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Phantom Console Put on Hold 93

Posted by Zonk
from the i-just-don't-have-the-words dept.
technoid_ writes "Looks like the Infinium Labs Phantom Game Console is put on hold until they can secure some more funding. Right now the company is focusing on getting its Phantom Lapboard to the market, and may pursue the Phantom Game service later. Interesting note, they have spent almost 4 times as much on Consultants as they have in development costs so far." From the article: "From its inception in December of 2002 through September of last year, Infinium racked up $62.7 million in losses. Of that, only $3.5 million has been lost to development costs. The company has spent more than half that in advertising, even though none of its products or services have been released yet. More of the company's money has been going toward consultants ($12.8 million), salaries ($11.9 million), and general and administrative expenses ($5.9 million)."
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Phantom Console Put on Hold

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  • shocking!

    will they raise the money by suing slashdot?
    • I don't think so. I'm predicting a mass-mailing of emails containing one graphic stating that IFLB is the hottest stock out there, and that if you want to get rich quick, you should get in now and stake your piece of the pie.
  • For serious? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by millennial (830897) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:33PM (#14778713) Journal
    Are you serious? They spent almost twice as much on "general expenses" as they spent on actual development? If that doesn't prove that the system is vaporware, nothing will.
    • Well...At least the name fits it.
    • Allow me to translate:

      "Infinium racked up $62.7 million in losses. Of that, only $3.5 million has been lost to development costs. The company has spent more than half that in advertising, even though none of its products or services have been released yet. More of the company's money has been going toward consultants ($12.8 million), salaries ($11.9 million), and general and administrative expenses ($5.9 million)."

      Translation:

      "Impending failure."
    • Re:For serious? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShawnDoc (572959)
      I worked at a .com startup that was like this. Each of the original founders was taking home more money each month that I was given to run the entire web development team. Again, we were a .com startup so our entire business was web development. So our entire budget (salaries + software + hardware) for the entire development team was less than the paycheck for one of the original founders. And by the way, only one of the "founders" was actually actively involved in the company. I remember one month the
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:34PM (#14778720) Homepage
    Dear Venture Capitalists:

    It has recently come to my attention that Infinium Labs has accumulated over sixty-two million dollars in debt.

    Clearly, there are substantial numbers amidst your ranks who are perfectly willing to part with large sums of money for no good reason whatsoever.

    I would ask these investors to send me $100,000 cash, in return for which I will do absolutely nothing. It should be obvious at this point that investing in Infinium Labs is an exercise in futility, humiliation and shame, so I think my offer looks pretty good, on balance. It's also much less expensive.

    I eagerly await your reply in the form of crisp, new $100 bills.

    Warmest Regards,
    AAiP

    • by AKAImBatman (238306) <.akaimbatman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:41PM (#14778790) Homepage Journal
      I would ask these investors to send me $100,000 cash, in return for which I will do absolutely nothing.

      It won't work. Everyone knows that Venture Capitalists would never invest in an individual. Too much "risk." You need to first register a new Corporation in the state of California known as "American AC in Paris, Inc." with the mission statement of "making money by doing nothing." The VCs will then give you massive sums of money that you can use to pay your own exhorbant salary. Once the money runs out, you simply declare bankruptcy and free yourself from any penalties. The VCs will get to sell everything your company owns, but since it doesn't own anything, they'll get nothing.

      See how VCs mitigate risk this way? :-P
    • Whatever. You've actually released a game. You have a great deal more credibility than those people.
    • For a second there I thought you were applying for a government contract. I think Haliburton uses the same approach for getting government contracts.
  • Phantom indeed! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dr. Mojura (584120)
    "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

    How appropriate! ;-)

  • by Yocto Yotta (840665) * <catapults.music@noSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:34PM (#14778722)
    34 months have elapsed for the period these financials are from.

    That equals to approximately $103,000 a month in development costs, $376,000 a month in consultation fees, $350,000 a month in salaries, and 174,000 a month in administrative fees. Overall losses are 1.84 million dollars per month, December 2002 through September 2005 . . .

