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Wired's 2007 Vaporware Awards 195

Braedley sends word that Wired's annual vaporware list is up, and a number of products this community has discussed made the cut. The top spot, the position of most dishonor, was almost a foregone conclusion. "Another December, another list, another crowning achievement by the Emperor of the Ethereal, the Head Honcho of Hype, Duke Nukem Forever. We were going to disqualify him out of pity, but Sir Duke is back for 2007 thanks to a few leaked screenshots and an overwhelming number of votes. DNF creators 3D Realms even chose this week to debut a well-publicized video trailer for Duke's long-awaited return. Alas, a trailer is not a game, so — long live the king!"
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Wired's 2007 Vaporware Awards

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:43AM (#21765120)
    I've been playing a beta of DNF for a few weeks now I got from an insider and it is fucking awesome. According to my sources, it will be ready to ship to stores in mid-February. Hail to the king baby!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:15PM (#21765576)
      My GFs brothers mail carrier has a neighbor... Her nannies geeky half cousin (twice removed) says that his boy who is 'deep in the scene' (As he put it) talked to the aunt of one of the programmers mom who says that it won't be ready until at least December. Guess you need to recheck your insider.
    • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:08PM (#21766328)
      1)Create Duke Nukem
      2)Make big fuss over sequal
      3)Don't deliver, but make big deal for next decade
      4)Once DNF is a household name, deliver

      Seriously though, 3D Realms has found a good formula to get its namebrand out. I mean, what gamer hasn't heard of Duke Nukem Forever? It's the most famous non-game in gaming history. Weight for weight, DNF has more name recognition than even probably Halo. It almost behooves them to release it. It will turn every gamer's head 180 with "WTF?! DNF is finally been released!". Even if the game is say 7/10, you can guerentee a lot of copies would be sold just out of name recognition alone.

      • Not to mention having a decade of development behind it, the game will seriously kick ass.

        Unless they fuck up something fundamental, you cannot spend a decade working on something to have something so-so at the end.
      • by British ( 51765 )
        It's BAD name recognition.

        It's like taking a brand new car model and calling it "Yugo". Sure, everyone's heard of Yugo, but it's at the butt of all automotive related jokes.
      • by Malevolent Tester ( 1201209 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @02:09PM (#21767138) Journal
        Yeah, because that worked so well for Daikatana.
      • 4)Once DNF is a household name, deliver
        Who or what is DNF? Last I heard DNF stood for Did Not Finish.
      • I'm guessing that they'd rather cash in on the name recognition from their previous games. The last game came out several years ago, before the first halo was even released. Most hardcore gamers have no tie to the game, and most people who played it are now moved into the casual/sometimes gamer category. I think most studios and publishers would rather cash in on recognition with a good game still being played rather than get negative name recognition with the last game barely remembered.
      • The only problem is, they could've released 5 games in that time period and been making actual money. Further, from the various trailers, it looks like they may have made up to the better part of each of somewhere between one and four additional games without finishing and releasing any of them.
  • Wrong direction... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:46AM (#21765160)
    Actually, 2007 saw a bunch of high-profile projects climb from "vaporware" to "disappointment": Vista was released widely, OLPC produced a couple of semi-solid deals out of their usual fog of hype, even that Chandler email/PIM thingy managed some sort of alpha release.
    • by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:50AM (#21765234)
      So, are you saying that by being true vaporware they can live on in glory in a fictional world? Such that, in non-existance we are spared from the crushing mediocrity of "meh"?

      Truly philosophical.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GungaDan ( 195739 )
      Don't leave out Barcelona and Phenom! They deserve a dishonorable mention here. Or maybe their own award. We could call it a "Hector."

    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:20PM (#21766496)

      OLPC produced a couple of semi-solid deals out of their usual fog of hype

      The project was only announced in 2005! How can they have a "usual fog of hype"? Isn't two years to bring something like that to fruition pretty damn reasonable?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MBCook ( 132727 )

      It also saw Team Fortress 2 released. A game that has been in development much longer than Daikatana was, has seen complete rewrites, and would be the vaporware joke everyone knew about if it wasn't for DNF.

      Not only did the game come out, it's fantastic. It keeps the great feel, has beautiful graphics that are nicely stylized, and works very well. It could use more maps (they're working on it), and the classes do feel very different as part of the balancing, but it's a great game overall.

