Biggest unfulfilled promises in gaming

Now that President Obama has taken office, we’re about to see whether he can act on all those campaign promises he’s been touting for the last year or so. We have a good feeling about Barack, although Presidents have been known to lead the public astray.

This whole new-President thing got us thinking about gaming promises that were made by large companies that have gone tragically unfulfilled. From small game features to hefty hardware claims, these are the promises that never came to fruition.

The Phantom

Above: “May we interest you in crap?”

A brand-new subscription based console enabling you to download current and future PC games with a standard monthly fee. Would have utilized a direct-download service. Think Steam but for a standalone console.

Announced in 2002 and shown as a prototype at E3 2004, Infinium Labs (now Phantom Entertainment) kept pushing back Phantom’s release (or another way to put it - Phantom kept missing Infinium’s proposed release date deadlines). Presumably, Infinium couldn’t finalize the downloading service they were building, couldn’t lock down the licensed games to be sold and couldn’t find any retailers in which to do business.

Above: Guess what a better idea is

In 2006 - mere months before the Phantom project was canceled - the Securities and Exchanges Commission accused Phantom founder and CEO Timothy Roberts of defrauding investors out of cash for his benefit. He settled with the SEC in civil court. The only thing useful to come out of this whole mess was the Phantom Lapboard - a keyboard/mouse combo peripheral that rests on your obese lap as you play - which was purchased by Alienware and released in 2007.

But hey, at least we still have GameTap and Steam.

PlayStation 2 Hard Disk Drive and Network Adapter

Above: Needed more planning

Impressive first and third-party online-enabled titles. Total living room experience including games, movies and music. And well… a promise of a new online/hard drive enabled future that didn’t symbolize Sony’s complete ineptness at online gaming.

In hindsight, everything. While the HDD enabled reduced load times and memory card backup, only 13 North American games either made extensive use of or required the drive (either for online play or for large data files). On one hand, the HDD worked (and if you played Final Fantasy XI, you know it did). However, the lack of support was apparent and Sony passive-aggressively forgot about the HDD when the new slimline PS2 - released in 2004 - failed to be compatible with the drive.

Above: Hope FFXI was worth it for the several of you out there

On the online side, Sony didn’t have one central hub to go online and jump in and out of gameplay with, unlike Microsoft’s Xbox Live program. Each publisher needed its own servers, making it difficult for a number of smaller companies to include online play. While many sports games and the SOCOM series attracted large amounts of players, online play wasn’t really a selling point for most games on PS2.

Both disastrous forays into online play eventually led to the PS3’s admittedly better setup, yet still not as simple as Microsoft’s “got-it-right-the-first-time” Live.

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  • Rzl - January 28, 2009 12:44 a.m.

    I got the ring on my 360 2 or 3 times in the first few months of having it and didn't know what the hell was going on till I read about it online after the fact. Still works though....(so far)?
  • Caboose8152 - January 26, 2009 8:04 p.m.

    my xbox 360 just red ringed for the second time! it makes me sooo mad!
  • izayuh - January 26, 2009 4:54 p.m.

    wow some people like totally abuse their 360 i haven't got the RROD yet
  • bugmenot - January 25, 2009 3:14 a.m.

    Justin Lowe is an idiot. I'm sorry anyone who buys a product and has to repair it 11 times and still supports the company, gets no sympathy from me. In no other industry would this be tolerated. MS know nothing about consumer electronics. The best fix for RROD? A PLAYSTATION 3.
  • OroYoke - January 24, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    Why does the Xbox 360 have heat issues? Could it be the users, could it be the environment in the house or could it be case design? Video cards in the PCs will get very hot and is prone to failure over time. If the Xbox 360 GPU is also getting really hot over time, in time heat stress or heat fatigue would probably cause the failure.
  • curlyfries443 - January 23, 2009 10:33 p.m.

    my friend got the RROD and he said he got rid of it by unplugging evrything then plugging them back in and it was gone
  • nathanRpotter - January 23, 2009 9:18 p.m.

    Fable is awesome all around so there should be no problems
  • Spybreak8 - January 23, 2009 9:52 a.m.

