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  Is java falling behind in game development?  (Read 16138 times)
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Offline jfelrod1960

Junior Devvie




Use the source Luke, use the source!!!


« Posted 2005-07-26 18:23:30 »

In reading about the new deals Sony has made with game middleware companies with their advanced technology, I wonder.  Is Java falling behind in the game development market?

http://gameinfowire.com/news.asp?nid=6707
http://gameinfowire.com/news.asp?nid=6710
http://gameinfowire.com/news.asp?nid=6708
http://www.gamespot.com/news/2005/07/22/news_6129611.html?part=rss&tag=gs_news&subj=6129611

SN Systems
Epic Games
AGEIA Technologies
Havok

With game consoles evolving into supercomputers and with super advance technologies, Java will most likely never enter into the game console industry.  If game consoles become computer entertainment consoles as Sony hopes then the PC game market will eventually drop as I supsect will happen with the new XBox 360 and Playstation 3.  A drop in the PC game market means no use for Java in game development.

Would like to get everyone's two cents on this ...

Jeff



Jeffrey F. Elrod
Complexsive Systems
Offline Alan_W

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2005-07-26 20:17:54 »

In the "good old days" each software house developed its tools in house.  However development for the PS3 & Xbox360 will be much more expensive than for the 2nd Gen consoles, so to contain costs, many software houses are buying in toolsets.  This means a toolset will be used on many more games, spreading it's development cost more thinly.  This is the cause of the middleware proliferation.

To create a state-of-the-art PS3 or XB360 game requires making maximum use of the proprietary hardware.  Thus a top PS3 or XB360 game will never be truely portable, but will need to be at least partially recoded to suit each hardware architecture.   So IMHO write-once run everywhere isn't really an option, making java less essential as a console development language.

Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline erikd

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« Reply #2 - Posted 2005-07-26 20:50:20 »

It all depends on the market you're targetting. I suspect there will always be more PC's than consoles and almost every PC has at least one game on it. I even suspect that much more time is spend behind the PC (work, chatting, games etc) than a console.

If you consider the number of machines being used for work and the time spent on them, I feel fun games made for a quick break will always have a huge market potential.
Especially if you consider that for those kind of games a platform independent, internet delivered solution with minimum set-up hassle (webstart, applets) would be big bonuses, I'd say java is still a winner. And, this is a market accessible by us indies.

If you want to want to make top-class AAA titles for all major gaming platforms, java is not the way to go unless *maybe* if java becomes available on the leading gaming consoles. But this is a market which is quite out of reach for indies anyway (I guess that even if java would be available on consoles, small indie games would still be mostly played on PC's)

But this is all based on assumptions made by someone without a clue when it comes to marketing  Smiley

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Offline zero

Junior Devvie





« Reply #3 - Posted 2005-07-26 20:52:22 »

At said it ionce and I'll say it again:
Java Games should focus on PC Games first, as soon as this market is conquored the console aren't far away anymore.

my two cents Wink



btw. I've played puzzle pirates last day and I'm really impressed, a top desktop game. On the other hand the monthly fee is to high compared to others like WoW. Of course the game client is free and the costs running the servers probably are equal but I'm used to spend money on those fancy 3d gfx.  Undecided
Offline tom
« Reply #4 - Posted 2005-07-26 21:04:00 »

There is no point in running java on consoles, so it will never happen.

There will always by some java games on home computers, but will never be widely used.

Java already rules the mobile market.

Offline Orangy Tang

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Monkey for a head


« Reply #5 - Posted 2005-07-26 23:04:53 »

In reading about the new deals Sony has made with game middleware companies with their advanced technology, I wonder.  Is Java falling behind in the game development market?

Java has never had any presence on consoles. Java still doesn't have any presence on consoles. How can you fall further behind when you have nothing to begin with?

The situation hasn't changed. No matter what the media hype the next gen isn't some vast evolutionary leap, it's just another incremental step.

[ TriangularPixels.com - Play Growth Spurt, Rescue Squad and Snowman Village ] [ Rebirth - game resource library ]
Offline jfelrod1960

Junior Devvie




Use the source Luke, use the source!!!


« Reply #6 - Posted 2005-07-26 23:16:49 »

Java has never had any presence on consoles. Java still doesn't have any presence on consoles. How can you fall further behind when you have nothing to begin with?

