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Hardware Entertainment Games

nVidia and Infinium to Partner at CES 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-all-about-the-games dept.
JonLatane writes "It seems that nVidia is going to allow Infinium to demonstrate their Phantom "game service" at their CES booth. Since its inception, Infinium has proven to be rather belligerent about its product and will probably stay in court for a long time."
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nVidia and Infinium to Partner at CES

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:24AM (#11225580)
    They probably won't take up much space.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:24AM (#11225581)
    There is no "partnership." Total anti-NVIDIA BS some sites are putting on this. The fact of the matter is that IL is a customer of NVIDIA, as the machine has an FX 5600 in it. It also runs WinXP Embedded, so it's being demo'd at the MS booth as well as they announced a while ago (PDF). [infiniumlabs.com]

    • by blueZhift (652272) on Friday December 31, 2004 @07:13AM (#11226897) Homepage Journal
      Nvidia doesn't really have anything to lose from this anyway. Industry insiders already know that the Infinium box is not likely to see the light of day much less be successful. While the general public and the less informed are not even aware of the Phantom or all of the controversy surrounding it. So as long as the demos themselves don't suck, Nvidia and MS won't mind. I would assume that putting together a decent demo is much easier than launching a successful product!

      You know, if the Infinium debacle plays true to form, someday any and all things Infinium might fetch a nice sum on eBay!
  • Sweet another gaming console that has absolutely no games to back it.

    We'll see what Sun can pull out of it's ass

    http://www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/2004-10/sunf lash.20041028.1.html [sun.com]
    • "Nearly two dozen leading game publishers have committed to provide content for the Phantom Game Service, including Atari, Codemasters, Eidos and Vivendi Universal." So they have at least some games. Those aren't the best companies in terms of making games, but you figure they'll be able to line up some decent content. Especially giving away the systems free and all.
      • It plays PC games, so that is basically BS meant to make it seem like they have some support. Nobody is making "Phantom Exclusive" games yet...it plays PC games so thats that.
    • The phantom has a ton of games - it's just WinXP, any windows game will play on it just fine...

      That's one of the (very) few things going Infinium's way.
      • by Lord Prox (521892) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:33AM (#11225642) Homepage
        Ohhh like "Spyware Hunter", or that trojan horse simulator game, or my favorite "WormHammer 2005" by Symantec.
      • by dargon (105684)
        Before you comment, you should understand how the Phantom is intended to work. It won't have a cd-rom / dvd-rom drive, instead all games will be purchased via the as yet immaterial phantom gaming network, also known as the Black Knight network (or something like that). The games will then be streamed to your consoles internal hdd where the intent is that you can begin playing the game before it's fully downloaded. With no way to remove items from the HDD, eventually some of the games you 'bought' will ha
    • So there is a shitload of games to back it.
    • I love to play Duke Nukem Forever on my phantom console!
    • Maybe Sun could release a Java-based console. Probably priced around $400 US for PS1-style graphics.
  • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:24AM (#11225589)
    Phantom, the rumors, etc, this IS the game. Just look at all the entertainment we've gotten out of it. You'll go buy the console and open up the box and there will be a nice note thanking you for playing.
    • I'm thinking that at the booth they will have an Infinium Rep there telling us that their "phantom" console is sitting on the table but it's just "cloaked".. hence it's name!
  • by dannytaggart (835766) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:25AM (#11225592) Homepage
    In other news, Infinium Labs' stock tumbled [yahoo.com] 11% today.
    • Funny you should mention that... a few days ago the company I work for got some Fax Spam trying to promote Infinium's OTC stock.

      Looks like someone was desperate to prop it up enough to get out.
      • by ProfaneBaby (821276) on Friday December 31, 2004 @01:02AM (#11225750)
        It was trading at $0.58 on 2004/12/22 - it closed at $0.90 today (2004/12/30) after peaking around $1.41 at the opening Tuesday (2004/12/28).

        If you bought last Thursday, and sold on Tuesday, you could have made 240% - a modest $1000 investment would have made you $1431 profit.

        If the fax really was a pump-and-dump, it worked.
    • by Datasage (214357) * <DatasageNO@SPAMtheworldisgrey.com> on Friday December 31, 2004 @01:11AM (#11225781) Homepage Journal
      it looks like they are releaseing several PR releases per month to boost their stock price. Now why exactly the company has gone public before they actually have a product is beyond me.

      It sounds like the buiness plan was somthing like:
      1. Start a company
      2. Generate lots of publicity about a product
      3. Go public.
      4. Sell all your stock.
      5. Watch your company burn from a private resort in the bahamas.
      And when you wasted most of your money on hookers and cars, repeat.
    • by GrfxGuru (571310) on Friday December 31, 2004 @01:41AM (#11225892)
      Look at the 3 month graph of the stock here [yahoo.com]. Look at the volume starting on Dec 17. They went from trading less than 500,000 shares a day to approx 5,000,000 a day from the 17th to today.

      When there is no external information that would cause the stock to move that much, it is very fishy (as others have said, possibly a pump & dump). These things set off alarms over at the SEC. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're in on it), they move verrrryyy sloooowwly.

      It is quite possible Infinium had nothing to do with this.

      • The SEC is slow and cautious about these things because any stock being investigated will be treated like radioactive waste by investors, often the company will be destroyed when it's stock bottoms out and stays low.
      • If you're looking for an external stimulus, try here [findlaw.com].

        Looks like someone's been pumping up Infinium's stock using fraudulant junk faxes.
    • I wish my stock (AVN) would split that often for no good reason. AVN gets good news from successful drug trials and barely budges.

      Infinium looks like it might be good for day trading if you have money to throw away. When the stock is trading under $1 and losing money it's a really bad sign. It's also "over the counter" which means it's not actually being traded on the major markets.

      I would need really good positive information before putting anything on it. At this point it's pure gambling since the v
    • In an amusing corrolary to this story, I looked at my fax machine this morning after leaving ignored for the holidays, I found someone pumping Infinium as the "MOST INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY OF THE YEAR" (caps definitetly not mine).

      I laughed so hard and no one else around me knew why. Hard to explain, but it certainly brightened my New Year...
  • by Polarism (736984) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:26AM (#11225602)
    client.

    This is just a case of a vendor allowing a client to do some free advertisement for them, even if the thing is vaporhardware.
    • Actually it's even simpler than that. If you commit to buying a bunch of nVidia's shit, they will gladly let you exhibit at their booth. nVidia is a business, and if they think a company is going to spend a few million VC dollars placing large orders for graphics chips with them, they aren't going to refuse them some space alongside their other clients.

      Of course, there's nothing about "partner" or any other special relationship beyond nVidia selling their chips to Infinium in the article (really a press
  • by homeobocks (744469) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:27AM (#11225608)
    News on the Phantom? I guess its killer game will be Duke Nukem Forever.
  • Wow. Infinium Labs sure employs the creme de la creme.... You sure about that, Kev-boy?
  • Just like everyone else, I have read about this system and laughed at all the jokes we have had at its expense. I have to ask, though, what benefit does this company get out of constantly hyping this seemingly nonexistant product? Is it that they had some idea that they boasted about before realizing it's not quite so easy to just build a new gaming system, or is it that this is some bizarre, ass-backwards means of getting publicity for future products? I agree, though, with an above poster. The fun seem
    • Just like everyone else, I have read about this system and laughed at all the jokes we have had at its expense. I have to ask, though, what benefit does this company get out of constantly hyping this seemingly nonexistant product?

      Well, you get more investment money from suckers by doing this sort of thing, as well as trying to move the stock price if you've pulled in enough suckers to go public.

      Look at it this way: Imagine you're broke, and living in your parents' basement. Would you rather:
      a) Get a j
    • My guess - they're trying to build demand for a product that doesn't exist (or only exists in prototype) to attract a buyer who would rather buy out a competitor than out-perform them.

