List of vaporware
Vaporware is a product which is announced and/or being developed, but never released, nor ever cancelled. This list documents products which have been labelled as "vaporware".
Hardware and software
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) later acquired exclusive rights to the software, and eventually superseded it with SCO UNIX (now known as SCO OpenServer).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. 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.
- AirPower was a wireless charging pad designed and developed by Apple Inc. AirPower was designed to charge the Apple Watch, iPhone, and AirPods all at once if needed, but after Apple announced the device in 2017, there were persistent difficulties and eventually the project was cancelled on March 29, 2019. Apple says work on the product was cancelled because the company could not achieve what it wanted with AirPower.
- 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 2019,[update] there has been no official announcement - the game is currently the most infamous case of gaming vaporware. Despite continued fan demands for information on development, Gabe Newell, Valve's director, has not commented on the game.
- Commander Keen: The Universe Is Toast! was intended to be a continuation of the Commander Keen 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, Tom Hall, the series' creator, has stated that he can continue it if he ever regains its intellectual property.
- 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.
- Stars! Supernova Genesis was feature complete in August 2000, but the developers were unable to find a publisher.
- The Grinder, a first-person shooter that was to be released on the Wii and ported to Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the fall of 2011, was announced by High Voltage Software around the time it released The Conduit and Conduit 2, two graphically advanced first-person shooters for the Wii. However, The Grinder failed to meet this scheduled due date, and High Voltage Software has remained relatively silent about what had happened to it. Years later, it was discovered that the game had been quietly abandoned, though not officially cancelled, after the developers had trouble trying to make the game appealing enough as a new intellectual property.
- Six Days in Fallujah, a tactical shooter and video game adaptation of the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004, was developed by Atomic Games and was ready to be released around 2010. However, the game's intended publisher, Konami, refused to release the game due to the controversy surrounding it. Since then, no publisher has come forward to pick up the game, and aside from multiple assurances from Atomic Games' president that the game was not canceled, no significant word was heard about whether or when Fallujah would ever be released at all.
- Ghostwire: Link to the Paranormal, an augmented reality horror video game, was being developed by A Different Game and was due to be released in late 2010 by Majesco for the Nintendo DSi and intended to leverage its camera system. However, Majesco inexplicably backed out from the game, which was then put on indefinite hold. No further information has been given about the game's fate.
- Beyond Good and Evil 2 - announced for the first time in 2008 as prequel to the in 2003 released, critically acclaimed, yet commercially unsuccessful game Beyond Good and Evil. Rumors of the release actually happening were fed by a few trailers and concept art as well as statements made by Michel Ancel and Ubisoft. In 2016 the magazine Wired presented the game with their vaporware award. 
Products which once were considered to be vaporware which eventually surfaced after a prolonged time:
- IBM Watson, a revolutionary health care system preceded by 2 years of marketing videos
- Windows Vista (then, "Windows Code Name 'Longhorn'")
- 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.
- GNU Hurd, After more than 20 years, it's still considered "not ready" by developers.
- 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. Apigy eventually delivered thousands of the devices before ceasing production and introducing a new model of Lockitron.
- Duke Nukem Forever - 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 not heard of again until it was officially 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 - Daikatana was first announced at E3 1997, and it was shown with promotional images and software, and was planned to be released on that year, with the game already being finished. However, the controversial tagline of the game: "John Romero's about to make you his bitch!", generated a lot of controversy, and John Romero's incredulous behavior and lavish lifestyle caused much of the original Ion Storm's team to jump ship and form Gathering of Developers. Further unrest was when the game was delayed again to switch from the original Quake engine to Quake II engine in November 1997, and the game was rescheduled for release in March 1998. However, it took over a year for the game to be fully switched in a new engine, and the release date was pushed back to February 1999, a deadline that was missed again. A demo was released in March 1999, which was considered to be of poor quality. The game was again shown at E3 1999, but the now outdated Quake II engine and the inability to show more than 12 frames a second (at a time when 30 frames were industry standard) caused a disaster for Ion Storm development team. Eidos, Ion Storm's parent company, which already invested $44 million in the development of Daikatana, had enough and took majority ownership of the company. The game was finally released in 2000. Today, it is considered to be one of the worst games of the 2000s in general, and one of the worst cases of vaporware due to the hype generated by Romero.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl – Originally announced in 2001, the game experienced numerous delays. Beta builds of the final product have been distributed to numerous game review sites. On March 3, 2007, THQ announced that the game had gone gold and was released on March 20, 2007, though it was leaked three days earlier.
