The company behind the Java platform, Sun Microsystems, has announced plans to focus on the networked gaming sector - with the launch of a new Game Technologies Group within the company, headed up by Chris Melissinos as Chieft Gaming Officer.
Sun plans to promote both the Java platform and its Solaris operating system as core technologies for networked gaming, and is pushing the concept of games that can be played across a wide variety of different devices seamlessly.
The Game Technologies Group is expected to develop a range of new game-focused technologies based on Java. Sun knows a thing or two about rolling out industrial-strength online infrastructures, and believes that this expertise can be applied in the game development environment.
Java is certainly an interesting prospect for game developers working on networked titles. The platform has achieved fairly wide acceptance, and there are millions of Java-enabled PCs out there - and perhaps more importantly, the penetration of Java into the mobile phone and PDA markets continues to grow. You won't be seeing graphically intensive console or PC games written in Java any time soon, but the possibility of writing seamlessly cross-platform network code in Java is one that's worthy of consideration for many types of game.
Admittedly, in true American press release style, Sun doesn't quite acknowledge this fact, preferring to suggest that Java is going to change the way gaming works forever and make us explode all over our pants, or something. "Java technology is igniting an adrenaline rush in gaming," enthused Sun's executive VP for software, Jonathan Schwartz - who went on to point out that the platform is "offering developers the promise of ultra-high performance, truly cross platform gaming with massive market opportunity, and offering end users access to the coolest new games on a tidal wave of new devices."
The head of the newly founded Game Technologies Group, however, is a little more realistic in his statement - no igniting of adrenaline rushes or swamping people in tidal waves here, no sir. "As the online video game market expands, so do the hurdles and complexities of building online services," pointed out Melissinos. "Sun is in a unique position as we've been developing massively connected environments for years, and we plan to use that knowledge to further the capabilities of the gaming community."