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Phantom Game Console Presentation 237

superultra writes "Glaximus has posted an impressions piece on Penny-Arcade of one of Infinium Lab's first press conferences. Most notable is that which Gabe, of Penny-Arcade fame, also replicates on Penny-Arcade's front page: 'One of the last questions asked was rather direct and perhaps aimed a bit low. "So, I have all my consoles at home, and I have a very powerful PC that plays lots of games and can be upgraded simply by installing new hardware myself. Why would I want to buy a Phantom?" Rob's answer? "Well then you aren't really part of the Phantom's core user base." That got some chuckles from the crowd, sure. But it was Rob's next statement that had the real impact. "See, you people say you have enough consoles, and a powerful PC, but whenever a new console comes out, you people always buy it."' Other details are scarce, except that the release date is now April 2004, and that the Phantom will use highly advanced DMCA techniques such as Epoxy Encapsulation and Case Intrusion Detection. Doing so will, no doubt, provide the Missing Link in Digital Rights Managment."
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Phantom Game Console Presentation

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  • So, no games or companies mentioned, no indication of what the launch titles would be, or if there was even any Phantom-exclusive original content planned. When asked directly just who Infinium had in their corner, Rob's reply was interesting: "I can tell you I can't tell you. I can tell you I'd like to tell you. I can tell you who we don't have. Do we have EA? No."

    c'mon, why don't they just say it. we all know the launch title is Duke Nukem: Forever, why must they beat around the bush?

    • Rob's reply was interesting: "I can tell you I can't tell you. I can tell you I'd like to tell you. I can tell you who we don't have. Do we have EA? No."

      Jeebus this guy spouts poetry like our esteemed Secretary of Defense []... now I'm really scared. Does he know someone named Darl?

  • by dswensen ( 252552 ) * on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:32PM (#7305732) Homepage
    I think this comic [] , also from Penny Arcade, sums up the Phantom more neatly even than that press release.
  • It does not exist! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:34PM (#7305742)
    I forgot who, but someone actually went to the address they had listed for their headquarters. It turned out to be completely abandoned, not even any furniture or anything. When that person called and asked about it, he was hung up on. That, combined with the fact that most of the screenshots look like they're coming from his GARAGE (there were some tires sitting in the corner) and the fact that there's never any real concrete evidence of this thing actually existing make this thing winner of the Vaporware of the Year award.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Then I have a 4ghz cpu, 1gb 2ghz DDR ram, 512mb UltraShiny GeForceFX6900++ console called the Enforcer that I'd like to sell you.


    We have Max Payne 3.


  • "You People." (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosity@[ ] ['sbc' in gap]> on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:42PM (#7305773) Homepage Journal
    I remember when Ross Perot gave a speech to the NAACP during his presidential campaign, he kept using the phrase, "You people."

    The crowd became outright hostile as the speech wore on. I remember hearing one person incredulously shout, "US people???"

    I can't imagine the crowd at the presentation reacted any better.

    So Infinium believes Us People will buy basically whatever any console manufacturer makes, eh? I guess they're unaware of the Sega Saturn. Or the Atari Jaguar. Maybe they believe Nokia's press releases, and not their in-store sales figures on the N-Gage. I don't know. It seems to me that the video game industry has more failed consoles than successes.

    But then, I'm not in the business; I just play games.
  • Blink, Blink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swat_r2 ( 586705 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:42PM (#7305775)
    The Phantom is to Video Games as the Segway Scooter is to Personal Transportation.

    Can't beat free publicity.
    • Uh, no. The Segway exists and works and innovates. It's just dumb.

      The Phantom is also dumb. But it doesn't exist, doesn't work and even if it did it doesn't innovate. It imprisons. It is mail order only.

      This reeks of that Mel Brooks classic, The Producers.
  • Not quite... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:44PM (#7305783) Homepage
    "See, you people say you have enough consoles, and a powerful PC, but whenever a new console comes out, you people always buy it."

    We didn't buy the 3D0, TurboGrafx-16, or Jaguar, did we?
    • I didn't buy the 3D0, no sir...don't remember playing evil clown driving games at all.

