regarding Infinium's console generated a fair amount of mail,
especially for a piece that's barely been up 24 hours.
were a fair number of flames, of course - one could expect as much, even
Infinium has their fanboys. There were a goodly number of "you only
wrote that for the traffic you don't know what you're talking
about" emails, which I have addressed on our news page.
of these flames seemed to come from Infinium's own servers. Or, rather,
they came from servers CLAIMING to be infinium.com but not sharing
remotely the same IP address. I suspect those have a high probability of
being joe-jobs and as such, am just going to leave them alone.
none of the flames were really coherent. One person stated that
something I was analyzing might be based on a false assumption, which
I'll answer in this article. Beyond that, if I were to try to make any
of the flames censor-friendly, there'd be only a few words left and the
emails would actually be less coherent for it.
on with the emails. Note: Some of them have been reformatted (spacing
and HTML removal only), because copying and pasting HTML email from
inside of Eudora is annoying. Typos have been left intact, anything in
white non-bold text read below here should be read as [sic].
Does anyone remember the original DIVX format? Yeah that went the way of the
dodo real fast. As will the Phantom *if* it ever actually becomes a physical
product. Nobody in there right mind wanted to pay to view the movies they
already purchased when DIVX came out and nobody will pay to play games they
already own on a Phantom.
we remember DIVX. The players sell really cheap nowadays considering
they also play normal DVDs.
After reading IF's set of letters written to HardOCP, I had a momment of doubt
about who was right. I never dove into the specs behind The Phantom because
I'm not into Consoles much, but you're right. The Phantom IS total BS.
I do have a feeling IF is going to send you a box labled Phantom Console...
that will contain packaging penuts and air. They will then claim you lost
their super console in an attempt to sabatoge their stock and damage their
person in the millions of dollars.
In regards to people saying you did the article for traffic only.. I don't
really care, either way I'm adding you to my favorites list right behind
HardOCP. Keep up the good work,
I will start with saying...very well done. Your message was very concise
and informative. I also believed that your views were well stated as "Your
opinions". I appreciate the time that you took to inform the community of a
"interesting business venture", and the possibilities of practices that
might have been overlooked...as I did not notice some of the fine print when
I visited the Infinium Labs website.
I just thought you would like to get a response from someone who is
not a hardcore console gamer. Actually, I don't even own a console...im a
PC puppy, but your article was well written enough to keep my interest
to hear from a PC guy on the matter.
Just read the article, I have also
been following what everyone else has said regarding this ‘console’. To be
honest, after reading through all of the articles regarding the cost and the
actual product, I’d probably say that they’d (infinium labs) would have to hold
me at gunpoint for me to fork out that kind of money for a PC in a little box
that plays the same game available on my higher spec pc, and without a
subscription fee to ‘some funny company that I’ve never heard of
I remember an Xbox having a faster
processor and memory, hdd space and the like, and the reviews all came back
saying the games ran too fast, I can only imagine the chaos when people start
buying different models of the console. Some versions running the game smoothly
and others not, but only after spending 20/30 hours to download the title in the
I’m writing from the
UK, the average broadband user is on
0.5mb and at 50KB per second peak!!!!! I would not expect this console to be
very popular, or at least many people would return them due to the fact that it
only takes 5 minutes to walk down the road to your local Dixon’s and pay £30/40
for a PS2/Xbox/GC/any other console title, with no necessary subscription
Sounds like Brits who get in for this are REALLY going to be in trouble.
Interesting on the overclocked Xbox, though I couldn't find a story on
Robert Fisher writes:
I 100% agree with your evaluation of the Infinium
Phantom. I am a PC and Cosole gamer, and this thing sounds like a illconcieved
way to bilk investors and consumers out of their money. The idea sounds good at
first...but when you really think about and look at it this thing is one big
steaming turd waiting to be unleashed on the public. After reading the
HardOCP's September article, this thing has to be a way to scam people out of
their money. If this console even gets released it will crash and burn. Only
the very rich and dumb spoiled kids will get one, and they they will be left
with a paper weight once the service is cancelled 4 months after release.
Thanks for the article.
they have a lot of big names signing on with the console, so who knows
about a scam - I just don't see them getting widespread adoption enough
to justify keeping it around that long.