    I'm in the vacation time of my second RROD and I'm gaming strong on my laptop. Hey if they pay, I'm not complaining but I was ticked the first time it happened and it's prob due to the fact that I have pets and smoke in my house. I was really hoping for 1:1 movement with Red Steal and Metroid. Oh and I soooo wish I could play GH online but damn you satellite broadband! ><
  • mozaralio - January 23, 2009 3:02 a.m.

    I love the Nintendo 64 and I still have mine AND it works sweet right? My 360 on got the RROD becuase my brother was stupid enough to leave it turned on for 16 hours but I got it fixed the day it broke with a slightly illegal yet very effective method. anyway good article keep 'em up.
  • duz - January 22, 2009 11:10 p.m.

    Forgot the 64DD. The double deck. Where the hell did that go? My XBOX is RROD right now. Hurry up Microsoft!
  • BLoooocheeze84 - January 22, 2009 10:42 p.m.

    RROD sucks. I haave it right now.
  • MacGyver1138 - January 22, 2009 8:38 p.m.

    I am on my 4th Xbox due to RROD, and I can say it has nothing to do with the way the Xbox has been treated. I have owned most consoles since the NES and I haven't ever had troubles before. After my first RROD--just to be sure--I made sure my Xbox was even more well-ventilated than before, and I have still had 2 more. While that is irritating, even with the trouble I love the 360 and would buy a new one if MS didn't repair it under warranty.
  • bron1417 - January 22, 2009 8:32 p.m.

    red ring is a big problem i know this myself but i hope MS learns from it for the next system they make eh?
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - January 22, 2009 5:32 p.m.

    I take perfect care of all my consoles. Have since the NES days. My 360 red ringed FOUR TIMES. I've never, not once, had to repair or replace a console in my 25 years of gaming until 360. I will at least admit the return was speedy.
  • Cernunnos - January 22, 2009 3:04 p.m.

    i'm on my 2. 360, and havent even SEEN a RRoD yet. only in pictures. and i find it highly unlikely (though not impossible) that some people seem to have several 360 die on them whilst others just dont have the problem. i think RRoD can also somewhat be blamed on owners, seing as its the same people who get it over and over again. and there are a lot of things that will show 3 red rings, without it being RRoD, the powercable thing mentioned above is one, and the HDD not being in corrctly is another. i have both next-gen consoles (i'll eat my own ass before calling wii Next-Gen); and i enjoy my 360 far more than my ps3. its not about RAM (nor raam), its not about looks, its not about six-axis. its about games..! that, and the fact that the 360 controller is far better designed and ergonomically fitted. imo.
  • Funebre - January 22, 2009 3:02 p.m.

    Good article, although you should of mentioned about the Perfect dark/gameboy camera capability to have your face in game which never happened D:
  • Fallenangle09 - January 22, 2009 1:50 p.m.

    Just to Echo KaylaKaze's post I've got the PlayStation 2 Network Adapter set up and with a software disc i got online which means can back up pretty much any ps2 game onto it an play it of the drive for a cost of around £60 it was up and running. Plus it meant i could play Battlefield 2 online without upgrading to the PS2 Slimline. I think if more people knew what they could have done with the network Adapter i think they would have flown of the shelves But Sony would have never promoted 3rd Party Software
  • jimsondanet - January 22, 2009 12:40 p.m.

    I contracted rrod (and yes it was 3 quarters certain n4g posters!). it booted up after repeated atempts at turning it on, then failed shortly after. turned out the power cable wasnt connected to the xbox properly an so the pins were on only barely connecting. now i aint a techy but im gona geuss that each pin corresponds to certain components resulting in some with power and others without, hence a perceived 'general hardware failure' so theres a potential fix for some
  • alijay034 - January 22, 2009 10:19 a.m.

    So why no mention of the long download times from PSN or the long install times onto the PS3 hard drive, lets at least try and show a bit of non bias....If you can?
  • Z-man427 - January 22, 2009 7:19 a.m.

    I have not had an RRoD yet. i live in constant fear, but i bought the extended warranty from Best Buy so if it does go tits up, I get a brand new one. that means with a 60GB HDD now.