    • No but I did buy a 32x! ...I hate myself...
    • Re:Not quite... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by glitch23 ( 557124 )
      3DO was too expensive so we had good reason not to. The Jaguar had no good games and the ones that were supposed to be good never were released. And I can't speak for the TurboGrafx 16. As a side note, I owned a Jaguar and loved the Tempest 2000 and Iron Soldier games.
      • I also had a Jaguar with the games you had. I really thought they had a chance when Alien vs Preditor came out. For the time, that game was pretty damn impressive. Sadly, the fucking nitwits that owned the company were more interested in suing other companies for patent infringement as part of their business plan than they were in trying to get 3rd parties to make more games as good as AvP.
    • Re:Not quite... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:48PM (#7306071)
      At the time, we weren't even in high school yet, let alone had jobs to buy consoles with. Now that we have jobs and money and free time to kill, we're looking for these consoles on eBay.

      Of course, these older consoles aren't the ones that require a broadband connection. That's a good way to slash your target market down to an order of magnitude less than what it could be...
      • At the time, we weren't even in high school yet, let alone had jobs to buy consoles with.

        I think you misinterpreted my comment; I wasn't referring to our age group (whatever that may be) specifically. Video game consoles were well-established as a form of entertainment by the time the ones I mentioned were rolled out, and the public still didn't take to them. Why? They were fatally flawed in areas other than technology -- price, game availability, development model, etc. Essentially, they go to show
      • Now that we have jobs and money and free time to kill, we're looking for these consoles on eBay.
        Someone's in for a bitter dissapointment.
        • "Someone's in for a bitter dissapointment."

          Yeah, I was so disappointed by Phantasy Star on the unsuccessful (in the States, anyway) Sega Master System that I couldn't put the game down until I beat it. That game was just so horribly ahead of its time I don't know why I bothered spending money on it. I still catch myself humming the God-awful title track to that horrible game.

          Maybe I can eventually move on to be disappointed crappy Sega Saturn imports like Castlevania: Nocturne in the Moonlight. I'm s
    • Ummmm, I did buy a TurboGrafx-16...Of course, the only two games I played on it were Bonk's Adventure (excellent) and Klax (classic), and I then promptly got rid of it. There was nothing deeply wrong with the system except that it had little to no developer support in the US - which, of course, is deeply wrong. :)
    • and it was a great little machine, too. Loved it.

      Military Madness. 'nuff said.

      I also bought a Vectrex. Also a great little machine.

      Still have both, too. Somewhere.
    • still have the damn thing too! Two games:

      Tempest 2000 & Alien -vs- Predator. (Wish sombody would port that version to a faster machine. Great FPS game. Scary too.)

      Everything else was crap (sigh).

      Oh well, it did say "Atari" on it, so it goes into the collection...

      Since I am gonna ramble... Why buy this anyway? I want a console that can be hacked a bit. Maybe not as easy as the Dreamcast (only because that killed it), but easy enough that I can make creative use of it later after the company t
    • And we haven't been buying the N-Gage, even though Nokia says that we have...
    • Or more recently, the N-Gage. It's a nice idea after all : a lot of people use cell phones these days and a lot of people love games, why not try to make them work together.

      Nokia decided to fsck it up and not listen to gamers. That seems to be what Phantom is doing so far.
  • ehh...still sounds like pure vaporware to me...They are trying to sucker some investor into putting in and they will never put out.
  • 1.8 GHZ P4 presumably not a celeron
    256 mb of ram
    80 gig ram
    ATX architechture MotherBoard
    NV 36 graphics

    cost $300.00

    Definitely looks like an X-box like loss leader, problem is there is no OS included. What are developers going to develop to ? Whats more unless they have a couple billion to drop sales of consoles theres no way they are going to get the developer support on porting the games over.

    Maybe their epoxy DMCA scheme could sound nice to developers, but is casual piracy of
    • os is win xp based according to pa article...
    • All right, this thing sounds like it's one hundred percent vaporware, but let's play let's pretend for a moment...

