In a lead-up to a public unveiling at E3 this week, Infinium Labs today released information about its Phantom Gaming Service. In a marketing strategy reminiscent of cable and satellite television subscription packages, Infinium plans to provide the Phantom hardware free to consumers who sign a two-year contract for a basic subscription to its online gaming service at $29.95 per month -- a commitment of over $700, albeit with content provided.
Games will be streamed on demand from the service to the Phantom hardware over a broadband Internet connection. Subscribers will receive an initial library of free games, which will be supplemented with new choices each month as a part of their subscription fee. Like the tiered subscription packages offered by cable TV, some games will cost basic subscribers an additional fee, or will require a "premium" subscription package. Alternatively, consumers will be able to buy the hardware and required accessories without commitment for $199, which will be credited back to their account over two years if they remain a subscriber.
The Phantom hardware will feature an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ processor, Nvidia GeForce FX 5700 Ultra graphics processor, an Nvidia nForce2 Ultra 400 platform processor, comes with 256MB of main system memory, and a 40GB hard drive.
Games owned by the subscribing household or base location will be downloaded to reside on the hard drive in the Phantom receiver. Should the hard drive approach capacity, the service will recognize this and will manage the cache in the background, invisible to the user, removing those games that were played least recently. Down the line, if the user tries to call up a removed game, the Phantom service re-streams it to the hard drive.
The Phantom Gaming Service is slated to go live on November 18, 2004.