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Phantom WILL launch - Infinium

Yes but when? - World

One of the videogames industry's most persistent pieces of vapourware, the Phantom Game Service, is still "moving forward in development," according to the company responsible for the as-yet unseen product, Infinium Labs.

In a trading statement released yesterday, Infinium claimed that the service - described as "the first end-to-end, on-demand game service for delivery to the living room" - is being licensed to PC manufacturers at present.

However, the reassurance came even as it emerged that the often-controversial company, which has been accused of existing purely in an attempt to reap investment cash and has been investigated by the SEC over irregularities regarding the promotion of its shares, is being sued by former boss Kevin Bachus over alleged unpaid wages.

Infinium first touted the idea of the Phantom Game Service - and the Phantom console which would act as the head-end in the living room - over three years ago, and has charged headlong through ever release date it has set itself since then.

This time around, the firm is taking no chances - and the trading update gives no indication whatsoever of when the service might actually launch.

Not that this stops Infinium from missing deadlines; the company also revealed in the same update that its plan to release the Phantom Lapboard, a combination keyboard and mouse device which was originally envisaged as the controller for the Phantom, has seen the launch date slip from "mid-2006" to October.

The firm's new president and CEO, Greg Koler, remained upbeat in the statement. "We are on a fast pace crossing over the threshold of manufacturing and marketing our first product, the Phantom Lapboard," he commented. "Everything is on schedule for first arrivals of the Phantom Lapboard this October in the US market."

However, with the firm's losses now running at almost $70 million since its inception and not a single product on shelves or revenue-generating deal in the bag, it remains to be seen how much more patience the investment community will afford to Infinium - especially in the wake of the high-profile collapse of another industry albatross, Gizmondo.

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