List of vaporware

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Vaporware is a product which is announced and/or being developed, but never released, nor ever cancelled. The term "vaporware" can also refer to products that are released far behind schedule, or heavily-promoted products that do not exist. This list documents products which have been labelled as "vaporware".


  • Phantom was a console gaming system developed by Infinium Labs. A prototype was demonstrated in 2004, but its release was continually delayed and the company never announced that the product was cancelled. The company was accused of a pump and dump scam. It received the first place in "Vaporwares 2004" in Wired News.[1]


  • Ovation was a highly promoted office suite. After demonstrations that were well received, it was later revealed that the product never existed. It is "widely considered the mother of all vaporware," according to Laurie Flynn of The New York Times.[2]
  • Xenix is a discontinued version of the Unix operating system for various microcomputer platforms, licensed by Microsoft from AT&T Corporation in the late 1970s. The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) later acquired exclusive rights to the software, and eventually superseded it with SCO UNIX (now known as SCO OpenServer). After the breakup of the Bell System AT&T started selling Unix. Microsoft, believing that it could not compete with Unix's developer, decided to abandon Xenix. The decision was not immediately transparent, and so Xenix gave birth to the term vaporware.[2] An agreement was signed with IBM to develop OS/2, and the Xenix team (together with the best MS DOS developers) was assigned to that project. In 1987 Microsoft transferred ownership of Xenix to SCO in an agreement that left Microsoft owning 25% of SCO. When Microsoft eventually lost interest in OS/2 as well, it based its further high-end strategy on Windows NT.

Video games[edit]

  • Half-Life 2: Episode Three - The trilogy of episodes following Half-Life 2 was intended to be concluded by the end of 2007. Although the first two episodes were released in a relatively timely fashion, the final installment never surfaced. Despite sporadic assurances from developer Valve Corporation that the sequel is in development, there has been no information about the game or when it may see a release, and many rumors regarding it state that it won't be an episodic sequel but rather a full-on sequel. As of 2016, there was no official announcement, with only 3 released promotional images. The game is currently the most infamous case of gaming vaporware, spawning a number of memes regarding it, and despite massive fan demands about the game's development, Gabe Newell, Valve's director, has provided no commentary on the game.[3]
  • Commander Keen: The Universe Is Toast! was supposed to be the third trilogy in the series, with the story picking up after the events at the end of the sixth episode, but it never progressed beyond the early stages of development, due to id Software moving on to Wolfenstein 3D and then Doom. However, the author of the game often has commented that he would automatically make a new game if he ever gains back the intellectual property.[4]
  • Star Fox (arcade) was originally announced alongside Star Fox: Assault as an arcade counterpart. However, while Assault was released in 2005, Arcade was never mentioned again in public beyond its initial announcement.[5]
  • Stars! Supernova Genesis was feature complete in August 2000,[6] but the developers were unable to find a publisher.[7]

Surfaced vaporware[edit]

Products which once were considered to be vaporware which eventually surfaced after a prolonged time:

