It's official Phantom Entertainment - the company formerly known as Infinium Labs - has ditched its plan to offer a games console tied to a games-download service. The Phantom Games Service concept remains, but now it's targeted at Windows XP PCs.
First due to ship in November 2003 - after a March 2003 introduction - then put back to November 2004 and finally delayed with no hint of a release date, the Phantom console's demise isn't exactly unexpected.
In January this year, the firm's latest CEO, Greg Koler, announced the company would be producing the Phantom Lapboard, a gaming-oriented keyboard designed to sit on a lap rather than a desk. Essentially, it's a keyboard mounted at an angle above a solid mouse mat. Phantom's taking orders for the $130 peripheral now, though it doesn't appear to be shipping yet.
Lapboard was about making money to fund the further development of the Phantom Games Service. The latter is still conceived as an online try-and-buy games delivery system aimed less at hardcore gamers and more at the many more-casual players out there. Phantom Entertainment hasn't said when the service will launch, but with a definitive decision made to base it on a client app running under Windows XP rather than PC-based hardware, the company's task of bringing it to market will be made much easier.
Maybe after three Novembers have come and gone without a sign of the service, November 2006 will be the one the company comes to market. Or maybe not. ®