Sun Micro, the Phantom Gamer

The co-creator of Microsoft’s Xbox is ramping up to launch a new
online subscription gaming platform with the help of Sun Microsystems
, the companies said.

Former Xbox visionary Kevin Bachus is expected to debut his company
Infinium Labs’ flagship “Phantom Game Service” sometime in 2005. The
service was originally scheduled to debut this fall.

At Sun’s JavaOne show this summer, McNealy brought out Bachus to
introduce the system and show support of the Java 2 Standard Edition
Runtime Environment and Sun’s game APIs. Sun has had great success
selling Java games on mobile phones. Infinium represents its first
major foray into console gaming.

Infinium is offering sign-ups for a two-year basic subscription to
Phantom Game Service with the hardware and controllers thrown in for
free. The service also requires a broadband connection and a TV monitor.
Currently there are 500 different titles, including more than half of the
50 best PC games of all time, as rated by Gamerankings.com, available on
the system. Infinium said it is also looking to offer additional titles
and premium content packages.

An AMD Athlon XP 2500+ chip with an NVidia GeForce FX 5700 Ultra GPU
and an NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400 platform processor powers the console.
The system is also controlled by Microsoft Windows XP Embedded Operating
System, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB local content cache and is HDTV and Dolby
Digital 5.1 compatible.

For the service, Sarasota, Fla.-based Infinium said it had a need for
a network and infrastructure that streams content directly to consumer
living rooms and settled on Sun’s Game Technologies Group after
evaluating the on-demand competition.

“Sun’s expertise in delivering content from back-end systems to the
user will now become one of our biggest assets,” Bachus said in a
statement. “We can focus on offering consumers choice, convenience and
ease of use with our PC and Java-based game service.”

The two companies said they plan to embark on a joint marketing
program that underscores their shared vision for the video game
industry.

“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,” Chris Melissinos, chief
gaming officer at Sun Microsystems, said in a statement. “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.”

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