The other night I went downtown to take a photo of this sign:

Infinium Labs sign

This is Infinium’s sign that (for now) still graces a building in downtown Sarasota, Florida. The company moved to Seattle some time ago.

Infinium Labs was the former name of Phantom Entertainment Inc., the company behind the Phantom Game System. Aptly named, it was one of the biggest examples of vapourware anyone has ever seen.

The company burned through $75 MILLION dollars of investment capital with nothing to show for it, except a laptop keyboard that to this day has not materialized.

The company was supposed to produce a gaming system that let user pay for and play for games online. Aside from 3D renderings, the hardware never even saw a prototype. The company did, however, produce a working version of a gaming keyboard and mouse.

phantom-lapboardThe Phantom website (they’re not worthy of a link) has been taking orders for this miserable piece of hardware for many many months now, but I wouldn’t recommend trusting them with your credit card number. Dell’s Alienware also placed a large order with the company several months ago, but shipment has once again been “delayed“.

Fun Infinium Trivia:

  • Infinium sued HardOcp for running a very damning investigative article about the company and its CEO, but were forced to pay over $200,000 in legal fees once the facts cited in the story were all proven to be true.
  • The SEC charged the former CEO with securities fraud for running a pump and dump scheme with the company’s stock.
  • The company was investigated for fax spamming and email spamming designed to bring on more investors.
  • The sign pictured above is very slick and changes colors from white to red to green and blue (which it hasn’t done in a while). It’s really unnecessarily extravagant considering its surroundings, but a very good representation of the company’s fiscal responsibility.

I remember reading a story in 2005 about the company securing another $11 million of venture capital, having burned through $60 million already, still with nothing to show. The CEO must have been one hell of a salesman.

To me – the picture above is a great reminder of the power of salesmanship. If Infinium can sell $75 million dollars worth of nothing, surely YOU can do better with something of actual value.