- Team Fortress 2 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 October 9, 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, and with the blessing of Valve Corporation, owners of the Half-Life franchise, to sell the product; something quite unique among fan-made remakes. With the final chapters of Xen pending completion and stated for release in Q2 2019, the project is poised to fully exit its vaporware state a full 15 years after its initial announcement, unless further delays occur. 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.
- Rodea the Sky Soldier was planned to be released on the Wii and Nintendo 3DS, with the Wii version ready to be released in 2011. However, the game remained unreleased for a few years with no significant word on its official status. Finally, in 2014, Kadokawa Games, a candidate publisher for the game, confirmed that NIS America will release the game the following year, although it would only be available on Nintendo's eighth-generation systems, the Wii U and the 3DS, as the Wii was partially discontinued and already falling into disuse around that time. Consequently, the original Wii version would not be available for individual purchase and was instead included with early shipments of the Wii U version. The game was released in Japan on April 2, 2015, then became available to the rest of the world on November 10.
- Bethesda Softworks' reboot of Doom originally began development as a sequel to Doom 3 in May 2008, but was completely restarted in 2011 and later considered vaporware. It was finally showcased at E3 2015 as a reboot, and was released on May 13, 2016.
- The Last Guardian began development in 2007, and was formally announced at E3 2009. Very little information was released after this until it was reintroduced at E3 2015; it was then released on December 6, 2016.
- 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.
- Mother 3
- Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar was a game developed by Cleve Blakemore, a former Wizardry 7 developer, starting in the early 1990s. Blakemore announced release dates that did not transpire for the game at least 4 times, the first being in 1997. A 2010 Indiegogo campaign asked for $250,000 for development, claiming a release date of May 2013, but only raised $10,598. This was followed by a Steam page launch, including a purported July 7, 2017 release, which failed to happen. The game was instead released on August 5, 2017, after over 20 years of development.
- Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn, a new-and-improved sequel to the infamous 1994 game Shaq Fu, was announced in 2014, the game's 20th anniversary, and was intended to be released on the PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The game was crowdfunded on Indiegogo, with backers raising over $450,000 to have the game produced by Saber Interactive. Aside from an announcement that development was nearly completed in late 2016, there was no further word about the game's developmental status or release timetable for roughly four years since its announcement and funding. In 2018, the developers confirmed that they had been busy revising A Legend Reborn to resolve unexpected licensing issues and plan to release it in the coming months, but only on the PS4, Xbox One, PC and the new Nintendo Switch, due to the last-generation systems becoming obsolete at this time. Eventually, they confirmed that the game will finally be released on June 5, 2018.
- Kahney, Leander (January 7, 2005). "Vaporware Phantom Haunts Us All". Wired News. Archived from the original on January 31, 2006. Retrieved May 17, 2006.
- Flynn, Laurie (April 24, 1995). "The Executive Computer". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- "Vaporware 2010: The Great White Duke". Wired.com. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- "A Look Back at Commander Keen". Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- "Namco Brings GCN Support". Retrieved March 27, 2016.
- "Stars! Supernova Genesis Preview". Retrieved August 10, 2016.
- "Stars! Supernova Genesis". Retrieved August 10, 2016.