      Every once in a w

  • On Purpose? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vthornheart ( 745224 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:49AM (#21765216)
    Maybe they keep releasing Duke Nukem screenshots on occasion as some kind of a running gag? I guess the real joke's on Duke Nukem fans in that case. =)
  • Diablo III (Score:5, Informative)

    by Uthic ( 931553 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:50AM (#21765226)
    I don't see how this is so much 'vaporware' as 'what people would really like'. Blizzard hasn't made an announcement or even a hint that they're making it, after all. And boy, do I hate seeing the list one item at a time.
    • by Enry ( 630 )
      It was released. It got called 'Titan Quest'.
      • by morari ( 1080535 )
        Titan Quest was pretty darn good! Unfortunately, the formula was a little more confined than Diablo. The levels were rather linear and there certainly wasn't as much gear to possibly collect. That said, I really liked the game and was mesmerized at the swaying, overgrown grass for a good while. I did feel that the later environments were a tad out of place however. There is so, so much that one can do with a Greco-Roman world that there really wasn't much need to shift emphasis toward Egypt, China, and Baby
    • No kidding. Half the things on that list were only announced this year, and AFAIK the release was always 08. Why does that make it vaporware?
  • Diablo III? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cenice ( 42933 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:51AM (#21765240)
    How can an unannounced product be vaporware?
  • GNR? (Score:5, Funny)

    by TofuMatt ( 1105351 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:51AM (#21765250) Homepage
    Chinese Democracy has been vaporware for what, eight years now? And is anyone really looking forward to it anyway?
    • Re:GNR? (Score:5, Funny)

      by darkrowan ( 976992 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:43PM (#21765982) Homepage
      The way that album is going, China *WILL* be a democracy when it is finally released.
    • Axl has been touring in support of this album since approx 2003. Most people who have seen the shows will tell you the new songs are actually quite good.

      I'd love to hear the album if it ever sees the light of day. It seems Axl has some bizarre legal issues keeping him from putting it out there.
    • by SamP2 ( 1097897 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:57PM (#21766194)
      Chinese Democracy has been vaporware for 96 years and counting. The first beta was delivered [] in 1911, but numerous bugs caused it to eventually crash. Then they shipped [] another version for a completely different platform [] in 1949, but critics complain that it doesn't really deliver what was promised, and thus is vaporware. They tried to apply [] a major service pack in 1989, but it failed due to Insufficient Privileges error. Will the real version ever ship? Maybe, but I'm keeping my money on Duke.
      • I think you're missing the fact that the 1949 version was so widely deployed that once Chinese Democracy was actually delivered [] in 1996, only a very small userbase remained to adopt it.
    • by dave-tx ( 684169 ) *

      Meh. I heard some of the "leaked" mp3 tracks, and....they pretty much thoroughly sucked.

  • DNF of course (Score:3, Interesting)

    by justkarl ( 775856 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @11:52AM (#21765258)
    Why don't they just give the Duke the Vaporware Lifetime Achievement Award so we can carry on with our lives...
    • by ari_j ( 90255 )
      I thought that they already had []. That makes this most recent award all the more meaningful.
    • Re:DNF of course (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:06PM (#21765452) Homepage
      They did. Unfortunately the list is decided by reader votes, and despite getting the lifetime achievement award in the hope that it'd stop getting reader votes, it still topped the list.

      So its back.
    • Speaking of lifetime achievement awards... Isn't Wired a general geek rag?

      I've been waiting a while for DNF, sure. I've been waiting my whole life for my flying car.

      How about ubiquitous mobile Internet access? They're awarding 802.11n but not 802.16 WiMax? 802.16's been around since 1999 and had an approved standard in 2001. 802.11 already works, and most of the draft stuff for 802.11n already works together. 802.11a, b, and g are commonplace. The working group is only a couple of years older, yet we've bee
      • by nuzak ( 959558 )
        > How about ubiquitous mobile Internet access?

        Show me a cell phone that doesn't have internet.

        > DVD Audio? SuperAudio CD?

        They shipped fine. Market failures are not vapor.

        > FTTH?

        FIOS ring a bell?

        > LEO satellite phone and internet service?

        A small fraction of Iridium might indeed become vapor as this spectacular market failure is de-orbited.

