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IBM Plays the Right Role for Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming Market


IBM System x and BladeCenter Servers Win Over Gaming Companies With Power, Scalability and Database Support

AUSTIN, TX.-Massive multiplayer online gaming (MMOG) companies CCP Games, Cheyenne Mountain, Codemasters and Icarus Studios have chosen IBM (NYSE: IBM) servers to power their rapidly growing online games.
By leveraging BladeCenter and System x servers powered by IBM’s X-Architecture, they’ve been able to grow to accommodate millions of players with high computing performance and reliability, while keeping costs and power requirements down.

As the creator of the Cell microprocessor which powers Sony Playstation 3, Xbox and Nintendo consoles, IBM is no stranger to gaming technology. Now IBM server technology is helping to power the growing worldwide online game market, which is forecasted to grow from $3.4 billion in 2005 to over $13 billion in 2011, according to a June 2007 report from DFC Intelligence.

New MMOG companies leveraging IBM BladeCenter and System x systems announced today, include:

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment: The Mesa, Arizona-based company deployed IBM’s System x3800 servers to provide enough computing power and memory to develop, test and support its first massive multiplayer online role-playing game that will be built around “Stargate.”

“We were pleased with the breadth of expertise and experience IBM brought to help us build our MMOG solution,” said Joe Ybarra, senior vice president of Strategic Operations, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment. “We selected IBM servers that offered the best combination of uptime, performance and expandability to meet the needs of Stargate Worlds.”

CCP Games: Since the Iceland-based company’s “EVE Online” launched in 2003, its subscriber base increased to more than 200,000 players in only four years. CCP Games has deployed a cluster of more than 420 CPU cores housed in IBM System x and BladeCenter servers to power the company’s online game system that will help it scale for rapid growth. The supercomputing cluster is one of the fastest in gaming history, managing more than 150 million database transactions daily.

“Our System x and BladeCenter cluster gave us the scalability to grow to hundreds of thousands of players,” said Sigtryggur Sigurdsson, IT director, CCP Games. “Our goal was to implement a scalable solution that can gracefully manage the steadily increasing demand put on our infrastructure. With IBM we continue to improve game performance and increased capacity even during peak server usage.”

Codemasters: The England-based company deployed IBM BladeCenter systems to improve network latency and provide a robust hosting platform for titles such as “The Lord of the Rings Online” and “RF Online.” For example, RF Online connects gamers 6,000 miles apart across two continents through its hosting infrastructure remotely-managed from Boston.

“With IBM BladeCenter, we’ve been able to develop a scalable and highly flexible hosting infrastructure that opens the door to a whole new market connecting players thousands of miles apart with high game performance and satisfaction,” said David Solari, vice president and general manager, Codemasters Online Gaming.

Icarus Studios: Icarus Studios’ licensee Fallen Earth, a massive multiplayer online role-playing game set on a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 2154, will run on IBM BladeCenter, IBM System x and IBM System Storage. The artists, programmers, and writers at Cary, North Carolina-based Fallen Earth are building the world and crafting the stories that will unfold in their new title, currently in development. The game will be on display at the Austin Game Developer’s Conference in booth 216.

“Icarus and Fallen Earth are relying on IBM systems along with technology from several IBM Business Partners including Aria Systems, Vivox, and OGSI for the development of Fallen Earth,” said Jim Hettinger, CEO, Icarus Studios. “IBM brings deep gaming industry knowledge and an understanding of our business model. IBM also brought in the right business partners to provide stability and reduce risk around scale, support and management of the critical launch of a new MMOG like Fallen Earth.”


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