Rare prototype of the broken phantom console goes up for auction


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Bringing a new device to market is incredibly difficult, especially in an area already dominated by monstrous players like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. There were many reasons the Phantom never saw the light of day, but one rare console prototype which no one knew existed is now up for auction.

First announced in 2002 by a startup called Infinium Labs (later to be renamed Phantom Entertainment), the Phantom console was promised to be a revolutionary new platform that eschewed discs and cartridges in favor of using digital media. ‘Internet to stream titles through what would be the world’s first on-demand video game service using downloads and subscriptions. Downloading games to a hard drive in a console is commonplace today, but when the Phantom was announced it was a revolutionary idea, and probably ahead of its time due to downsizing. hard drive and limited high-speed Internet access at the start. This posed significant challenges to the realization of the Phantom.

The amount of hype behind the product, the lack of working demos and licensed games, and funding challenges have also contributed to the Phantom never going into production and ending up on countless vaporware lists over the years. after year. A working prototype was shown at E3 in May 2004, with the promise that the console would go on sale in November of that year, but the release date slipped again and again, and in February 2006 it was announced that the Phantom was indefinitely delayed. its fate to this day.

At Quakecon 2004, a prototype of the Phantom console was destroyed on stage by Kyle Bennett whose website, HardOCP, was sued by Infinium Labs after posting an article criticizing the company, which ultimately lost over $ 60 million after all that was said and done. It was one of only two units known to feature the original design of the Phantom console. The other unit surfaced at a computer repair shop in Florida in 2015, as reported Ars Technica.

If you are a collector of doomed technologies, a working prototype of the Phantom console is now in the running at Heritage Auctions, “Work” being a very vague description of what he can do. The console, essentially a simple PC in a fancy case, turns on and its LED faceplate glows blue, but all the hardware does is play a short promotional demo when hooked up to a display. We’ve reached out to Heritage Auctions to try to confirm if this was the prototype discovered in 2015 in Florida, or a possible third iteration, and we’ll update that story when we know more. But you have less than two weeks to bid and add this victim of the console war to your collection.



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