I guess my point is that there are a lot of game developers, and wanabe game developers, like myself Smiley, using java to develop games.  I think most of the game developers here would like to see the opportunity to have their games played on a gaming console like the PS3 or the XB360.  But with the gaming industry growing with new hardware and new software, more and more game players are going to go to the consoles.  And like you stated earlier Java has never had a presence in the game consoles.  So if the gamers migrate more into consoles and less into PCs and with Java games only being developed for the PC, then fewer gamers will be playing on PCs which means that few java games will be played.

Jeffrey F. Elrod
Complexsive Systems
Offline swpalmer

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Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #7 - Posted 2005-07-27 01:10:27 »

With game consoles evolving into supercomputers and with super advance technologies, Java will most likely never enter into the game console industry.  If game consoles become computer entertainment consoles as Sony hopes then the PC game market will eventually drop as I supsect will happen with the new XBox 360 and Playstation 3.  A drop in the PC game market means no use for Java in game development.

Would like to get everyone's two cents on this ...

Well those fancy computers need a power language to help simplify the programming.  Java is a decent language with direct support for multi-threading and massive libraries ready with implementations of all sorts of useful stuff.  So there can be a place for Java.   Also, most games these days have an online component and the servers are running on machines that could likely benefit from Java tech.  It seems that is where Sun is concentrating their efforts, though everything the game tech group does seems to be top secret because they certainly don't tell us about it.  Other than partying at some trade shows who knows what they are up to?  :-)   (<- said with a smilie, but I still miss the weekly updates :-) )

Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #8 - Posted 2005-07-27 01:13:42 »

One, there's no evidence that gamers are abandoning the PC to my knowledge.  There are quite a few categories of games that are still under-represented on concoles.  (MMOLGs, Role Play games.  Flight Sims just t name a few of my personal favorites.)

There are still some fundemental differences between the console and the PC experience.  One of these is screen bandwidth. That may change here in the US IF HD-TV ever becomes the dominant home format but it hasn't yet and doesn't look like its going to any time soon.  ANother is input devices.  So far AFAIK all attempt to bring PC type controls (eg Keyboards) to consoles have pretty much failed.  Its just plain hard to use a keyboard while sitting on the couch.  

But to a degree this is all a red-herring and besides the point.  Three is nothing keeping Java from the consoles. In fact, the more compelx the consoles become in terms of multi=processing the better and better a fit Java is to them.

The only issue is, who is going to pay to put a VM there? So far thats an issue that has not resolved.  Note however that PS3 will be blue-ray compatable and the blue-ray spec requires a VM...




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Offline princec

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« Reply #9 - Posted 2005-07-27 09:36:53 »

We don't care who pays for it. It's just that if you want to see Java games on a console you're going to have to put a VM on it first Smiley

There's no question of gamers abandoning the PC - the issue is the console market is massive and better targeted. A friend of mine who developed Mutant Storm for the PC and Mac has just recently got the game onto XBox Live and it's doing exceedingly well there after "mediocre" sales on the desktop. I'd love to get my games onto XBox Live but I am totally unable to because of what might be considered a naive choice of technology.

In all honesty I expected at least the next-gen PS to have  proper JVM in it and maybe even OpenGL but the world appears to have gone mad.

As for indies, well, they're your up-and-coming studio developers, but they're still making a very big point of staying the hell away from Java because a) they'll never get work b) they'll never get onto a console and c) who needs Java when C#/DirectX is a far better prospect for XBox?

Someone in that Sun business development dept. needs to extract a finger. In fact... I thought this is what Chris' job was meant to be about...?

Cas Smiley

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Offline kevglass

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2005-07-27 09:44:12 »

On a slightly related note, did anyone ever try GLDirect:

http://www.scitechsoft.com/products/ent/gld_home.php

Java + OpenGL +  JET (or other compiling solution Wink) + GLDirect = XBox compatibility?

Kev


Offline princec

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« Reply #11 - Posted 2005-07-27 10:14:12 »

I've had a go with it but not in the last 6 months. The OpenGL ICD driver they provided a while back was, shall we say, a little flaky. What interests me more about the Scitech stuff is that they have also got a statically linkable library of the GL driver which would be more ideal for XBox+Jet.

