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Monday, November 29, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
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Cash crunch no game for Infinium Labs

By CompiledTimes technology Staff

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The financial picture is not pretty at Infinium Labs, a Sarasota, Fla., video-game company that lured former Microsoft employees to work at its main development office in Seattle.

Infinium is creating a video-game console called the Phantom, which it says will deliver games over the high-speed Internet so that a user will never have to buy them at the store. It plans to charge users a monthly subscription fee to access its gaming service, which has been delayed and is now scheduled to launch in the second quarter of next year.

In a regulatory filing last week, Infinium said it will need $11.5 million to launch its gaming service as planned and sell the first 10,000 Phantom units. After the launch, the company said, it will need $10.7 million more to break even on its cash flow.

At the end of September, it said, it had only $21,000 in cash. It owes $7.3 million in promissory notes. Infinium has retained SG Capital to help it raise money.

Shrinking share

Microsoft's Internet Explorer owned the Web browser market in May, with a 94 percent global usage share, reports

Then the Mozilla Foundation released the newest version of its Firefox browser, which received some glowing reviews from users. A Forbes columnist called the program "better than Explorer by leaps and bounds," and we hear that the browser is even in heavy rotation among the rank and file at Microsoft's Redmond campus.

Being secure

The market for global network security is expected to generate $12.9 billion in revenue this year.

Source: Yankee Group

Now, Internet Explorer's global usage share has dropped to 89 percent, OneStat reported last week. In the same period, Mozilla usage share has grown from 2.1 percent to 7.35 percent.

Firefox is heading into retail stores as part of a software package distributed by Linspire, formerly known as Lindows. But Microsoft can take comfort in one thing: Linspire's software package is named OOoFf, which stands for " plus Firefox."

What focus group approved that title?

The hit list

Speaking of video games, parent and church groups last week issued a list of the 10 most violent video games in an attempt to alert people who might otherwise buy the titles for children this holiday.

One of the titles, "Gunslinger Girl 2," is in Japanese and was only released in Japan. Another on the list, "Hitman: Blood Money," doesn't come out until next spring.

The remaining eight have all been rated M (for mature) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which means content is suitable for players age 17 and older. They are: "Halo 2," "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," "Doom 3," "Half-Life 2," "Manhunt," "Mortal Combat: Deception," "Postal 2" and "Shadow Hearts."

Retailers aren't to sell M-rated games to children, but the groups said the rules aren't strictly enforced. The groups want the game industry to come up with a rating system parents can understand.

Choppy waters

Ignition Partners, the Bellevue-based venture-capital company, raised a $300 million fund last month based on the performance of its current investments.

That included Seven Networks in Redwood City, Calif., which filed to go public in March. But the mobile-phone software developer withdrew its registration last week, saying that public markets have turned "choppy," said VentureWire, a industry newsletter.

Seven expected to sell up to $115 million in common stock. It instead raised an undisclosed third round of venture capital.

The IPO markets looked "robust and optimistic" when the company filed, Chief Financial Officer Tom Hoster told VentureWire. "Since then they've turned rather choppy," he added.

Founded in 2000, Seven has raised $64 million in two rounds.

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