  • by richardkelleher ( 1184251 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:01PM (#21765368) Homepage
    Just because they shipped it, doesn't mean it is still not vapor. Microsoft has been proving this for years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Machtyn ( 759119 )
      I'm surprised WinFS wasn't listed. But then again, why beat up on MS more (oh, yeah, because it's fun!).
      Windows Future Storage... it's stored in the future, so you'll have it when you need it...?
    • by damsa ( 840364 )
      The name Vista Aero makes a lot more sense now.
  • Have the criteria for vaporware sunken so low as to have to include quack technology? People have been hailing perpetual motion machines for centuries. Sure something of more substance could have been #10.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Farmer Tim ( 530755 )
      Sure something of more substance could have been #10.

      If it had substance, surely it wouldn't be vapour...
    • It's determined by reader votes.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )
      I was going to post that, but you beat me to it. So I'll karma whore in the opposite direction.

      The criteria for a project being vaporware is that it's highly hyped and way past any reasonable and/or announced release date. The fact that the project ignores the laws of physics is neither here nor there.

      Did nobody vote for Last Dangerous Visions? Harlan must be crushed!
    • I completely agree that a perpetual motion machine is vaporware. My car can run for miles and miles on vapors and I think this would be an excellent technology to pursue for a perpetual motion machine. Maybe the exhaust vapors can be pumped back into the fuel tank? Someone should really get on that!

  • I for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by edittard ( 805475 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:17PM (#21765610)
    I nominate slashdot's new discussion system [].
    • Re:I for one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jdjbuffalo ( 318589 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:57PM (#21766940) Journal
      I would be nice to see some changes to it. I was using it for several months until they changed it to display only 50 messages at once. I couldn't stand pressing the "More" button 10 times per story so I stopped using it.

      I really don't like the old system after using the new one but I can't stand the 50 message limit. They should make the "50" be adjustable to include 50,100,200,300,400,500,unlimited. While there was certainly problems with their Javascript timing out for big threads it wasn't too bad most of the time. They certainly still have work to do to optimize the code but the adjustable number of messages feature would certainly help in the mean time.

      Hopefully the Taco will see this message and make the adjustment ;-)
  • Anytime someone is out going on about something that is not working through distribution channels already, it is almost certainly effectively vapor. The more vigorous their demonstration, the more probable the vapor.

    It would be helpful if everyone operated under the rule of do not even tell me about it unless I can have it drop shipped today. Take away their audience, and these charlatans would go away quickly.

    I said a long time ago that the guy making spore should work on his game instead of attending conf
    • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:32PM (#21765834) Journal
      Be fair. Will Wright has successfully produced plenty of excellent games. That's not to say that Spore will necessarily be the earth shattering game experience that same people are saying it will, but I think someone like Mr. Wright has at least earned the benefit of the doubt that he'll release a game, and that it'll likely be at least halfway decent.

      For better or worse, you can't just secretly develop a product in a basement somewhere and then suddenly have them lining store shelves the next day. One company that tries really hard to do that is Apple, and they're constantly getting bashed from many directions due to their obsession with secrecy.

      While I'm not making any judgements about you personally, the reality is that consumers as a whole seem to enjoy the hype just as much as the marketing departments do. There are piles of websites dedicated to finding and sharing advanced info, future product hints, and scheming up potential company directions. Any time there's a demand for such information, someone's going to provide it. The fact that that creates an opportunity for cranks and charlatans to scam a few bucks is just a side effect.
      • > One company that tries really hard to do that is Apple, and they're constantly getting bashed from many directions due to their obsession with secrecy.

        Apple has more cash on hand than all but a few companies in the world and a loyal if difficult fan base. I would submit this means you can run a business responsibly in this fashion. If consumers want, they can create their own rumors for entertainment.
        • Sure, Apple is an example of a company running that way, but as you said, they're in a unique position of having a bazillion dollars laying around. They're a large enough company with enough resources that they can do almost everything in-house. There are dozens of other factors that make their business style more appropriate for them than for other companies.

          One person/company being successful doing one thing does not mean that all people/companies would work best operating the same way.
    • by Zadaz ( 950521 )
      Spore has been in development since at least 2000. However the first most people heard about it was in 2005 when he gave a talk at a games conference about fractally generated content (as I remember it). Supporting material for this talk came from his (now five year old) project. It wasn't a product announcement, just game development talk. A proper product announcement didn't come out of EA until quite a bit later. Yes, there has been a lot of hype, but it's pretty small in proportion to the amount of
  • by StressGuy ( 472374 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:30PM (#21765792)

    Good News: Duke Nukem Forever is finally released and, surprisingly, to overwhelming critical acclaim for innovative game design.