      I wonder who might do that... If the Phantom announces an oversized controller designed for kids with hand-gigantism, my suspicions will be confirmed.
  • by trs9000 (73898) <trs9000@nosPam.gmail.com> on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:35AM (#11225655)
    You know, at first I was all like "What?! This is a bad idea nVidia; what are you thinking?" like a concerned parent....
    But then I realized you know it's probably okay cause Infinium probably won't even show up.... so
  • Ya right... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Whoopass (164559) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:43AM (#11225686)
    Far be it from me to call B.S. on something before having seen it, but lately hardware manufacturers seem to be relying more and more on "Press Releases" and benchamrks to garner attention, and thus investor money rather than truly innovating as was the norm only a few years back. Tom's hardware got sick of pandering to the hardware companies claims and said they were going to put an end to it.

    http://www4.tomshardware.com/column/20041011/index .html [tomshardware.com]

    This reeks of a venture capital marketing strategy to me, but I suppose once the show is over and we see what they have to offer, I might change my mind. At the moment though this press release seems more hype than anything else judging from past experience with Infinium.
    • Makes alot more sense to me. Not so much smoke and mirrors as smokey, hot air.
    • I agree. Thing is, a few years back, companies used equity to finance a product or service. Then they started using a product or service to "finance equity". This is of course arse-backwards and of no benefit to either the consumer or the long-term investor. It puts the long-term interests of the corporation in the hand of the most short-sighted stakeholders - the traders.

      Now since the 90's some people have figured out that you don't even need a product or service - you can use _hype_ to "finance your
  • by cerberus4696 (765520) on Friday December 31, 2004 @12:52AM (#11225710)

    Reading the article, it seems that Venture Capitalists have given this company $25M without a product, business plan, or even a physical place of business.

    The '90s are BACK, baby!!!

    • Reference: http://www.directx.com/home.htm In its latest filing with the US S.E.C. Infinium says it'll have to spend $US 22.2M over the next 12 months in order to execute its "current business strategy". Basically it says it'll need $US 11.5M to launch the Phantom Game Service and sell the first 10,000 units. Then another $US 10.7M to "achieve cash flow break even". Then, as if that weren't enough, it says it anticipates having to spend another $US 20.2M over the next 16 months for promotion and services.
      • And I'm not even convinced that they even have a service (or for that matter, any units). This article [hardocp.com] (linked to in the original post) really makes for a good read. The resume of Infineum's "Chairman and CEO" reads like a catalogue of dotcom revolution woe, and there are also some amusing pictures of Infinium's "headquarters" (an empty unit in a strip mall, apparently, with their mail being dropped off at the Mailboxes, etc. next door). I honestly can't figure out why in God's name anyone would invest mone
  • it will be terribly out of date and won't be able to play any of the games you want it to play such as Half-Life 2. Expect to see another "classics" console as game developers just need to give permission for the games to go on there what with it being Windows XP and all. But does it run Linux?
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Friday December 31, 2004 @01:09AM (#11225776)
    ATI has announced that Infinium will cancel the product and declare bankruptcy at the ATI booth the day later.
  • My home PC that I spent 1000 on and carefully self customized and tweaked will still beat the pants off of this "phantom" if it ever comes around. Idiots, leave M$ to their XBOX peddling, at least mods for the 'Box are easy to install.
  • by Albinofrenchy (844079) on Friday December 31, 2004 @01:13AM (#11225789)
    I dont care what people say, the Infinium and the Phantom console will be a household name in a year. Kind of in the same way Enron was.
  • by dcviper (251826) on Friday December 31, 2004 @01:20AM (#11225818)
    I think the real question is, why is Microsoft and nVidia giving his thing any free press? Or, why is MS and nV giving up booth space at CES? If and when this thing ever comes out, it has all the earmarks of being an XBOX competitor? Perhaps they are thinking buyout, but of what; Does infinium own any patents? And, are they concerned about the well known flap between Infinium and [H]ardOCP.

    r/dcviper
    • "Or, why is MS and nV giving up booth space at CES?"

      They're probably in the Microsoft Partner Pavilion along with a metric squillion other vendors. Doesn't take much to get space there. It's part of their strategy of showing off how many friends they have, at the same time that they recoup some of the cost of their booth space.

      "And, are they concerned about the well known flap between Infinium and [H]ardOCP."

      Well known among OCP and /. readers.

  • by St. Arbirix (218306) <matthew.townsend ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday December 31, 2004 @01:26AM (#11225842) Homepage Journal
    From the Yahoo article:

    The Phantom Game Service will be delivered over broadband to a Windows XP Embedded-based receiver that sits with other devices in the room where family members go for entertainment.

    Nearly two dozen leading game publishers have committed to provide content for the Phantom Game Service, including Atari, Codemasters, Eidos and Vivendi Universal.

    Show attendees can also see Phantom in the Microsoft Corp. booth in the Central Hall, No. 7145.

    Whatever they've got, they've managed to get whatever a "commitment" is worth out of some pretty solid game publishers as well as space in NVIDIA and Microsoft booths at the show. It also looks like they're letting game publishers cut a lot of middle-men out of the way (except for the publisher, of course (like Valve didn't do)) by putting games over broadband. They've got that going for them at least. Before Half-Life 2 went out over Steam this was never on such a scale before.

    Plus they've already managed to sue a few people which shows they've got some dice. They'll get along really pretty with the likes of that crowd. Unfortunately though, I remember when it was first announced, and I remember Linux being mentioned. Now it'll sit in a MS booth which may be awesome for them but is a little tragic for everyone who hoped getting a Linux console out there would lead to better Linux game support.
    • "commitment" may mean, EA etc.. just tests that it runs on it and if does then it "supports" it. Its embedded XP, if phantom made it too different they knew they could not get people to support it so it probably works with just about any app out of the box save for hd / save issues.
  • Sun Microsofts confirmed they are partnering on a new game channel with Infinium. Kevin Bachus who launched the Xbox is the President of Infinium Labs. Nvidia is working with Infinium to demo the product at CES at their booth.

    Doesn't sound or act like vaporware.
    • That was suppose to be Sun Microsystems, Sun Microsofts, thats a nightmare I don't want to even think about.
    • by barc0001 (173002) on Friday December 31, 2004 @05:14AM (#11226549)
      By "launched" you mean he was one of the people working in some capacity with the Xbox at Microsoft, right?
      That press release on Yahoo [yahoo.com] tries to claim he's the creator of the Xbox. I think Seamus Blackley [shacknews.com] may have a different opinion.

      The bottom line is this: we have seen JACK from Infinium Labs so far, except for stellar promises, and lawsuits against naysayers who dare to actually poke into the public record background of Kevin Bacchus and his buddies to either substantiate his claims (like where he tries to claim he built the Xbox) or disprove them.
      Any goofball with a bunch of seed money can walk up to a company like Nvidia and negotiate an order for a bunch of chips, and parlay that into a joint promotional junket. Whether or not they do anything useful with the chips after they get them is another matter.

      If you think that getting a big company like Nvidia to be happy in the same physical space as you is an excellent indicator of "real", try this one on:
      A place I once worked had convinced IBM to fly in all of their senior guys in western Canada for our product demo. We had about 20 guys from IBM on hand. Senior managers, VPs, etc. We did the product demo in a building we were planning on buying, but at the moment didn't own, and was in fact still for sale. The company talked a great game to the realtors and current owner of the building as well, so we got to use the building pretty much like it was ours for almost a half year since they were fully convinced we were buying it outright any time now.

      The company talked a great game, and the IBM guys drooled so much over our pie-in-the-sky visions we almost had to use a mop. At the end of it all they extended us a bottomless line of credit for whatever we liked, LOANED us an s/390 worth $600,000 so we could "play with a few things on it", and were desperate to get in on the ground floor with us. Becuase, you see, we were going to "Change the World!". The s/390 wasn't even central to our plan, it was just a "Hey maybe we could use the VMs on the s/390 for X" that we tossed out there and IBM practically begged us to take one back to our office and try it out. There were only a dozen people in Canada at the time who even knew how to run Linux VMs on the things, and IBM flew one of them into town just for us.

