Infinium bumps Phantom launch to 2005

Delay implemented to give retailers more lead time to promote game service, says company pres.

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Infinium Labs today said it would delay the launch of its on-demand game service from November 2004 to an unspecified date in 2005.

"Infinium Labs today confirmed the company is moving the launch of its flagship Phantom Game Service to 2005," a spokesperson said in a statement sent to the press. "The decision comes at the request of both its retail and marketing partners, who have told the company they want more time to plan promotional and merchandising activities for the new games-on-demand service."

In the same statement, president and COO Kevin Bachus said:

"We were on track to offer the Phantom Game Service later this year. However, we can't do it alone; we need our strategic partners to help us get the word out. And many of our key marketing and retail partners, as well as publishers, have told us they believe the best way to make the service successful is to hold off for now.

"Retailers gear their 4th quarter holiday promotions around gift-giving opportunities, and they feel, as we do, that our service will not be bought primarily as a 'gift' for someone else. It will more likely be a self-purchase. One buyer told us, 'We have a tremendous number of opportunities to showcase the Phantom early next year, and we don't want the Phantom to get lost in all that we already have planned for the holidays. Let's allow the time we need to make a strong, successful entry next year.'

"It actually was not a big deal for us. While we wanted to move faster, because we're excited about the response we've been having from everyone, we felt we needed to listen to our partners. And our capital acquisition plan is fine with the move to next year."

The company had announced 22 publisher and developer partners earlier this week.

Bachus hinted at a delayed launch date in an interview with GameSpot this week. When asked to comment on the fast-approaching date and the lack of any confirmed titles to promote, Bachus said, "Things are moving toward [a November 18 release date], but I wouldn't look at this as an indication one way or the other with respect to the date."

Today's announcement cleared up that confusion, although what remains uncertain still is when in 2005 the Phantom service would be available to consumers, because Infinium Labs has yet to reveal any retail partners, which represent essential links in the Phantom Game Service value chain.

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