International Business Machine’s new video game server blends a mainframe computer with the company’s Cell microprocessors. The result is a server system capable of permitting hundreds of thousands of computer users to interact in a three-dimensional, simulated on-screen world described as a “metaverse.”
The machines will be priced beginning at hundreds of thousands dollars.
Uh, does anyone really think the future of online worlds is in Big Iron?
If anything, it’s on Big Iron now, with dedicated grids and clusters with rigid architectures and seamless environments. We tested UO on 8-way Suns; Shadowbane ran on one of those big Apple server boxen for a while. The future trend is away from Big Iron, just as it is from Big Media and Big Development. The killer app here is worlds that run on part of one box, alongside Apache — not worlds that require dedicated huge expensive hardware.
The article goes on to say:
There are already massively multiplayer games that support hundreds of thousands of simultaneous players, but the IBM system will add an unparalleled level of realism to visual interactions, Meyerson said.
He argued that in addition to gaming applications, this kind of technology could be used to enhance the performance and scaleability of existing virtual worlds like Second Life, an Internet-based service that crosses the boundary between online entertainment and workplace collaboration.
Servers add realism to visual interactions?
Is “realism” what people want anyway?