      8 months later, the company laid 65% of its staff off, merged with another failing company, and I believe is currently lurching along zombie-fashion with a single salaried employee today in addition to its two "directors".

      But for a few months there, we could have had IBM send down guys to do anything for us because of what we "showed" them we were going to do.

      Aaah. The power of vapor.

      Believe NOTHING unless you see it actually work. For real. Not a company run "demo".
  • "Source: Infinium Labs"

    And for $399, you too can have your custom press releases [ereleases.com] sent to the likes of Yahoo, MSN, and the National Enquirer!
  • NVIDIA, of all companies, should know if this thing is real or not. If they filled an order for a ton of GPU's and such for Infinium, they'd have reason to believe the aptly named "Phantom" is real. Or maybe, they like everyone else here, seems to think it doesn't exist, and is taking an opportunity to publically call out Infinium and prove it.
    • Merely ordering GPUs will not prove that it's real or not. Plenty of vaporware companies in the dot.bomb had huge server racks, IT people, secretaries, business plans, hardware and software developed.

      I'm sure Infinium is buying GPUs for whatever it is they are developing. Whether what they are developing will ever see the market, or if anyone will buy it, is anyone's guess.
  • The Phantom Game Service will be delivered over broadband to a Windows XP Embedded-based receiver that sits with other devices in the room where family members go for entertainment.

    I have seen a video demonstrating the latest products from "Redmond's finest" and that sounds a lot like Windows Media Center edition.
    Of course, if the device needs Windows MCE in order to operate, Microsoft also has to be there to show up their product to the public.
    If this is correct, the phantom will only work if windows mce
  • by BortQ (468164)
    nVidia doesn't really have anything to lose from this. Something that doesn't exist doesn't take up very much booth space at all.
  • by augustz (18082) on Friday December 31, 2004 @02:55AM (#11226113) Homepage
    It's one thing to sell your product broadly.

    It's another thing to ACTIVELY PROMOTE this type of company by putting them in your trade show booth.

    These companies can do better.

    Send a little note:

    We don't care who you sell your product too, but don't actively promote scum like infinium.
    Who's side are you on? The nice guys, or the litigation prone?

    Mention the Nvidia CES booth.

    I'm including some address below.

    Carrie Cowan
    Consumer/Games/Partner PR Manager
    ccowan@nvidia.com
    +1 (408) 486 7330

    Brian Burke
    Desktop PR Manager
    bburke@nvidia.com
    +1 (512) 401 4385

    Bryan Del Rizzo
    Platform Products PR Manager
    bdelrizzo@nvidia.com
    +1 (408) 486 2772

    Infinium is the company that is suing an enthusiest site and its operator personally for $20,000,000 for providing what appears to be basically accurate information about its products.[1]

    The gaming / enthusiest market is a core market for Nvidia. Not only does Nvidia have to wake up in the morning knowing they are supporting a litigation prone (and otherwise apparently unsuccesful) company (infinium), but they also have to live with the business decision of actively supporting a company that is engaged in litigation with the very folks who buy and promote their product! And that the litigation appears to be pretty unjustified.

    [1]
    PLEASE READ THE LINKS IN THE ARTICLE AND REACH YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS. THESE ARE SIMPLY OPINIONS BASED ON A QUICK REVIEW OF THE LINKED MATERIAL.
    • Your righteous indignation is hilarious. How old are you, twelve?

      "It's another thing to ACTIVELY PROMOTE this type of company by putting them in your trade show booth."

      What type of company? Can you provide a reasoned argument as to why nVidia shouldn't deal with Infinium, one that doesn't lazily cite pre-formed opinions handed down from puerile comic strips and angry loners?

      "Who's side are you on? The nice guys, or the litigation prone?"