Eric Daniels writes:
I agree with you 110% percent. The one additional thing that I would point
out is that I doubt that they will be able to obtain any exclusive titles.
Consoles don't sell consoles....exclusive games sell consoles. I am someone who
currently owns seven different consoles and regularly uses four of them.
Exclusive titles are what sold me on most of them. The first three Nintendo
consoles were purchased for me when I was a kid/teen so they don't really count
in this discussion and were before the current console war started anyway.
Dreamcast I bought because it was the first 128bit console....but really I
bought it for Soul Calibur. Every console since then I bought purely because
they had an exclusive title that I wanted and couldn't get them without having
that console. PS2 had Gran Turismo 3, Dreamcast had Rogue Leader and Pikmin,
XBox had Project Gotham Racing and Halo. The XBox certainly was interesting
feature wise with the HD and Dolby Digital and all of that but! it was the games that made me buy it. The XBox has since become my
console of preference because of those features but I wouldn't have made the
purchase without PGR. Without a published developer list and with NO discussion
of exclusive titles I don't think that there is really much to talk about.
There are many reasons I don't think any developers will give them exclusive
1. They are instantly excluding any potential customers who live outside
of the range of broadband and/or can't afford broadband. One of the beautiful
things about consoles are that they are relatively cheap ways to play
2. They are an unproven company/product. It's a chicken and egg thing.
You need the user base to be able to draw exclusive titles and you need the
exclusives to be able to draw users. Even though the XBox and PS1 were unproven
consoles from unproven console manufacturers, they were from proven
companies...with incredibly deep pockets.
3. To be honest, thinking back on it, most of the exclusive games that
sold consoles came from developers OWNED by the maker of the console, or at
least with longstanding relationships with the maker. Infinium labs doesn't
have the capital to buy anyone and likely won't for a long time if ever and they
don't have longstanding relationships with anyone let alone
Just my $.02
a heck of a $0.02. You make an excellent point - the Atari beat the
Intellivision with a similar strategy, and the NES beat the Sega Master
System the same way. One must have "killer app" games.
David Walling writes:
First let me start off by saying I
agree that I don’t think the console will do well… even if there really is one.
I do, however, have a few ideas you may want to ponder about how they may do
things. Also, let me state this is the first time I’ve ever written an email
about thoughts I had about an article. I think your article was very good and
well thought out, I just have a few ideas I wanted to
First off, about the size of the
games. I agree, on a console based system where all maps and game data must be
stored on the same disk, that a single game can easily take up 3-5 gigs. On a
system like the phantom though, the games could be smaller. More like some of
the current computer games. If all of the 3d libraries and other system critical
software is stored on the disk already, than downloading a new game would be
more a matter of just downloading ai, maps, models, etc. Also, not saying that
this is how they are going to do it, but if it were up to me, what could be done
would be the initial download could consist of the main game data and the first
few maps, and then while you are playing those maps, the others could be
downloaded in the background. This would cut down the amount of time you would
have to wait to start playing the game.
I also think I remember reading
somewhere that the console may use an embedded version of winXP. If this is the
case, then having more memory, or a faster processor could benefit the speed of
the game… both on loading times and rendering times. Of course, I feel basing
anything on windows is sketchy at best.
I sometimes wonder if this console
was designed more from a computer point of view than a gaming console. In which
case, Infinium labs would probably be smarter in just trying to sell the service
to people that already have a computer to download games
One nice thing I could see about an
always on console idea, is that software and game updates could be done
automatically at night (or early morning) when most people are sleeping. If it
is done right, the user would never knew it happened, only to wake up the next
morning finding out that all there games are getting better fps, and/or have
I think to make it work, they’re
subscription would have to be more like cable TV, where your cost per month
already gives you a couple of games to download, and then charge for each
Again, I’m not really sure how all
this mess will turn out, but I will be looking forward to at least reading about
how they do decide to do things. I probably won’t buy one, but then again, I’m
not a huge console person anyways.
Thanks for your time.
point on games that download the first section as you play is well made,
but still - very few of this generation's games are on one CD, and those
that are compress the data to the CD with a heavy compression scheme.
Even if one just downloads the core app and first level, and leaves the
rest for later, we're still talking about 60% of the game that HAS to
get downloaded before you can start. And them games, they just keep
getting bigger - remember, we used to be able to fit them on FLOPPIES.