    Two questions: First, How many people do they employee and contract services from? Second, if you're an investor, how does your ass feel right now?
    • by nelsonal (549144) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:58PM (#14778899) Journal
      This is exactly what the HardOCP story exposed, and the $25 million payday for the insiders is why they sued to get them to hush up. Since the VCs invested after that story the expose was published, it is always nice to see fools separated from their money (hopefully they will have less foolishness or less money next time).
  • DNF (Score:5, Funny)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <.akaimbatman. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:34PM (#14778726) Homepage Journal
    But... but... but...

    HOW WILL I PLAY DUKE NUKEM FOREVER?!?

    *sob*

    ---

    What I really want to know is, what genius thought it would be a good idea to hype the hell out of this thing before development even began in earnest? I mean, 3 mil for development, ~60 mil for other stuff? There's something seriously wrong here. Not to mention that for 3 mil most of us would have had something ready to go out the door.
    • Re:DNF (Score:3, Informative)

      by nelsonal (549144)
      The genius who took home most of the $15 million in salaries (and probably a decent chunk of the consulting fees), but that's just my guess. Without hype, there would not have been any VC money, or secondary money to have paid those $60 million in other expenses. Welcome to the pink sheets and boiler rooms of Wall Street (probably Boca Raton or Brooklyn, actually).
    • What I really want to know is, what genius thought it would be a good idea [...]

      Actually, one thing I'm wondering, is what console makers think about this. The people responsible for Playstation, XBox, Nintendo, who actually know more about what it takes to plan/build/test/advertise/release a console. I'm sure their thoughts on the subject would be pretty interesting.

      Also, when I saw this headline I was waiting for the story about DNF being delayed for some reason as well, heh.
    • Play it on your PC. You can download a demo version of it right now from Zombo.com [zombo.com]
    • by Alsee (515537)
      Duke Nukem Forever has been put on hold as well.

      -
  • by DorkusMasterus (931246) <dorkmaster1@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:36PM (#14778739) Homepage
    Wanna know how to make money in this business? Promise a product for years that you have no actual intention of building. Secure funding. Blow funding on employees (friends) as well as some stellar press releases. Hire some "consultants" (hookers) and make a prototype to show off at gaming expos (or just a picture of one, at least). Keep this up until you're sued.
  • Step 1: Find stupid people to supply venture capital for new console
    Step 2: Delay new console indefinately
    Step 3: Find more stupid people to get investment money from
    Step 4: ???
    Step 5: Say the market put too much pressure on your new console, declare bankruptcy, and high-tale it to Cuba
    (Step 6: Smoke cigars)

    On an unrelated note, can you hold something that doesn't exist (and, from the looks of it, never will)?
  • Did these guys hire the Boo.com [everything2.com] crew for their business plan?
  • In other news, researchers stunned to discover that water is indeed wet.
  • That's because it doesn't EXIST! Get over it! You've been duped!
    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:49PM (#14778846)
      That's because it doesn't EXIST! Get over it! You've been duped!

      Shows what you know! I put in a preorder at Gamestop a few years. Yeah, they have my $600, but I'm guaranteed to be one of the first people with a console when it's released...
      • but I'm guaranteed to be one of the first people with a console when it's released...

        Personally, I'm still waiting for my M2...
        • I had such high hopes for the M2. I admire the whole 3DO idea. License out the hardware and such. The M2 had impressive specs, and I think there were even prototypes. It was such a bold vision. Unfortunately it seems to have vanished like most dreams.
      • Shows what you know! I put in a preorder at Gamestop a few years. Yeah, they have my $600, but I'm guaranteed to be one of the first people with a console when it's released...

        You did order it with all the bundled goodies, right? Might be delayed a bit longer if you just picked up the base system.

    • Erm, no.
      You'll be duped tomorrow...or later tonight, whenever another editor comes on shift.
  • Surprised? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joe Random (777564) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:43PM (#14778805)
    Is there anyone out there who is surprised by this news? I was under the impression that it was now common knowledge that Infinium Labs is a swirling vortex of waste and misery [penny-arcade.com].
  • by panaceaa (205396) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:47PM (#14778839) Homepage Journal
    Infinium racked up $62.7 million in losses. Of that, only $3.5 million has been lost to development costs. More of the company's money has been going toward ... salaries ($11.9 million)

    What's the difference between development costs and salaries? I could see that the salaries of HR people and accountants should not be counted as development costs, but what about the salaries of the developers? Is the $3.5 million figure just hardware / fabrication costs, or does it also include development salaries?
    • I garuntee its not for fab costs. Vapor is pretty cheap to produce, 3.5 million dollars is a lot of water, even if you buy it bottled.
    • What's the difference between development costs and salaries? I could see that the salaries of HR people and accountants should not be counted as development costs, but what about the salaries of the developers?

