As we saw in the last section, the Phantom does not have a CD-ROM drive like a standard PC or game console, and it doesn't have normal access to the Internet either -- it works through a specialized VPN. In other words, the only way to get a game into the machine is to download it directly from Infinium Labs over a broadband connection. This and the system's propriety data encryption are the essential pieces of Infinium Labs' business model.
To understand the program, let's say you decide to get a Phantom. Here's what you could expect:
- You would have to already have a broadband connection in your home, either through a DSL or Cable Internet service provider (ISP).
- You would order the Phantom console online or buy it in a store. Infinium has announced they will give the console hardware away free to people who sign a two-year contract for access to the Phantom VPGN.
- You would hook the console up to your broadband connection.
- Infinium Labs would set up an account for you and give you access to the VPGN. You would pay $29.95 a month for the VPGN access.
- When you set up the console, you get a library of "free" games. Infinium Labs has not announced what these games will be, but says they will "appeal to a wide variety of users and gaming needs."
- To buy more games, you would access the VPGN and see what's available for download. These games would be PC-based games and possible ports of games for X-Box and other consoles. Using the VPGN service, you would also be able to preview games, rent games, enter tournaments. When you bought a game, you would download it to the Phantom's hard drive. The Infinium Lab system would keep track of what you owe.
- You would also have the ability to block certain types of games, to keep children from playing games with excessive violence or other adult content.
- You would get access to instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, forums and news. Infinium hopes to also offer Web browsing, using Mozilla instead of Internet Explorer.
Infinium Labs' hope is this program offers enough to gamers and game developers to be a success.