Having said that - I wonder if it's possible to get a normal Sun JVM running on Xbox? It's basically "Windows" after all isn't it?

Cas Smiley

Offline kevglass

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2005-07-27 10:30:05 »

I suspect it'd be fine to run the JVM (unless of course MS has blocked any processes name java or javaw Smiley). Its just the visuals that would worry me. Although, I suppose a Java2D game using the DirectX pipeline should work.

It'd be nice to get hold of a dev kit (if thats what you need for XBox development) and spend a couple of days playing about. I'm sure it *could* work.

Incidently, GLDirect seems to have been updated fairly substantially in the past 6 months. Might be time for a second round.

Kev

Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #13 - Posted 2005-07-27 11:36:02 »

In the "good old days" each software house developed its tools in house.  However development for the PS3 & Xbox360 will be much more expensive than for the 2nd Gen consoles, so to contain costs, many software houses are buying in toolsets.  This means a toolset will be used on many more games, spreading it's development cost more thinly.  This is the cause of the middleware proliferation.

Not really. What's actually happened is more like:
 - middleware was crap
 - there were much bigger problems inside games studios than the quality of the tools
 - ...and much much bigger ones than the cost of the tools
Then:
 - Sony, MS, et al made headway in solving the other problems
 - Criterion finally got a 3D engine right: cross-platform, and "not absolutely awful" (Renderware could not have been described as a great 3D enigne, but at one point it finally ceased to be rubbish)
 - CPU's got fast enough to spare the cycles for physics engines, and Havok tuned theirs up to be good enough for most studios to be able to use
 - Marketing execs and non-technical Producers started to get all excited about "Unreal" and "Physics"

Ultimately, Criterion's x-platform was the biggest thing that pushed middleware forwards. Studios couldn't give a monkey's about the cost of PS3 tools: what they really care about is being able to write a game once and publish it on PS2 *and* XBox *and* PC *and* GC: that immediately doubles your sales compared to just selling on PS2 (or much more if you were targetting one of the others initially).

Your "good old days" are still "today": nearly everyone has in-house tools teams that do a lot of work and runs a lot of proprietary code and tools. But now the middelware market has matured enough, and got enough money to be able to produce good product, its much easier for studios to accept the risks inherent in middleware.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2005-07-27 11:39:16 »

There is no point in running java on consoles, so it will never happen.

Except that it's easier and faster to develop in, and easier to run x-platform? What most studios would like is if all next-gen consoles used:
 - the same graphics cards (out of a choice of two: one NV card and one ATI card, both running the same version of OGL)
 - the same processor architecture
 - the same OS
 - the same libraries
 - the same programming languages

Cos then your cost required to double your sales by selling on more platforms is almost 0. Net result? You make more than twice as much profit.

Java on consoles (modulo fixing the handful of major problems that make java unusable as a platform for games dev, which we've all been telling Sun for the last 5 years, repeatedly) would go a significant distance to getting what studios really want. Give em what they want, and they'll love it to death. Or, carry on with the status quo, and they'll refuse to touch it with a bargepole. Games studios are really very simple creatures Wink.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #15 - Posted 2005-07-27 11:45:22 »

The only issue is, who is going to pay to put a VM there?

Sun sits on a cash pile of $6 billion and could vastly increase it's java-based revenues (direct and indirect - i.e. including the money from reputation and association with java) by getting java "the choice for games development".

A few hit games on PS3 and world + dog would flock to java, increasing the *DIRECT* revenues Sun gets from java (training, cerfification, etc), quite aside from the indirects. A lot of people are influenced by the vociferous games-development crowd (people like id and Unreal).

Is the problem just that no-one who knows how to make a business case in Sun and who ALSO has access to the figures they need to demonstrate the value, has been before the board and pitched it?

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline princec

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« Reply #16 - Posted 2005-07-27 12:00:39 »

It does not matter that there is currently no-one with a clue about how to take Java forward in the gaming space in a position to carve out a market.

What does matter is that the executive has not seen the reason to appoint someone who does have a clue.

You could practically copy Micrsoft's textbook operation on bringing the DirectX to market. And then to XBox.

Hell what do I know. Why is no board member of Sun appointed to deal with this critical failure to jump into this market? If I were a shareholder - and I'm not, because I've still got no faith in Sun to deliver - I'd demand answers at the next AGM.

