The more time goes by, the more I really think that Intel want’s back into the graphics market. Graphics are the most obvious pathway to beefier machines for the consumer and the easier it is to create cool graphics that consumers find compelling (like in games), the better marketplace for Intel to upgrade everyone. So what does this have to do with Intel buying the Irish company Havok (whose physics engine is used in Half Life 2, BioShock, Stranglehold, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Crackdown, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, MotorStorm, Halo 3, etc.) you might ask? According to Renee James, VP of Intel’s Software and Solutions Group: “Havok is a proven leader in physics technology for gaming and digital content, and will become a key element of Intel’s visual computing and graphics efforts. Havok will operate its business as usual, which will allow them to continue developing products that are offered across all platforms in the industry.” Intel has been pushing developers to make more use of multi-threaded architecture. Just as game developers now target game eye-candy to the ability of the graphics card, Intel is pushing them to do more with beefier processors to enhance the user experience without affecting game play. This means things like adding more detailed models or more particles in a particle system if the user’s machine can handle it. This is a tall order, but one of the things that’ll make it easier is providing a cutting edge physics engine that’s highly tuned to take advantage of multi-core systems. Since the deal is worth about an estimated $US 110 million, I’d guess Intel is really serious about it. That’s cool for all the game developers and the eventual consumer apps that will be physics enabled. But a physics engine is the 2nd thing I would have bought if I were Intel. I expect to see some other acquisitions in the near future.
Well almost it seems. Phantom Entertainment (formally Infinium Labs), after many many many false starts to ship 1) a game console, 2) a streaming game service and 3) a keyboard/mouse combination called the lapboard, apparently shipped the company’s first product, the Phantom Lapboard. The lapboard features a wireless swiveling keyboard with a shelf under it for a mouse. In fact, if you read the history of Infinium’s tech demos (start here) you’ll find that the lapboard was the only thing that’s a constant, the only things that was apparently real an any of their demos. Now they have apparently been shipping out actual Lapboards (@ $129) to consumers (sorry, currently sold out). So I guess a hearty cheer should be given? Maybe not. Let’s see, where to start.n.
Tim Robert’s starts the whole thing in 2002. Scandals occur. Leaves in 2005 with a boatload of stock. Many scandals follow. Rejoins as Chairman of the Board. Resigns in July 2007, the same time that Infinium gets $1.3 million loan agreement with European Investors LINLEY Management S.A. They double the number of outstanding shares to 2.4 BILLION. In September 2008 the SEC settles the charges with Roberts and as part of the settlement, Roberts agreed to be barred from serving as an officer or director of any public company for five years and, to be barred from participating in any offering of penny stock for five years. In Aug. 2008 a company called Phantom Gaming Service is incorporated in Delaware, with many of the same folks who work at Phantom Entertainment, plus Tim Roberts on board. Three days later, Phantom Entertainment gets $65K and some stock from Phantom Game Service AKA Phantom Streaming AKA StreamServ. 49% of the stock in fact. Phantom Game Service gets “technologies” powering the Phantom Game store – which had 1 (one) successful day before it shut down. Phantom Game Service then sells these technologies to a company called Game Streamer for cash and stock. Game Streamer enters into an agreement with (drum roll) Phantom Entertainment to give them access to all the technology & stuff originally in the Phantom Game Store. Who’s Phantom Game Service? Incorporated in October 2008 by Tim Roberts and friends. You can’t make this shit up. Do the math. He only needs 500 folks to prepay for a Lapboard to break even.