IBM announced today that they're going to integrate the "Cell" processor used in Sony's Playstation 3 gaming console into IBM mainframe computers. The Cell is very well adapted for performing the calculations needed to generate 3 dimensional images, and IBM wants to keep up with technology that any multiplayer virtual world application takes for granted now.
"As online environments increasingly incorporate aspects of virtual reality -- including 3D graphics and lifelike, real-time interaction among many simultaneous users -- companies of all types will need a computing platform that can handle a broad spectrum of demanding performance and security requirements," said Jim Stallings, general manager, IBM System z. "To serve this market, the Cell/B.E. processor is the perfect complement to the mainframe, the only server designed to handle millions of simultaneous users."
The project is a partnership with Hoplon Infotainment, a Brazilian online game company. I'm sure IBM could have found a company in Toledo, Ohio or somewhere, but the beaches are nicer in Rio de Janeiro in January during those grueling cross-company PowerPoint presentations they no doubt have planned. Pass the virtual tanning butter.