Sun shines on Infinium? oh, and Phantom delayed, yet again…

Infinium Labs and Sun Microsystems announced today that the companies have signed a collaboration deal to create a network and infrastructure that streams content for Infinium’s Phantom Game Service, direct to the living room.

“The Game Technologies Group’s understanding of online gaming, along with the broad-based expertise of the company in delivering content and services over networks, makes Sun an ideal partner for us. Sun’s expertise in delivering content from back-end systems to the user will now become one of our biggest assets. We can focus on offering consumers choice, convenience and ease of use with our PC and Java-based game service.” said Kevin Bachus, president, Infinium Labs.

(Yeah, Sun has always been a household name in gaming experience….)

“The Phantom Gaming Service model of delivering games to the home over broadband via a receiving device dovetails with Sun’s goal to use Java technology to allow people to play their favorite games without platform restrictions. We share Infinium’s vision of making games available over a network so they can play anywhere, anytime. Infinium’s mission is in line with Sun’s goal to leverage the network as a vehicle to make entertainment content, information and services ubiquitous for consumers, and we want to empower the company to make that happen in the video game arena. We’re glad Infinium’s direct to consumer model furthers our initiative to help developers using Java technology to distribute and sell their games to a wide audience.” said Chris Melissinos, chief gaming officer at Sun Microsystems.

(C’mon – did you even know Sun had a chief gaming officer?)

Sun is providing architecture design and back-end infrastructure, as well as managed hosting services, as part of the overall solution.

Originally slated for a November 18 release in North America, with a European launch following next year, Infinium Labs now plans to launch its Phantom Game Service “sometime” in 2005. As spun by Infinium president Kevin Bachus; the explanation goes like this;

“Retailers gear their fourth quarter holiday promotions around gift-giving opportunities, and they feel, as we do, that our service will not be bought primarily as a gift for someone else. It will more likely be a self-purchase.”

Which explains that since Christmas doesn’t matter, we’ll just delay anyway? Bachus denied that the delay indicated that Infinium is having trouble preparing the console and service for launch, saying that “we were on track to offer the Phantom Game Service later this year.” and “Many of our key marketing and retail partners, as well as publishers, have told us that they believe the best way to make the service successful is to hold off for now.”

Regardless of Infinium’s explanations, this is certainly going to create further criticism for the company – especially from the ranks of those who remain unconvinced that the device will ever launch at all.

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