Cas Smiley

Offline tom
« Reply #17 - Posted 2005-07-27 12:25:14 »

There is no point in running java on consoles, so it will never happen.

Except that it's easier and faster to develop in, and easier to run x-platform? What most studios would like is if all next-gen consoles used:
 - the same graphics cards (out of a choice of two: one NV card and one ATI card, both running the same version of OGL)
 - the same processor architecture
 - the same OS
 - the same libraries
 - the same programming languages

Cos then your cost required to double your sales by selling on more platforms is almost 0. Net result? You make more than twice as much profit.

Java on consoles (modulo fixing the handful of major problems that make java unusable as a platform for games dev, which we've all been telling Sun for the last 5 years, repeatedly) would go a significant distance to getting what studios really want. Give em what they want, and they'll love it to death. Or, carry on with the status quo, and they'll refuse to touch it with a bargepole. Games studios are really very simple creatures Wink.

I don't think Java is the solution. It's more likely that they will use a cross platform game engine instead. All in all, giving the programmers a comfy language is not high on their priority list.

Offline princec

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« Reply #18 - Posted 2005-07-27 13:05:47 »

It's pretty high on my list, as the man in charge of IT development here. I want tools that stop programmers wasting their time on problems that machines have solved already. Programming time is very expensive.

Cas Smiley

Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #19 - Posted 2005-07-27 13:33:50 »

There is no point in running java on consoles, so it will never happen.

Except that it's easier and faster to develop in, and easier to run x-platform? What most studios would like is if all next-gen consoles used:
...
Java on consoles ... would go a significant distance to getting what studios really want. Give em what they want, and they'll love it to death. Or, carry on with the status quo, and they'll refuse to touch it with a bargepole. Games studios are really very simple creatures Wink.

I don't think Java is the solution. It's more likely that they will use a cross platform game engine instead. All in all, giving the programmers a comfy language is not high on their priority list.

Not *the* solution, but certainly *a* solution, and a good one (if fixed as necessary). There aren't many contenders in this space of alternatives, and if you note that no-one wants a MS-owned platform anywhere for any reason (I'm looking at this console-centric), then the contenders drop right down to a very narrow choice AFAICS: keep extending C++ in time-wasting manners, or just adopt Java.

It's pretty high on my list, as the man in charge of IT development here. I want tools that stop programmers wasting their time on problems that machines have solved already. Programming time is very expensive.

Ditto.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline ChrisM

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Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #20 - Posted 2005-07-27 15:02:25 »

It does not matter that there is currently no-one with a clue about how to take Java forward in the gaming space in a position to carve out a market.

What does matter is that the executive has not seen the reason to appoint someone who does have a clue.

Ahem....I would wager that I have a clue.  As does Jeff and Doug.  If only the world was that cut and dry Cas.

Quote
You could practically copy Micrsoft's textbook operation on bringing the DirectX to market. And then to XBox.

Hell what do I know. Why is no board member of Sun appointed to deal with this critical failure to jump into this market? If I were a shareholder - and I'm not, because I've still got no faith in Sun to deliver - I'd demand answers at the next AGM.


Who says none of this has been pitched over and over again? Tell me, how many billions of dollars have been dedicated to DirectX and XBox?  How would you expect to extract revenue from Java in the games market?  I mean, to be fair, when the subject of being charged to deploy a profiled Java distribution has been brought up, no one wants to pay for it. How many billions would you expect to extract from the games industry from Java game development technical support and education?  Stack rank the revenue derived from Java for games vs. system development, RFID, military and financial markets, education, retail, telecommunications and cable, ISP/ASP and automotive.  Where to strike first? It is not a question of Sun believing that the games industry is important, but rather, balancing that against other markets that are important, and where Sun has a deep presence, as well.

All of the "solutions" that I have heard from the community have been delivered from a single point of view, from the person that has given it to solve their particular problem.  It is easy to find the solution to other's problems when you are not responsible for delivering it.  Smiley

I am open to all suggestions here.  But please, do not insult those of us who have been trying to bring Sun, and Java technology,  into this space.

And BTW, the DirectX comparison is not entirely apples to apples.  Microsoft already owned the install base that required DirectX.  And, since DX is just for Windows platforms, are you suggesting that Java in the console space should be for one platform as well?