      Doh! Developers!
      I knew I forgot something. Might explain why those development labs and all that deveopment hardware haven't accomplished much.

      -
  • Slashdot- news for nerds, stuff that matters?

    Sorry, but how is this news?

    And how does it matter?
    • How could a week go by without a cheap shot at the Phantom?
      This thing will never see the light of day b/c the building are to sad. They read how much they suck on slashdot and go out, by the cheap dope, and sleep for a week.

      We need to give these guys a brake!
      i dont see you building a next-gen gaming system
  • by digitac (24581) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:58PM (#14778895) Homepage
    At E3 a few years ago I went by their booth to see mock-ups of the Phantom Console and they were giving away t-shirts that said "I Believe". It always seemed to me to be a mocking acknowledgement of the general consensus that the product would never hit the market. Even at that E3 everyone knew the product was vaporware. It probably still has a release date between Duke Nukem Forever and Team Fortress 2, both of which are tentatively scheduled to be released shortly after the end of the universe (according to a poster I saw at Milliways). "I Believe" indeed. I believe it's the best promotion of vaporware ever. ::Digitac
    • i was just wearing my "i believe" t-shirt (it glows in the dark too) and sharing fond memories with my friend about the discussions we had with total strangers while in line for said shirts regarding the gall they must have had to come up with that slogan. on the other hand that lapboard controller was pretty freakin sweet.
    • Lol, I have that same shirt. I use it to work out and now its kind of gross. Sorry, thought I needed to share that. I was actually surprised when they showed off the product, a slick pitchman came up to me and my friend and while they had some interesting ideas, (I like the idea of playing a PC game without having to worry if I have the latest graphics card or anything) I knew the thing wouldn't fly. Funny thing is, this booth was all set up the SAME year I picked up a Gizmondo shirt to work out in.
  • by geoffspear (692508) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:59PM (#14778909) Homepage
    Was I the only one who assumed this was going to be an article about the Playstation 3?
  • So THAT is why they decided to call it the "Phantom" console.
    • <Stewie Sarcasm>
      Oh! Oh that was CLEVER! What you did there was you used the NAME of the console to humourously DESCRIBE the console! Yes yes. Very Clever. I've never heard that one before! It was very witty and clever. ...
      </Stewie Sarcasm>
  • I predict another Ferrari crash coming from an ex Infinium Labs exec... ala Gizmondo (Enzo) style.
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:07PM (#14778979)
    Infinium CEO: "Mirror Mirror on the wall, who has the greatest console of all."

    Mirror: "Nintendo, deposit $10 million in my Caymen bank account please!"

    Infinium CEO: "No, Mirror Mirror on the wall, who has the GREATEST console of all!"

    Mirror: "er, Microsoft? deposit $50 million in my Bermuda account."

    Infinium CEO: "No, listen jerk! Mirror Mirror on the wall, who has the f*cking GREATEST console of all f*cking time!!!!"

    Mirror: "Yeah, thats Sony! It's going to cost you another $300 million before you figure that out asshole!"

  • Wired will have a more interesting Vapourware top ten list in 2006! Now if DNF comes out/gets canned, we'll have a great list this year because Vista will be out.

    On the other hand, no more vapourware jokes about Phantom. :(
  • Ghostware is now a new term for everyone to use and enjoy. Enjoy!
    • Actually, I think Phantomware would be better. I think Phantomware fits even better than vaporware. I mean it is, after all, the definition of vaporware, and .... well, phantom sounds better than vapor. Partly because we can prove the existance of vapor, but not of a phantom heh
  • The story of this sounds similar to the Amiga. (Sadly?)

    Group of people get together to create the world's greatest gamng system. Company finds itself short of cash. Company releases "board" peripheral to make cash. (Amiga Corp produced the Joyboard. Infinium is producing the Lapboard.)

    Of course, at this point, the Amiga went on to become the best computer ever made, only to be run to extinction by Commodore.

