New details of Infinium Labs' plans for the Phantom Game Service have emerged, with company president Kevin Bachus revealing that the Phantom console will effectively be free, and providing the first pictures of the hardware itself.
Describing the pricing decision as "something we had to do," Bachus told US website GameDaily that the hardware would be provided free of charge to consumers who sign up for the Phantom Gaming Service, the broadband game and game-related content delivery system on which the console - which has no external disc drives - relies.
The console itself is a sleek, low-profile unit which sports only one port at the front - a controller connector - and although full specifications for the device have not yet been revealed (expect more later this week), it is planned that it will sport a 40Gb hard drive and a 128Mb graphics card.
The most unique feature of the console, however, is its controller. Phantom is designed to play PC games, and as such, the system uses a keyboard and mouse combination - with a unique unfolding design which places a mouse mat underneath the slanted keyboard, allowing players to balance both items on their lap easily. It looks unusual from the pictures released so far, and only actual hands-on experience with the device will tell whether it's actually comfortable to use - but it's certainly an interesting idea.
Interestingly, the system is also set to allow gamers to play multiplayer titles against opponents playing on normal PCs - which could make the system, with its living-room friendly aesthetics and sofa-friendly controller, into a popular platform for at least one major PC game genre, with Bachus pointing out that it will be "a fantastic platform for massively multiplayer on-line role playing games."
News source: Gamesindustry.biz