Now we're looking at DVDs rather hungrily.
Vincent Drake writes:
Nice article. I completely agree that a normal console or computer gamer would
never put of up with the "features" (restrictions) that the Phantom has planned
for it. But as I read your article, it dawned on me that there was at least one
market that such a closed system may flourish in: Hotels.
entertainment centers are not new, but they are usually a hack of an existing
system with some flimsy download option. Customers in a hotel environment are
used to paying premium for every service they use (did you break the plastic
lock on the fridge? $20), most upscale hotels already have broadband
connections, the gamer generation is growing up, going to conventions, staying
in hotels, so this might be an aluring prospect for hotel
That's about the
only niche I can imagine the Phantom materializing in.
make an EXCELLENT point about this market. A set of Phantoms in a hotel,
with their pay scheme billed to the room, and a reasonable preload of
their hottest titles (with the option to download others on limited
rental of course) might make a big impact there.
can't see someone locating that setup in their bedroom or living room,
Austin Shau writes:
No, seriously, THANK YOU.
Penny Arcade makes fun of the
thing because it's just ridiculous. [H]ardOCP exposes the company for what it
is, or at least, exposes the people behind it and why it's dubious.
finally, we have the third necessary part to exposing a ridiculous operation
that in no way could have worked in the past, won't work now, and will probably
never work: a legitimate analysis of the actual product and service at hand, and
why it... well... sucks.
Your last paragraph before your Final Words
really hit it on target, and is something I never even thought about at
"While it could be claimed that the $10 goes to Phantom's
providing an "opportunity" to buy and use new games each month, what are we
really talking about here? That's right, we're talking about Gamestop or
Gamecrazy or Best Buy charging you a "viewers' fee" at the door just to SEE
what's in their store, then charging you again to take it home, then charging
you a monthly fee or they'll send someone around to take it back."
can explain it away. "It's for server maintenance." Yeah, that's why we pay full
retail price already. As you say, it's as if we were expected to pay GameStop's
rent for them on top of paying for the game. Why in god's name do they thing
retailers have a markup??? Why don't they just sell it for the cost of the disc
I think some things you need to point out or remind your
readers, though, is that...
(a) most likely it will be playing PC games,
not games made specifically or ported specifically for this "console" (or has
there been news that state otherwise? I honestly don't know so please correct me
if I'm wrong, I'm curious to know).
(b) people who want to play PC games
-- the way they're meant to be experienced -- they will pay a premium for a
nicely assembled PC. If not, they'll buy an Xbox. And if they *don't* want to
play PC games... well that's why there's Nintendo in the first place, isn't
(c) as such, the Phantom isn't sure of what it wants to be: a
living room PC, or a console? (This, actually, is a flaw I see with the DISCover
consoles, which I personally think are ridiculous but not as much as this
Phantom monster). When a company and its product aren't sure of what to be, and
the marketing shows as much, people aren't sure of whether to buy it or not.
(Unless it's a finely crafted game like Deus Ex. That's a rant for another
Thanks for listening, keep up the good stuff.
to begin... for starters, I'm not part of some great big conspiracy. I
like PA. I like [H]ardOCP. They're bigger than I am, and I respect it -
I enjoy my own little corner of the web here, and it's fine for
it playing PC games... that's a valid point. And I suppose at that
point, for THIS generation of games at least, the machine is overkill -
a 1 GHz processor and 256 Mb of Ram should be able to push the 640x480
or even 800x600-equivalent HDTV modes most people would use. Still,
though, that will only hold for so long.
if it's playing PC games, people are just going to play on their PC.
They build beefier machines themselves and enjoy them. With the hidden
fees of the Phantom system versus a one-time $50 for their PC title in
the store, you know which way any sane consumer is going to go.
"And if they *don't* want to
play PC games... well that's why there's Nintendo in the first place, isn't
there?" - Cute little slam there. I don't *quite* agree as I'm platform
agnostic, but we'll let it slide. Play nice now.
"the Phantom isn't sure of what it wants to be: a
living room PC, or a console?" - Hits the nail on the head. Unlike the Xbox,
which is a bona fide console, this tries to be a Tivo-Console system, or
a hotel-system-in-your-living-room system.
thanks to everyone who wrote, and keep writing in!