectable" CEO quit the company. And the Phantom console itself? Still appears to be complete vaporware.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 4:13pm

    Where's the SEC?

    Why doesn't the SEC shut this crap down? SCOX, IFLB.OB, etc. -- why do these companies get to keep abusing the markets?

    Check out this graph:

    Until we see criminal charges pressed, accounts frozen, etc., it's pretty hard to have confidence in the mechanisms of the executive branch to ensure fair and honest markets.

    Who polices the SEC? How do we know they're really doing a honest job themselves?

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

  2. identicon
    Michael "TheZorch" Haney, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 4:21pm

    Phantom Was Promising

    If the technology for the console had been real at all it was pretty interesting. It was basically a game system that used Voxel Graphics.

    Voxels are 3D pixels. A game called Outcast used the technology to some dazzling results even though it didn't use 3D acceleration. Command & Conquer used Voxels to a limited extent to draw and animate units.

    In theory, Voxels can be used to render a very detailed image. If a whole scene is rendered with Voxels you can do things with it that only the newest Polygon based graphics engines are able to do today. The issue with Voxels though is that each 3D Pixel requires a lot of memory and a lot of math processing. Back when Outcast came out the maker of the game was really pushing the envelope where technology stands. Today's faster PCs and the new 64-bit AMD chips can handle it easily. A hardware acceleration for Voxel, which is what the Phantom was supposed to be able to do, would have been very interesting.

    Its sad to learn it was just a pipe dream.

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

  3. identicon
    Mike, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 5:59pm

    However... still shows signs of life for The Phantom, and includes pictures of the system actualy running UT2004 at E3 '04. The design seems to have changed a lot, but if it exists or not, there are two things stopping it from being released: next-gen monsters and a litlle thing called BitTorrent.


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

  4. identicon
    discojohnson, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Phantom Was Promising

    and don't forget Total Annihilation

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

  5. identicon
    amazon10x, Nov 23rd, 2005 @ 7:34pm

    No Subject Given

    Typo: "A year ago, stories started floating saying that the was out of money."

    As much as I do think this is vaporware, I do hope something comes of it because it seems like an awesome idea.

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

  6. identicon
    Stoned4Life, Nov 24th, 2005 @ 9:24am

    G4 Interview

    I saw this tv interview (bottom-left) and for awhile I was convinced, but he never actually played the game, so... I don't know.

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

  7. identicon
    Adam W, Nov 24th, 2005 @ 11:40pm

    No Subject Given

    The sad part is that in five years from now everyone's going to be playing "Phantom style" consoles from Microsoft, Sony, LuckyGoldStar or whoever else owns the console market at that point. The idea itself is simple and workable, it's just not being executed with any kind of competence.

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

  8. identicon
    giafly, Nov 25th, 2005 @ 5:45am

    Woo! Cartoons about Phantom!

    Penny Arcade 22 Jan 2003
    Penny Arcade 23 Feb 2004

    Including the classic quote about killing a dog.

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

  9. identicon
    Mike, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 1:50pm

    I actually remember seeing this company in 1998 at E3 in Atlanta.

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

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