  • 3G[8]
  • Bluetooth[9]
  • IBM Watson a revolutionary health care system preceded by 2 years of marketing videos
  • Duke Nukem Forever[9] - Initial game development was announced in April 1997 with a scheduled launch of 1998, with a trailer of the game shown at E3 1998. It was delayed however, and another promotional trailer was released with new graphics with a release date set for November 2001. However, more delays forced the game to be pushed back to unknown date. The game was unheard off until it was officially again announced in late 2010, and was finally released on June 10, 2011, 15 years after initial development. However, the game was met with mixed to negative reviews and was regarded as a failure. See also Development of Duke Nukem Forever.
  • Daikatana[10]
  • Windows Vista (then, "Windows Code Name 'Longhorn'")[10]
  • Mac OS X, the long-awaited "next generation Mac OS" that finally shipped replacing the announced and later abandoned Copland, Gershwin and Taligent operating system attempts.[11]
  • GNU Hurd, After more than 20 years, it's still considered "not ready" by developers.[12][13]
  • Warcraft III[9][14]
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl – Originally announced in 2001, the game experienced numerous delays.[15] Beta builds of the final product have been distributed to numerous game review sites.[16] On 3 March 2007, THQ announced that the game had gone gold and was released on 20 March 2007, though it was leaked three days earlier.
  • Team Fortress 2[10] was announced in 1999 and took 8 years to be released. With a complete change in gameplay and art direction, the North American release took place on 9 October 2007.
  • Black Mesa was announced as a full remake of Half-Life in 2004. The first release date given by the developers was 2009, but development continued until 2012, when the first fourteen chapters were released on modding website Mod DB. It was greenlit for distribution on Steam on September 11 of the same year, before being released as an early access product on May 5, 2015, with numerous features from the mod improved upon in the Steam release. This remake was designed so as to become a better alternative for Half-Life: Source since it lacked new features other than the fact that it used the newer, revamped source engine. Due to its long development time (eleven years), the modification became notable for its delays, and dwindling updates on the status of its completion. The delays led to Wired awarding Black Mesa high spots on their "Vaporware Of The Year" lists in 2009 and 2010.[17][18]
  • Doom began development in May 2008,[19] but was completely restarted in 2011 and later considered vaporware.[20] It was finally showcased at E3 2015, and was released on May 13, 2016.[21]
  • The Last Guardian began development in 2007,[22] and was formally announced at E3 2009.[23] Very little information was released after this, before it was reintroduced at E3 2015; it was released on December 6, 2016.[24]
  • Final Fantasy XV was first announced in May 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII and was originally part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy series. There was little word on the game from Square Enix, however, until E3 2013, when it was revealed it had been rebranded as the next main installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game was released worldwide on November 29, 2016.
  • Lockitron was a device to allow a door deadbolt to be remotely controlled via Bluetooth or over the Internet. After a successful crowdfunding effort that raised over $1.5 million worth of pre-orders, Apigy experienced significant delays delivering a product in substantial numbers.[25] Apigy eventually delivered thousands of the devices before ceasing production and introducing a new model of Lockitron.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kahney, Leander (7 January 2005). "Vaporware Phantom Haunts Us All". Wired News. Archived from the original on 31 January 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-17. 
  2. ^ a b Flynn, Laurie (24 April 1995). "The Executive Computer". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  3. ^ "Vaporware 2010: The Great White Duke". Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "A Look Back at Commander Keen". Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Namco Brings GCN Support". Retrieved March 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Stars! Supernova Genesis Preview". Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Stars! Supernova Genesis". Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  8. ^ Elisa Batista (March 6, 2002). "The Real Reason 3G is Vaporware". Wired. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c "Vaporware 2000: Missing Inaction". Wired. 2001. Retrieved 2007-10-31. The bona fide beginning of the new millennium is almost upon us, but some things never change: The tech industry continues to whip up excitement by promising amazing new technologies, only to crush our spirits by delaying, postponing, pushing back or otherwise derailing the arrival of said goods – sometimes indefinitely. 
  10. ^ a b c "Vaporware '99: The 'Winners'". Wired. 3 January 2000. Retrieved 2007-10-31. The last year of the last decade before 2000 has come and gone, but the Vaporware 1999 "winners" are still a dream to some, and a nightmare to others. 
  11. ^ Vaporware: Why Apple Doesn't Blog. (7 December 2006).
  12. ^ "Whatever happened to the Hurd? – The story of the GNU OS". SciFiNow. Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  13. ^ "status". Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  14. ^ "Vaporware 2001: Empty Promises". Wired. 7 January 2002. Retrieved 2007-10-31. Whatever you like to call it – the New Economy, the Dot-Com Economy, the Clinton Years – one thing is now clear about the period of prosperity that began in the mid-'90s and was snuffed out early last year. 
  15. ^ Top 10 Tuesday: Modern Vaporware. (11 April 2006).
  16. ^ First impressions – S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Eurogamer
  17. ^ Calore, Michael (December 21, 2009). "Vaporware 2009: Inhale the Fail". Wired (magazine). Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  18. ^ Calore, Michael (January 3, 2011). "Vaporware 2010: The Great White Duke". Wired (magazine). Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  19. ^ Ocampo, Jason (May 7, 2008). "Doom 4 Announced". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  20. ^ Schreier, Jason (April 3, 2013). "Five Years And Nothing To Show: How Doom 4 Got Off Track". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  21. ^ Pitcher, Jenna (June 14, 2015). "E3 2015: DOOM Release Date Announced". IGN. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  22. ^ Grifford, Kevin (2009-06-03). "Fumito Ueda Discusses Last Guardian". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  23. ^ Clements, Ryan (2009-06-20). "E3 2009: Team ICO Presents The Last Guardian". IGN. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  24. ^ Sarkar, Samit; Crecente, Brian (2015-06-18). "The Last Guardian's incredible eight-year journey to the PlayStation 4". Polygon. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  25. ^ Lomas, Natasha (16 January 2014). "Lockitron Still Hasn’t Shipped To Most Backers Over A Year After Its $2.2M Crowdfunding Effort". Tech Crunch. the keyless smart lock that’s designed to fit over your dumb deadbolt so you can lock and unlock your door with a smartphone remains so much sexy-looking vapourware 
  26. ^ Popper, Ben (2015-01-27). "A crowdfunded startup explains why crowdfunding can be a complete disaster". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-10-03.