      You don't need an OS to develop a game. None at all. The only functionality that one would really need is how to talk to the hard disk to store items on it, and that could pretty much all be done through bios calls and a drive with some sort of documented filesystem interface on it. Everything else would be done through programming to the direct hardware, like most game consoles already do. In

    • I would agree that it's a loss leader, except that in this case, instead of wanting consumers to buy games which they can then keep and play anytime they want, the Phantom will require (repeat: REQUIRE) payment of the ongoing subscription in order to function at all. If it does come to market I'm sure that people will find ways to hack them so that they can be used for other things, but as a home console it has ZERO chance for success...Divx (the DVD format, not the video compression scheme) by any other n
  • Mandalorian Armor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) * on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:47PM (#7305798)
    Infinium is this year's Indrema. They've got pie in the sky plans and nothing to show for their hype. If you look at all the features Infinium is proposing for the Phantom it starts to look a lot like an updated L600 from Indrema. The hype for the Phantom actually looks like a cross between's and Indream's hype. It's like the marketoids from both companies got together in a conclave of absurdity.

    I want to feel bad for anyone who invests in this flop. I find it exceedingly difficult however because they're painfully stupid. Hopefully the people backing Infinium married well so there's a chance their offspring to end up with decent genes.
  • Lets see Pentium VI, Windows XP, nVidia Card etc...

    Sounds like a PC. Too bad the general purpose version is pretty damn cheap anyway.

    I think all these opportuneurs don't get it:

    The general purpose computer will eventually price crush the game box.
    • Re:I am laughing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Qrlx ( 258924 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:16PM (#7305927) Homepage Journal
      The general purpose computer will eventually price crush the game box.

      it may price crush them (it's close to that now) but it is nowhere closer to having three things:

      1. appliance-style instant-on "plug and play" -- instead you have to load the OS then install the game, then load the game, and so many things can go wrong there.

      2. unified controller architecture (man the buzzwords) so that game developers don't have to worry about which version of Microsoft Sidewinder you're going to use, or maybe you'll just use the keyboard and a trackball or what have you.

      3. "franchise" games like Nintendo's Mario, oh so popular with the young 'uns.

      Now, what the PC does have, is mods. I think that's the big weakness of Xbox live and all that, there's no ability for the community to "embrace and extend" as it were. Kinda ironic, but not surprising. The PC is an open architecture computer, the game consoles are closed-architecture appliances.
      • **2. unified controller architecture (man the buzzwords) so that game developers don't have to worry about which version of Microsoft Sidewinder you're going to use, or maybe you'll just use the keyboard and a trackball or what have you.**

        directx offers this basically already.

        and as to 3) there's plenty of 'franchise' games that have been pc only(or pc+consoles), like lots of ea's games

        the phantom is meant to be an easy to use computer.. for computer literate audience. so it doesn't sound that smart(i wo
        • a common api (directx) is not good enough. Every developer must know exactly what kind of hardware controller everyone will have in order to make the game controls work well.

          the reason keyboard + mouse works so well for quake is because the developers coded the game with that interface in mind. if Carmack knew every PC owner had a PS2 controller, then he might have tweaked the game interface very differently to play well on a PS2 controller. button layouts, control sensitivity and accelleration all make a
          • The solution to input is to provide support for complete key remapping so people can choose their own keys. Far too few games do this, so you get stuck using particular types of controllers. Oh and by the way, keyboard and mouse has long been shown to be a better interface for first person shooters than gamepads. The simple fact is that when you are trying to shoot people in the real world, you just point at them, and the mouse is the easiest way to point, requiring just a little wrist motion. The merits o

    • Uh huh. And the game box will continue to better-game-crush the PC. Developers LIKE the game box because there are good sales of even the shittiest games while a shitty game on a PC might not recoup enough to pay one or two developers.

      But it's easier to make a game for PC. Shit, games for other consoles are WRITTEN on the PC. So the pressure is on to find a way to make PC gaming profitable.

      Hence, X-box. And ain't no way MS is giving that up to this idiot and his glow-box.
    • Pentium VI, you say? Well, at that point, hopefully it will have an IPC at least on level with the Athlon.
    • Pentium 6? You're talking up the specs more than even the Phantom's representatives themselves.

      Your username is quite appropriate.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It is right next to the snowball in hell. So just fly down there in your hovercars and get one.

    (Note to the well read, i dont mean Dante's hell.)
  • The article mentioned this presentation took place at Full Sail. Full Sail [], the alma mater of Imari Stevenson, a school which also received accolades from the Romero, is also hosting a Phantom promo? Ever notice how everything sucky about the game industry seems to cluster together?

    I used to imagine Full Sail as the kind of place that would ask you essay questions like "The President has been kidnapped by ninjas! Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?" on its application forms. Then I went here []
  • heh (Score:3, Funny)

    by revmoo ( 652952 ) < minus threevowels> on Friday October 24, 2003 @08:53PM (#7305825) Homepage Journal
    So, am I the only one planning on buying one and raping it for parts?

    A P4, 80gig hard drive and some ram all for $300 eh? Not bad :-)
    • by Cylix ( 55374 ) *
      nah, if we can flash it back to a normal pc, I'll turn it into a PC PVR/Game station.

    • > So, am I the only one planning on buying one and raping it for parts?

      Haven't you heard? The Phantom features "Epoxy Encapsulation" technology! That's right, it's all going to be covered in glue!

      Chris Mattern
      • So I'll just spend another $45 for a good heat gun to melt off the epoxy.

        Shit, did I just break the DMCA?
  • ya know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by downix ( 84795 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:00PM (#7305860) Homepage
    The idea is not bad, but you need to obey the first rule of business:

    Know your Market.

    A broadband fed video game console is not exactly new, ya know. (Sega's SegaNet for the Genesis, JagNet for the Atari Jaguar, etc) Neither is DRM technology. (Those of you that cracked Commodore games can now raise your hand, thank you all)

    The video game market is really filled with thrill junkies. Looking for their latest fix. Weither that is Donkey Kong Country or Final Fantasy X-II, in the end, "It's the games, stupid."

    If they can't name a single game, they're grasping at straws. A joke in an ATX case.
  • Phantom Impressions

    By Glaximus [mailto]

    The Presentation

    A crowd of about 300 had gathered in one of Full Sail's larger classrooms for the monthly meeting of the Orlando chapter of the International Game Developers Association. Our guest speakers for the night were Infinium Labs, the company behind the oft-maligned and highly mysterious Phantom console. They were cautious with information, and while they did spill some details about the system, it's hardware, and their business model, they left a lot of critic

  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:08PM (#7305896) Homepage Journal

    This guy is not building a gaming platform. He's building a cable decoder.

    Cable companies would like nothing more than to rent you immersive, persistent entertainment. ("Sell? That's so last millennium.") Problem: Cable boxes today are pitifully stupid due to the drive to keep costs low; they have no local storage. Also, they've learned the hard way, both through their spastic "Interactive TV" initiatives and their broadband internet offerings, that there's no way they can serve interactive games without intolerable download waits from the head end.

    What they want is a PC that the subscriber can't modify in any way. It looks like the Phantom guys propose to build this.

    Or, they could just be a bunch of flakes out to put over an obvious hoax on the industry. (Please support our "phantom" console, ha ha...)


  • by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:12PM (#7305907) Homepage Journal
    1)hype console
    2) Depend upon the utterance "You people buy every console there is."
    3) Profit!

    Yes folks! They have revealed the elusive and often obfuscated STEP 2!

    Hallelujia! No longer do I have to steal underpants [] to build a business!

  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:13PM (#7305914) Journal
    That wouldn't happen to be April 1, 2004, would it?
  • by banzai75 ( 310300 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:20PM (#7305941)
    ... and be ready, tentatively, for a Q1 2004 release-- about April or so.

    If I remember correctly, April would be in Q2.

    • it doesn't have to be. You can start you're business year anytime.
      • However when you announce a release date using quarters, the year is assumed to begin on the first. If it's a fiscal year, you have to point that out, except in your annual report.
    • For most companies, yes, but not all. Some have their Fiscal Year start in other months. Most make Jan 1st or 2nd just to make the accounting and calander cycles mesh. For example, my company's fiscal year begins November 1st each, so Nov, Dec, and Jan is our Q1.
  • Who wants to bet they get Linux running on it within a month of its release...
    • For the die-hard geeks around the world. This is EXACTLY the kinda system we want to hack. If it's "unhackable" then it WILL get hacked. Plus, it will be a shinning example to the rest of the industry to not invest so much on consumer lock-down. But rather, invest the same amount in quality control.
  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Friday October 24, 2003 @09:42PM (#7306022) Journal
    First of all, this is basically an easy-to-use version of a PC. The AOL of PCs if you will that plays already existent console games.

    Secondly, what if your area doesn't have broadband? Doesn't about 50% of the US still use modems?

    And finally, no memory card, no disk drive. You want your friend to borrow your game? No problem. Give him the whole console. Want to trade save games. Same thing. There's a reason we have disk drives and memory cards, this is it.

    So where does that leave our audience? I guess that means anyone who has broadband, doesn't have a good PC, and doesn't like to play console games with friends.

    Any takers?

    • The only way this might fly is if you never had to pay for individual games - something like the $19.99/mo gamepass at blockbuster. They might be able to charge $30-40, given that you don't have to leave your home. However if you don't already have broadband, you won't be getting one of these. They could probably also fly it if games were only $30 instead of $50. And also, you have to be able to burn the game off to a CD, even one which is DRM-protected, and you have to be able to service your own system (p
  • It isn't the early adopters. The early adopters are fascinated by bigger, better and faster. This whole epoxy glue and tamper-resistent case thing will turn those early adopters off big time.
    They are going to see a box that is screaming for more memory, faster bus speed or a bigger CPU. But unless you can get around the tamper-resistent case (probably) you risk turning it into a useless pile of junk by doing so.

    It certainly isn't parents shopping for a Christmas present. So you are telling me that I ca
  • Mark my words. My name is Sllim, and you read it here first.

    This is smart. Really, really smart.

    And they have already alluded to it several times.

    And it is gonna work too.

    They are not even humoring themselves on making money on the console. No sir.
    They are gonna make money on the digital rights managment feature.
    Or rather, they are baiting another company to put epoxy over there chips and to put a tamper switch on the case of there console.
    Know what they do when that happens?
    Wait a couple of
  • "I have all my consoles at home, and I have a very powerful PC that plays lots of games and can be upgraded simply by installing new hardware myself. Why would I want to buy a Phantom?"

    Rob's answer? "Well then you aren't really part of the Phantom's core user base."

    Well, it's nice to know console and PC gamers aren't their target audience. I mean, God forbid you'd want to tap that user base.
  • by ( 631162 ) on Friday October 24, 2003 @10:27PM (#7306243) Homepage
    As a member of the videogame industry, I have been following this new "console" quite closely. I came across this article at [] and it opened my eyes to just how much more is behind this so called company and console.

    This should be required reading for anyone who still believes that this console will ever be more than a greedy attempt to milk VC's for some quick cash.
    • Ooo...doesn't look good. Yeah, I'm willing to bet this is another scheme. Good link.
    • "Mr. Roberts didn't seem to be too happy with our telephone call and scolded me a bit for calling him at his '$3,000,000 home.'" -from the above article.

      Note: In Florida (where Infinium, and presumably Mr. Roberts is supposed to be) a residence, no matter the value, cannot taken from an owner who has filed for bankruptcy. A lot of those Enron, Tyco and Worldcom guys have huge multi-million dollar estates down there, pretty much precisely for this reason. Investing millions in a home in Florida is a great

  • One problem I've never even heard adressed - won't it cost them quite a bit bandwidth-wise? We're talking sending the contents of multiple complete games over an internet connection to each user. With any substantial user base, that's going to require an almost ridiculous amount of bandwidth, barring some sort of file-swarming (which seems unlikely due to their stance on DRM - peer-to-peer and DRM just don't go together). Let's see, assuming:

    10000 very hard-core users, at 650MB downloaded per user per

  • Let me get this straight... They are releasing inferior hardware because they "don't want to take a loss" on each piece sold. They are also gluing it shut, so you can't make any modifications on the hardware they aren't losing money selling to you.

    Distribution of games is apparently going at 60% of sale price. Unlike a real publisher, that 60% doesn't buy you any advertising, hype, or free press copies. At the end of this, the Developer and original Publisher split $20, and Indrema walks away with $30.
  • Fuck the Phantom console. Those fuckers have spammed me too many times.
  • Its cons like this that make it more and more difficult for legit companies to get the extremely hard to get investor money these days.

    Come April 2004 there will be a new press conference showing exactly the same thing and indicating a release in 6 months from then until some sucker of a company buys these guys out and nothing becomes of it because they realize what BS the whole thing is.

    "See, you people say you have enough consoles, and a powerful PC, but whenever a new console comes out, you people alwa
  • If the Phantom version of Crusher XTreme sells for 30 bucks, and the PS2/GCN/XBOX versions all sell for 50, why not go with the Phantom one?

    For the same reason people sometimes pay $15-$20 for a physical CD instead of paying $9.99 to download it at the iTunes Music Store: sometimes you'd rather own the thing permanently with no restrictions on how or where you use it.

    They should look at it another way: if I can pay $50 for a game that I own, unrestricted, can play on my friends' consoles, can resell at
  • A few questions about this topic came up also. People enquired about a quality control system for these games, to ensure that not any ol' hack could just upload their half baked junk on the Infinium servers. The details for that were sketchy, and Rob said the framework wasn't really in place. He did say that he had "thousands" of interested parties contacting him weekly with games and ideas. One other attendee asked how his game would be noticed among these "thousands", especially if he was a small indie de
  • Should this thing ever truly see the light of day (and I hope it does: Infinium deserves to go belly-up in a big way), they really should consider teaming up with Nokia. They could get some Phantom/nGage connectivity action going on. Why? Because "you [us] people" will buy anything.

    Actually, the comment of "Well then you aren't really part of the Phantom's core user base," is what really chokes me up: The implication is that the Phantom's core user base is that group of people who already want a Phantom
  • they harvested my spamtrap addy i use here on slashdot and started spamming it. Immiedate larts were sent to their hosting service) and spamcop. After a couple of bitches sent to the hoster, they terminated phantom.

    Proof of phantom's spamming at o &lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&
  • All right, so I'm going to chime in on this simply because I can.

    So we have this company, they have this slogan of being "by gamers, for gamers". Then we have this press conference where Captain PR Guy says that gamers aren't the target consumer for this product.

    Now, I'm just a simple caveman and your world frightens and confuses me, but isn't that just a little confused on their part. I have said a few times that this is just a fancified computer.

    My problem is that these people seem schizophrenic, as if
  • " "See, you people say you have enough consoles, and a powerful PC, but whenever a new console comes out, you people always buy it."

    Well Rob, rest assured, if that's the only selling point you have....I WON'T be buying your console. 101 is PRODUCT PLACEMENT! And you have not done a damned thing to place your product. It has NOTHING that separates it from anything else. You offer us nothing new. Those other consoles that we all bought? Guess what? They all offered something new. Ninte

  • Tim Roberts (Inifinium Chairman/CEO) Resume, Archived version: r .tv/

    (Under Applications Experience) ...Microsoft Frontpage 2000, Adobe Golive Cyberstudio,

    WINZIP, Oracle Accounting; Asset Management; Sales and Marketing, regclean, Mcafee Virusscan, Mcafee Regclean, Dodge Plans, Windows Media Player, Retrospect, Liveperson, Real Player, CUSEEME Client and server, Norton utilities, Adobe Acrobat, Webtrends, Roxio Easy CD Creator...

    Is being able to click a

  • 1.8 ghz processors, 80 gig hard drives, 256 megs of ram for less than 300 bucks. Not really a better deal than some emachines POS I could buy, and yet I can't help but think: "Man I'd like to get one of those and run linux on it."

    I guess I just like to stick it to the man. . .
  • by PierceLabs ( 549351 ) on Saturday October 25, 2003 @01:10PM (#7308454)
    First we have a guy running the place who has left a wake of unsuccessful companies - many of which are bankrupt.

    Next we have a console that noone has ever seen.

    Next we have a sales and distribution model that requires you to pay them before you get product... pay to an address that is a PO box.

    Finally you have no developer interest of any kind from major players, let alone publishers. No sign of an office or hosting facility that can handle delivering applications. No sign of infrastructure to manufacture or support the box either. Sketchy always changing specifications and unreachable personnel.

    It would not surprise me in the least if these guys take a bunch of orders and then just 'disappear'. I mean there is no sign that there is any plans for a business at this point.

Never let someone who says it cannot be done interrupt the person who is doing it.