Steorn: A Game or Not A Game, That Is The Question

steornlogo.gifLast Saturday, a small company in Ireland began getting some attention for promising the world free energy. Free! Can you imagine? The social, economic, and political ramifications are huge. Not to mention the scientific ones. For hundreds, thousands, of years people have lived by the law that energy is not free – it takes energy to create energy. Proving that this truth is actually false shakes up countless of theories long accepted as fact. So, who are these brilliant scientists and where is that proof?

Steorn. And they came out of nowhere. This huge, momentous, and guaranteed nobel prize winning discovery, was created by a former e-commerce and security firm that happened to stumble upon the technology while working on something completely unrelated. However, they say, when working on monitoring a new system they discovered that there was a net increase of energy when everything they (and the world) believed told them there should be a net loss. And, instead of tying this groundbreaking technology up in the world of academia, they wanted to make it public and to challenge scientists to prove that their technology works.

It sounds crazy and, whether or not this is true, it is.

It also sounds, based on the activity at Unfiction and the number of tips in our inbox, like the perfect premise for an Alternate Reality Game or a Hoax. Our ARG radar (ARGdar?) has been bouncing back and forth on this one and the debates in chat and on the forums have been great. So, let’s go through what we know.

Last Thursday, August 17, an advertisement for the company’s challenge appeared in The Economist. You can view the a pdf of the ad on their website. It’s a simple ad done in a bright green with white text, most of which is devoted to the George Bernard Shaw quote used frequently throughout their website, “All great truths begin as blasphemies”. It goes on to explain that they have developed the technology to create free energy and that they are seeking a jury of 12 scientists, the most qualified and the most cynical, to test the technology and report the finding to the world.

Of course, several media outlets picked up on this. Though most of the well respected mainstream press ignored the story – perhaps their hoax alerts were ringing just a bit too loudly – a number of websites and smaller outlets reported on it including Team Xbox. Players everywhere began asking why a website covering the popular game console would cover just such a thing. And, could it have anything to do with Halo3 or the Xbox as both have used viral marketing and, after the success of I Love Bees could this be… ILB2 (OMG NO WAI!)?

This caused folks to take a deeper look at the website and logo. The logo, Xbox fans are quick to point out, is a spiral that’s rather reminiscent of their favorite gaming device. The website, hopeful ARGers point out, looks like it was done by creative individuals and not scientists and with the email notification front and center and the polls and the forums making the site far more interactive than a stuffy business site or one that is attempting to be taken seriously in the scientific community.

From there people began to dig into the company and the claim that they were making. A patent was filed several years ago – so clearly, if this is an ARG or a Hoax, it’s been in the works for a long time. The company, itself, is a registered business and has been for years. In the early days it was an e-commerce firm, from there they went into other business solutions, and finally, into security before the website went down for a redesign and remained that way for many months until it reemerged in its present state. And, while the company had owned .com, .net, and .org throughout that time, they had always used .com until this recent revival. A fairly detailed analysis of the company history based on web archives can be found on this UnFiction post.

While there is no aspect of play, no puzzles to solve, and no mystery to work through, it is just so outrageous and slickly produced that people can’t help but hope that it is a game. Surely nobody would go this far for a hoax. And, surely it’s not real. But, the company is real, the people are real, the patent application is real, the phone numbers and addresses are real. Could it be that this is, in fact, real? Could their free energy be in our not-so-distant future? Could the guys behind the company and the independent scientists that have looked at (yet not come out publicly… odd) the technology and claim it works just be missing something?

If you have an idea, join the discussion at UnFiction. You can learn more at the Steorn website and


  1. SteornWatch

    Thanks for the link. Honestly, I didn’t believe for a moment in the beginning this could be an ARG. But your forum users are a convincing lot, uncovering so much information and proposing possible links. Whatever this turns out to be, real, hoax or ARG, it’s a fascinating ride.