      Do you think for one second that nVidia, or any even vaguely profes
      • Not one to normally go the activist route, but in this case felt like throwing my hat in the ring.

        Probably older then you are if I don't miss my guess given the personal nature of your attacks.

        The questions is whether Infinium was really libeled or if they are simply trying to use the legal system to threaten someone publishing accurate information that is unflattering. Given the cases cost money, this is the old SLAPP lawsuit type stuff all over again.

        What's interesting is that in this case, we'll get t
        • Well, it's not exactly ambiguous that Infinium were libelled- it should be obvious to all but the most credulous observer (read: an observer whose version of events came from /. comments or Penny Arcade) that the hardocp articles fell far below expected journalistic standards, even for a fansite.

          I don't understand the mentality of the responses that Infinium have provoked among the most vocal (i.e. teenage American male) armchair pundits. It's not the case in law that only companies with an established pro
          • I don't automatically assume. I've made a reasoned judement call, one I suspect which is far more accurate then yours.

            No matter, bookmark this comment, and come back in a year or two. I think you will find infinium singularly unsuccessful in their litigation for $20 million. And if you're willing to put some cash in place of your opinions and insults, happy to do that as well.

            And stop with the red herrings as well. No one has said anything about needing to be rich or swinging millions in marketing.
            • The results are in sooner then I expected.

              Here [hardocp.com] is the copy of the legal document where Infinium admits that the article "does not constitute unfair competition under .. or an unfair business practice, trade disparagement, trade libel ...".

              I want to be crystal clear here. Fondue commented "Well, it's not exactly ambiguous that Infinium were libelled [sic] - it should be obvious to all but the most credulous observer...". Fondue is flat out wrong.

              The rest of their rant is similarly misguided.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 31, 2004 @02:56AM (#11226119)
    Infinium's business plan:
    1. Profit!
    2. ???
    3. Bankruptcy
  • here's a follow up press release:
    http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/041230/305038_1. html

    i wonder what "xbox creator" exaclty means here.
  • Will he be there? And if so, will we see him achieve orgasm after he kills a dog? [penny-arcade.com]
  • Nvidia will design a special graphics chip for the Phantom console, and it will be named Nvidia VX 666 Phantom edition (V as in Vaporware).
  • I get the feeling they just want to spite HardOCP, so they've decided to really go for it. If not for all the negative exposure, they probably would have skipped out with the investor money a long time ago.

    Now it's personal.
  • And it'll be worth more than the Phantom.

    This thing has a Geforce 5600 in it, and it downloads the game as you play it. It will completely bomb at release, and the only guy that will end up winning is the "CEO". He's made something like $10 million off the investors.

    This thing will tank like those Divx players at Circuit City tanked. You could give one as a birthday present, and the receipent would act the same as if you had sqat down and pinched a loaf in the box and wrapped that.

    This is what is so awes
  • Wasn't Phantom supposed to be in stores November 14th or so?

    Yet they are only going to demo it at CES?
  • So, am I the only one who saw this being demoed on an episode of The Screen Savers last year? If I'm not mistaken it was at last year's CES. I was quite a non-believer when I first read about it, but after seeing it, I'm hopeful.
  • My question is; Why hasn't the FBI thrown the Infinium bunch in prison by now??! How many laws have they broken? If all this is public knowledge why is Infinium allowed to continue, now with the stock scam, Infinium will end up costing the court system millions, can soemome please step in and just take this company out already!! There is obvious fraud going on at many levels, and all of them at a GRAND scale!
  • I happen to live in Sarasota FL, less than 2 miles from the building where Infinium Labs has its main office. A while back (around the time the whole H-OCP vs Infinium thing started) I went by the building with my camera and snapped some pics.

    Details:

    The office is located on the 3rd floor of the Center Pointe building, which is in central Sarasota, not far from downtown (located at the corner of US 301 and Main St.).

    Trivia item: the law firm that Infinium Labs uses takes up the top 2 floors of this build

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