    Bad News: It subsequently gets an "Adults Only" rating and is immediately pulled from the shelves until it can be re-worked into a "Mature" rating.

    Seriously, I think 3D Realms should just admit defeat.....but I'm still holding out for "Redneck Rampage" forever.
    • I'm still holding out for "Redneck Rampage" forever.
      OMG, this game was SO hilarious... thank you for bringing back those good memories, it's so old the name had slipped out of my mind.
  • I think what they *meant* to say was "Hail to the king, baby!"
  • Horrible Article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @12:41PM (#21765956) Homepage
    I didn't know vaporware meant "software/hardware that has a delayed release date" or "software that will probably be made but hasn't been announced yet." I don't understand how you can mention Diablo III in a vaporware list and not mention Starcraft: Ghost.

    The article was also way off on how the Spore multiplayer will supposedly work. You're not going to be able to directly compete with other people's races. The computer-controlled races will be based off a global database of races that other players upload their race information to. This is barely more "multiplayer" then a global high score list.

    • Matter of fact, I think Will Wright called it a "Massively Singleplayer Online Game".
    • I don't see how they can even mention Diablo III with a straight face. How can it count as vapourware when it's never been officially announced by Blizzard? Meanwhile, I thought Starcraft: Ghost had been officially put on "permanent hiatus", or in other words, cancelled?
  • WM6 on the Blackjack (Score:2, Informative)

    by bmfs ( 467488 )
    That's odd... in Europe I installed the WM6 upgrade for the Blackjack (SGH-i600 in these parts) ages ago. []

    • by Trashman ( 3003 )
      The European i600 is not the same device as the North American i607 "Blackjack." In addition to having Wifi radio ripped out (at the request of at&t,) the i607 is different enough that any attempts as flashing the i600 ROM on the i607 will brick the phone.
  • The premise is simple: instead of streaming your TV across the 'net to PCs (as with the SlingBox), the SlingCatcher does the opposite by streaming your PC's videos to the TV. The SlingCatcher is expected to retail for under $200 some time in the middle of 2007; it will come with HDMI and component connectors and will feature both WiFi and Ethernet for connectivity.

    --Ars Technica []

    I voted at Wired for Slingcatcher, but I guess I'm the only one. [] -- the orig

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )
      Similar to the Slingcatcher, but more mainstream, was the Sony Locationfree BOX-TV device.
      It was to be hooked up to any TV or monitor, and would allow reception of TV from your base station to anywhere (with enough bandwidth). The base stations were made, and can be used with computers to receive the signal (much like the slingbox), but the promised BOX-TV never made it.

      I pre-ordered one when buying my base station in 2006, but the release was pushed back, twice, and eventually I got an email last summer s
  • Why was a concept car even in consideration for the list (referenced in the Tesla section.) GM says 2010 for production, there's a working prototype, what makes it vapor?
    • For that matter why was the Tesla Roadster mentioned? It has a working model as well. In fact I think they have many working models. This is a startup car company so of course they want to get it right.
  • Misread (Score:3, Funny)

    by ggvaidya ( 747058 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:18PM (#21766464) Homepage Journal
    Emperor of the Ethereal

    Somehow (I only caught the last half, and am in the middle of a minor Civ4 obsession) I read that as Ethelred the Unready []. Appropriate enough, though.
  • Anybody notice the amount of weight on the bench behind Duke? I think Duke and Barry Bonds hang out. Obviously Duke slaps Barry around for fun, calling him 'Fairy Bonds'.

    picture here []
  • by Notquitecajun ( 1073646 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @01:32PM (#21766638)
    Maybe if we all got together and BELIEVED hard enough, DNF would appear and we could play it. It exists, we just don't believe in it.
  • Then there is that idiotic Your Opinion Matters popup that keeps coming up. I'm not sure they want to know what I think!


  • by BigBlueOx ( 1201587 ) on Thursday December 20, 2007 @02:31PM (#21767424)
    There seems to be much misinformation here about Duke Nukem Forever.
    Allow me to set the record straight.

    3D Realms is haunted by the ghosts of gamers who died of outrage when they found that Duke Nukem 3-D choked with more than 5 players in multi-player mode and, to appease the spirits, the workers at 3D Realms must continually build Duke Nukem Forever 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ...well... forever or they will die.

    So far they have kept the spirits at bay.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun