Wednesday 22/01/03What's the best way to lose vast amounts of money? Oh, so many options.

Wednesday 22/01/03
What's the best way to lose vast amounts of money? Oh, so many options. Microsoft, which is rather good at getting the stuff in, has chosen to do it by making a games console -- and if Microsoft can't make it work, then it really is a dog of a market to get into, right? Not according to US startup Infinium Labs, which has started to make noises about its Phantom console. Not much detail yet, except that it'll be an 'always on broadband device' and that'll be the focus of the games and services you can expect. There's the usual blather about ultimate gaming experience, massive multiplayer environments and so on, but no idea what's inside the box or what software it'll run. That's the rub of course. Infinium says, rather oddly, that there are " currently 32,679 retail game titles available and 418 shareware game titles and this does not include; adult, casino, sequels and new releases in past 6 months." 32,679 retail games? For a box that doesn't exist yet? And only 418 shareware? Something doesn't compute, Captain. But it still shows that the biggest buzz in the industry is broadband -- or more precisely, the devices you can plug into it. With CES filled with toys that couple streaming digital media onto your television or into your radio, we're moving to a time when broadband will be as much a part of everyday life as the TV itself. Can't wait.