- Reseigh-Lincoln, Dom (April 16, 2018). "Video: Here's What Happened To The Grinder, A Wii Horror Shooter Lost To Development Hell". Nintendo Life. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- "Six Days in Fallujah Finished, Still Coming Out - Xbox 360 News at IGN". Au.xbox360.ign.com. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "News - Konami Drops Controversial Six Days in Fallujah". Gamasutra. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "Six Days in Fallujah 'definitely not canceled'". Digital Spy. August 26, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
- Paprocki, Matt; Paprocki, Matt (June 4, 2018). "'Six Days in Fallujah': A Bloody Iraq Battle and Video Game That Almost Was". Variety. Archived from the original on July 29, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
- Fahey, Mike. "Majesco Brings Ghostwire To The DSi Next Year" (October 27, 2009). Kotaku.
- Shaikh, Sehran (October 21, 2010). "Ghostwire: Link to the Paranormal Release Delayed". Gamepur.
- "Thanks for Nothing, Videogames: The 2016 Vaporware Awards". Wired.com. December 27, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- Elisa Batista (March 6, 2002). "The Real Reason 3G is Vaporware". Wired. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
- "Vaporware 2000: Missing Inaction". Wired. 2001. Retrieved October 31, 2007.
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.
- "Vaporware '99: The 'Winners'". Wired. January 3, 2000. Retrieved October 31, 2007.
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.
- Vaporware: Why Apple Doesn't Blog. Roughlydrafted.com (December 7, 2006).
- "Whatever happened to the Hurd? – The story of the GNU OS". SciFiNow. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
- "status". www.gnu.org. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
- Lomas, Natasha (January 16, 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
- Popper, Ben (January 27, 2015). "A crowdfunded startup explains why crowdfunding can be a complete disaster". The Verge. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
- Top 10 Tuesday: Modern Vaporware. Pc.ign.com (April 11, 2006).
- First impressions – S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Eurogamer
- "Half-Life is 20! - Xen Trailer!". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
- Calore, Michael (December 21, 2009). "Vaporware 2009: Inhale the Fail". Wired (magazine). Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- Calore, Michael (January 3, 2011). "Vaporware 2010: The Great White Duke". Wired (magazine). Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Spencer (September 23, 2011). "Rodea The Sky Soldier Is Complete, We're Waiting For Kadokawa To Publish It". Siliconera. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- McWhertor, Michael (September 20, 2012). "Yuji Naka's missing Wii game 'Rodea the Sky Soldier' still in limbo". Polygon. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
- "Rodea: The Sky Soldier - Prope updates their page, initial Wii U run contains Wii version". Go Nintendo. November 14, 2014. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
- Ocampo, Jason (May 7, 2008). "Doom 4 Announced". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- Schreier, Jason (April 3, 2013). "Five Years And Nothing To Show: How Doom 4 Got Off Track". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- Pitcher, Jenna (June 14, 2015). "E3 2015: DOOM Release Date Announced". IGN. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- Grifford, Kevin (June 3, 2009). "Fumito Ueda Discusses Last Guardian". 1UP.com. Retrieved June 3, 2009.[permanent dead link]
- Clements, Ryan (June 20, 2009). "E3 2009: Team ICO Presents The Last Guardian". IGN. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
- Sarkar, Samit; Crecente, Brian (June 18, 2015). "The Last Guardian's incredible eight-year journey to the PlayStation 4". Polygon. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Chalk, Andy (August 4, 2017). "Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar is now live on Steam after 20 years of development". PCGamer. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- Bridge, Zachary. "CES 2014: Shaq Confirms Shaq Fu 2 "Coming Soon" #ShaqFu2". GamerFitnation. GamerFitnation. Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- Indiegogo - Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn
- Parsons, Don. "Shaq-Fu A Legend Reborn Delays Due To Licensing Issues". TechRaptor. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- McWhertor, Michael. "Shaq Fu sequel finally coming out this spring". Polygon. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- "Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Gets Official Release Date". ShackNews. April 5, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2018.