As vaporware goes, one of the finest examples might be The Phantom gaming console. Who knew the name would turn out to be so true?
At E3 2004, Infinium Labs caught everyone’s attention with a new console called The Phantom. The idea was that it could not only play the current generation of PC games, but would also be capable of running future ones. It was also going to be able to download new content from the Internet – something that was pretty much unheard of in those days – in addition to the games it would come pre-loaded with. It really seemed like something from the future.
It missed its original release date of the 2004 holiday season, but Infinium Labs promised it would indeed launch in March of 2005. It seemed reasonable enough, time tables on something like this slip all of the time.
The problems arose when March 2005 passed without a word, and then the company didn’t appear at E3 that year. By February of 2006, word was beginning to spread that the console had been put on indefinite hold. In August of that year, the console disappeared from the company’s site, and the device lived up to its name by becoming a complete phantom.
I bring this up now as the OUYA has concluded its funding on Kickstarter. In no way am I implying that this console will never watch, and I have no knowledge of any problems. The whole point of the Flashback Friday series is to look back at various times in technology and see what we can learn from them, and sometimes even laugh at them. Through out the whole Kickstarter campaign, however, I heard people ask time and time again, “Will this be another Phantom?” I sincerely hope not as I am one of the backers of the project, and come next March I want my shiny little box to arrive at my house.
With all that being said, and I do fully expect to actually receive my OUYA one day, I do wonder how many of us will go, “It’s The Phantom all over again!” if the company misses its March 2013 launch window?