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August 16, 2006

The case of the disappearing Phantom console

Posted by Kim Peterson at 4:58 PM

Some blogs are going crazy today because someone noticed that Seattle-based Phantom Entertainment has updated its Web site and there is no longer any mention of the long-awaited video game console it has been touting.

Phantom Entertainment, previously named Infinium Labs, is legendary in the gaming industry for promising, and then failing to deliver, a video-game console that could compete with the Xboxes and PlayStations. The company says it will now debut a keyboard and an on-demand gaming service that runs on Windows XP.

But close observers would note that the company did away with the game console some time ago.

This is from a regulatory filing in February:

The Phantom Game Receiver is a game console designed to integrate easily into a family's home entertainment system. It connects to any standard television, as well as A/V receivers. The Phantom Game Receiver accesses the Phantom Game Service by connecting to a broadband Internet connection.... Its primary components consist of a central processing unit, high-end video processor, high-speed memory, computer motherboard and large hard disk drive.

This is from a filing in May:

Currently our business activities are almost entirely dedicated to the development of the Phantom Lapboard. The Phantom Lapboard is comprised of the following key features: (1) a 360-degree rotating keyboard for left or right-handed users; (2) the first keyboard with a lap board for maximum comfort; (3) the first keyboard with mouse integrated 30 degree lift; (4) wireless functionality from approximately 30 feet; (5) gaming and media optimized key layout; (6) customized gamer keys for the competitive edge, (7) extended spacebar and (8) intended to have maximum durability to keep up with significant game play.

So it looks like between February and May, the decision was made to yank the console/TV scenario and focus mainly on a keyboard/Windows XP setup.

On its site, Infinium said the Phantom game service "was originally engineered to run on a Windows XP embedded operating system on a Phantom Game Receiver managed by Phantom content servers over the Internet." That doesn't appear to be true.

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