  2. Richard Becker

    I have to agree that it seems unlikely to be a ARG, especially given your SteornWatch interview. However, if it is, I’ll stand by our earlier assessment that Steorn’s use of buzz marketing, as effective as it could have been, is a dangerous game of gambling corporate credibility and the stakes are directly proportionate to your ability to deliver. In the end, I’ll think they’ll lose, whatever they may be.

  3. gpjordanf1

    How is anyone to take you more seriously than Steorn, when you get your facts wrong. Steorn were working on effient wind generators when they discovered what they claim to have discovered.True they were working on security devices previously.
    So you’d want to check your own facts before scoffing at other peoples work!!!!!

  4. Brooke

    gpjordanf1: I took my facts on the company history both from the current website and previous versions (available on I provided a link to a post on the unfiction forums that details the company’s history using that same technique. And if by effient wind generators you mean efficient micro generators, then you are correct. They were attempting to increase the power efficiency for a number of cameras monitoring skimmers at ATM machines. Which, I will agree, is not “completely unrelated” to ecommerce and security.

    As for scoffing, I actually hope that they have stumbled upon free energy. There is no scoffing, just trying to help our readers determine if this is or is not a game.

  5. SteornWatch

    Thought your readers might be interested in something submitted to SteornWatch. A STEORN SONG! Seems a bit beyond normal hype that one would expect and a bit out of place. Hilarious none the less.

  6. Lorin Thwaits

    It’s just bunk. But fusion is a promising source of energy:

  7. James Barbour

    You echo my sentiments entirely – regardless of how outlandish it all seems, I hope it’s real.


  8. SirQuady

    No matter wether it is a Hoax, a Game, or real, this is something really interesting!

  9. powerhugh

    Look around their web site and you see in the News section that they have been working with DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology ) in awarding students prizes. They are actually based on the tech centre in Dublin’s fashionable docklands (houses going for millions Euros there now). As a former Dublin resident I know DIT as an old 3rd level institute. It used to be Bolton Street tech. college (& maybe others who joined them). So the firm is legit and not just an Australian call-box or MS logo hoax. There seems to be more meat on this than on the standard claims to extract energy from the vacuum. For this is the claim here – free doesn’t mean ex-nihilo, but from an unknown source. I liked the idea that it might be harnessing fluxes in the vacuum like a windmill harness air fluxes.

  10. Skunk

    Most people equate heat and energy (and in most cases this would be correct). This is essentially the vibration of atoms. The idea of free energy has a simple proof: they know that atoms still contain a MASSIVE amount of potential energy even at ABSOLUTE ZERO which is the condition where all heat energy has been removed from from an atom. The atom should surely stop moving and yet it continues to vibrate endlessly when it shouldnt. This “jitter-motion” as it is likened to be called is apparent in atoms even at absolute zero. This is why helium will remain liquid at temperatures EXTREMELY close (within tenths of a degree) to absolute zero. It is calculated by some that the amount of energy contained in a coffee mug’s volume of vacuum would boil the oceans.

    People should start learning about Nikola Tesla. GO READ. If you dont believe that he was silenced after learning of his life and story you are blind (9 out of 10 people on the street dont know his name and yet he is completely responsible for the modern electrical age). He was silenced by Edison first for supporting AC over DC (tell me now who won the War of the Currents again? oh right, Tesla and AC), JP Morgan and John Rockefeller later for free energy and electrogravitic propulsion. As the story goes (and yes i realize this is a story), he showed Morgan his machine for tapping zero point energy, Morgan said “where can we put the meter”, Tesla looked at him, puzzled, and said “we cant”. Morgan cut his funding not long after.

    The details of his life and the fact that he isnt known by the general public NEARLY as much as a genius of his caliber would deserve, are PROOF that he was the target of a directed silencing campaign… on the part of whom? Standard Oil, Railroads, Real Estate…

    Free energy destroys capitalism. This is good for me and you, but the elite in power can not, and will not let this occur unless theres some kind of monumental power shift in this world. Energy is part of the capitalism equation and if it was free and ubiquitous it would throw off the balance. And besides, it foils the elite’s plans of hydraulic despotism (thats whats going on if you didnt get that yet…)