|Infinium Labs reported that it’s hired Kevin Bachus as President and Chief Operating Officer. The Florida based start-up announced that his immediate focus will be the launch of the company’s Phantom Gaming Service, a broadband-based gaming system that will provide consumers with video games, games on-demand, game rentals, and other interactive entertainment services. The Phantom has caused the media to term it “vaporware” at best and at worst some sort of scam. It was supposed to launch in September 2003 and the demo at CES never actually had a unit powered up. Though one does note that they got another $US15 Million in funding recently. Infinium has also started trading publicly on the stock market (OTC BB: IFLB) earlier this month – through the acquisition of another publicly traded (but inactive) company – thus avoiding an IPO and a lot of the scrutiny that goes along with it. Though we note that Wall Street still isn’t the happy-happy place for IPO’s it once was. It gets weirder since the SEC filing was not only the first apparent mention of Bachus’ hiring, but also a stealth 5-1 stock split that still has the shares of the company wildly gyrating. This changes the outstanding shares from about 5 million to 25 million, with the two founders holding about 60% of the company. You can read more about it at the HeraldTribune article.
In an interview on GameIndustry.biz, Bachus is brutally honest about the problems of the “vaporware” reputation he’ll have to overcome and how he’s so new to the company he’s still got to find out who the target customers are. It’s a good read. However I still have my doubts about attempting to go up against Sony & Microsoft, particularly when they are poised to demo their new consoles in a GDC timeframe and, according to Bachus, the Phantom’s hardware specs haven’t been finalized yet even though they intend to demo a unit at E3 this year. Still, if anyone can steer the Phantom to production, Bachus probably has the experience. Good luck Kevin.
(For an interesting look at how the Xbox was created/launched, I recommend Dean Takahashi’s book, “Opening the XBox”.)