    • Except that the Amiga team actually had a working prototype going and only sold gaming peripherals to raise enough money to finish and market the system. As far as I can tell there isn't any sort of working prototype of the Phantom.
      • actually, I think they had a prototype, but it was nothing more then a pc-mod in a phantom case. I don't remember if they played a game on it or not. Some site reviewed the prototype, and opened the case, but it was all just regular pc parts.
  • Last I heard the only employees were the secretary, and the CEO that cashed the checks, and they had rented office space in some stripmall that was empty. It was just a mailbox to collect checks.

    I could be wrong. But it doesn't sound like it.
    • Nope, that's pretty much correct. I have no idea how they managed to blow that much money though. I guess it's probably hiding off in some offshore account while they report it as "expenses" to the IRS. The demo unit they had at E3 a couple of years ago was a PC inside of a custom built case that probably cost them less than $500 to build.
  • When someone keeps dumping money into a project, the only project that is alleged to produce revenue, and the product is not only not in product but it is now "on hold", why does anyone keep investing money in that same company? And how does any investor honestly expect the debts accrued by investments made for a next-gen console to be recovered by a table tray? At this rate I suppose the only way any investor is going to see a return on their investment is with a winning PowerBall ticket.
  • will they release the work they have on the console as "open source"?

    And more interesting: will SCO sue them for using their IP when they analyse the content?
  • How can a company that's blown over $30M on advertising be so unheard of? I've only heard of the Phantom because Penny-Arcade makes fun of it. Are they advertising in Cosmo?
    • So you have heard of it.
      There you go his advertising dollar at work.
      Call me a crazy man but do you really think that all this publicity he has generated about this console is just because he's been making wild claims about how good it is with no product anywere in the pipeline, of course not he's been paying people to drum up all these articles about how it's vapourware so that when they release it it will create an even bigger media storm with claims that most of the internet community said it would never
  • While I understand this might get my nerd quals revoked, I was completely unaware that Infinium even existed until I read this [cnn.com] yesterday. Although I have to say, it seems like you're just asking for this sort of thing to happen when you name your console "Phantom."

    Which gives me an idea.. any VCs interested in my new VaporStation? It'll be HD-DVD/BluRay compatible, play all the current and next gen console titles (thanks to our special Preverse Engineering), and all parts will be user upgradeable. It wil
  • I've got it figured out now. My new corporation will be named Vaporware SA and chartered in Tahiti (got to have your annual meeting in the chartering state/country.) Our fourth gen gaming console will revolutionize the industry with its holographic projection display. We will also release a series of adventure and FPS games. Our first $50 million in capitalization will be spent as follows:
    • 40% Executive salaries and benefits
    • 20% Consulting contracts (My SO needs to have her own income)
    • 10% Advertising
  • Was there ever a point at which it was *not* on hold? I guess one of the owners wants a new boat, eh?

    They should announce that Duke Nukem Forever will be a launch title. That would make an awesome article on The Onion!
  • by SpacePunk (17960) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @09:26PM (#14781642) Homepage
    I hear that Duke Nukem Forever is going to be the flagship game for the Phantom console.
  • This strikes me as being a whole lot like The Producers. Maybe Infinium realized that they could make a bundle by paying themselves big salaries, buying expensive toys, and INTENDING TO FAIL. If they ever produced a real product, they'd have to start being responsible and timely. As it is, they can just soak up venture capital money and live the good life.
    • It works great until one of your investors gets wise to you intending to fail and they sue you for fraud (that's why the producers needed to produce a bomb so no one would worry about the fact that they failed). You also better get enough that you never have to try it again for life, only the Donald's investors are stupid enough to finance his bankroll twice.
  • The people, who if I were them, would be pissed off the most about this... (aside from english teachers for that phrasing) one of the game developers who was working on a game that would have been great, but the company died for lack of funding.

    Imaging the number of student game developers who could have made retail products given a share of that much money.

    we could have had a shitload of games ported to Linux and/or Macintosh, if the funds were applied directly to something like Cedega... but instead, not
  • you can't "HOLD" it if it NEVER EXISTED. if there was a physical manifestation, then you could hold it, kiss it, love it, buy games for it. Let this be a lesson to all, suing websites is a shoddy way to introduce yourself to your target audience. Whoops, my bad; the target audience was INVESTMENT FIRMS not gamers! Anyone wanna buy a pet rock?

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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