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Infinium to unwrap Phantom console next month

PC in a sheet with two eye holes?

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Infinium Labs will pull the sheet off the mysterious Phantom broadband-oriented games console next month, the company said yesterday.

Phantom is being touted as a "next-generation console" that will be "the fastest console on the market" at launch thanks to a "state-of-the-art design and architecture". It hit the enthusiast sites' headlines last month after Infinium posted the Intel and Nvidia logos on its web site, suggesting that the device uses parts from both chip makers.

Since then, the Nvidia logo has disappeared, leaving Intel alone among a listing of web design types and Enterprise Florida.

According to Infinium, Phantom will be an always-on broadband device that uses the connection to pull down games on demand - much like in-flight aircraft games systems, we imagine - and enable the console's "massive multi-player capability". Presumably there's some hard drive storage in there somewhere, since Infinium talks about "a broad selection of pre-loaded games" and the console's inbuilt patch management - the latter being pointless if titles aren't stored locally. Titles will be available to demo, buy or rent.

Essentially, Phantom sounds like a customised PC and running "PC games, interactive content [and] ported console games" all supplied down the wire via Infinium's Phantom.net e-commerce service. The last two title types in particular sound like Flash or Java games, and emulators. Supporting existing software development will be essential if Infinium wants to avoid the fate of previous independent console development efforts - think 3DO - who foundered on poor games availability.

We'll learn more when the console is unveiled at the Ultimate Gamers Expo in Los Angeles next month. The event open on 15 August. ®

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