CNN Technology took a closer look at Infinium Labs' mysterious console system and also got ahold of David Frederick, chief marketing officer at the company. Frederick commented on the key concept behind the system and certain rumours.
Read more for the full article!The Phantom is said to launch in early 2004 at a price of about $300. In addition to that owners also have to pay a monthly fee of about $10 as well as extra costs for "premium games."
While the official product sheet doesn't forget to mention that the system will feature the most potent hardware thanks to "blazing processor speed", promising "cinematic graphics", Frederick states that the way the software is distributed will be the real key to the success of the Phantom.
Phantom is a new way to deliver content into your living room. The box is a means to an end.Comparing this approach to WebTV he also says:
[...]we've taken it to the 10th degree. WebTV tried to take advantage of folks who weren't tech savvy. That was a closed, shrinking market. Whereas all our research indicates that online gaming -- and gaming as a whole -- is rapidly growing.The article also is a reaction to recent claims that the Phantom may be nothing but a hoax. Empty office space was seen where "facilities" were supposed to be according to a story over at Penny Arcade.
Now if we ignore all those hoax rumours for a second, who is likely to buy the system? The Phantom will be bundled with about 50 games and while I'm not eager to pass judgement on something I have yet to see live, I'm tempted to think that this number also hints at the quality of that particular software. Is the average customer going to be convinced that she/he is purchasing a "high performance game console" if the default games look worse than a Playstation title? And how attractive will a monthly fee look to people who already have subscribed to one or more MMO games and/or services such as Xbox Live?
Also, if you release a new system people will naturally compare it to the current standard. Even the best hardware and the most clever distribution approach cannot compensate for the lack of killer applications. Marketing can do that - initially at least. But Infinium Labs certainly does not have the same resources companies like Sony or Microsoft have. As for the software, thousands of games are promised to be available. Which again indicates PC software. Same for the hardware since the 3 GHz version apparently is only one of several systems to be offered.
Legacy content that's six months old could still be really fun to play, but retailers have to make room for the new stuff -- until Phantom, he hopes.
I admit this one was taken out of context but one wouldn't be surprised if this statement also hints at the nature of the majority of software titles available for the system. Offering a cheap gaming PC might not be a disastrous idea but if it is to be marketed and sold in the same context as PS2 & Co. it won't fly off the shelves. Well, that's it for my 'thoughtless speculation of the moment'. Have a nice day ladies and gentlemen.