-Chris

Offline K.I.L.E.R

Senior Devvie




Java games rock!


« Reply #21 - Posted 2005-07-27 15:23:41 »

Since JOGL, JOAL and JInput are quite mature why doesn't Sun quickly take the extra steps needed to standardise those APIs, introduce them in the JRE and add some helper classes that bring those 3 APIs together?

Wouldn't this be the first step to progressing Java into game development?

Vorax:
Is there a name for a "redneck" programmer?

Jeff:
Unemployed. Wink
Offline ChrisM

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Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #22 - Posted 2005-07-27 15:29:20 »

While they are mature, there is still work to do to make them "commercial ready".  As well, there needs to be toolkit integration, TCKs built and verification tests done.  Tack on to that ongoing support and development and now you are talking about non-trivial costs.  Not to say that we are not driving towards these goals, but it has been much slower than I would have ever expected.

-Chris

Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #23 - Posted 2005-07-27 15:30:16 »

Who says none of this has been pitched over and over again? Tell me, how many billions of dollars have been dedicated to DirectX and XBox?  How would you expect to extract revenue from Java in the games market?

I know that you have had several offers of business plans showing you exactly how to do that, but weren't interested (unless everyone's been lying to me). I agree that a lot of hot air is blown about by people who don't know much (if any) of the bigger picture, but AFAICS the ball is VERY much in your court there - there are plenty of people around who could help, but you don't tap them.

Anyone who needs to spend even $100 million to get java + games sorted is in cloud cuckoo land. That's not the way to do this kind of thing, and to sound off about how many "billions" it costs is merely to make specious arguments that quickly fall down under any sensible analysis. MS spends billions because it has billions *going to waste in a bank account*. They do that because it's the easiest way to get what they want: if they only had millions, they'd achieve similar ends but at greater difficulty and greater cost cutting elsewhere.

Quote
I mean, to be fair, when the subject of being charged to deploy a profiled Java distribution has been brought up, no one wants to pay for it.

If you were serious about this, you'd actually show people your estimates of what it would cost, and invite comment. The cry "it's really hard! (but I won't show you why)" is one usually used by people who don't *have* a concrete argument to back it up.

I don't mean to be offensive, but you and Jeff each have an apalling record of saying "I have figures I can share" and then spending years (literally in at least one case, IIRC 2 years ago first promised, still not divulged) failing to give them to any of many people you've promised them to.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #24 - Posted 2005-07-27 15:32:50 »

Wouldn't this be the first step to progressing Java into game development?

Not really. Doing that doesn't solve the problems that *professional*, non-indie, games devleopers have w.r.t. java!

there needs to be toolkit integration, TCKs built and verification tests done.

...which many people forget or simply are unaware of how time-consuming these activities are Sad.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline kevglass

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« Reply #25 - Posted 2005-07-27 15:35:11 »

Ok, not being typically british (read: not cynical) personally I don't doubt there are efforts going on that we can't see in the Sun world towards pushing Java into the gaming spot light.

However:

1) Where is Java going in the games arena?
2) Are games companies interested in the technology?
3) Have the GTG seen a shift in the industry? (Its hard to see from the hobbiest view)
4) Are there any initiatives that you can talk about to help encourage the community?

I think most of this sort of information is meant to be coming out through the Java Gaming java.net site and the Community Board. However, both seemed to have dried up almost completely (I suppose because other things are taking a higher priority).. is there anything we can do to get these initiatives restarted?

Kev

Offline jfelrod1960

Junior Devvie




Use the source Luke, use the source!!!


« Reply #26 - Posted 2005-07-27 15:45:23 »

1) Where is Java going in the games arena?
2) Are games companies interested in the technology?
3) Have the GTG seen a shift in the industry? (Its hard to see from the hobbiest view)
4) Are there any initiatives that you can talk about to help encourage the community?

This is where I was going when I started this thread.  I like to know myself!!!!

Jeffrey F. Elrod
Complexsive Systems
Offline ChrisM

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Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #27 - Posted 2005-07-27 16:01:58 »


I know that you have had several offers of business plans showing you exactly how to do that, but weren't interested (unless everyone's been lying to me). I agree that a lot of hot air is blown about by people who don't know much (if any) of the bigger picture, but AFAICS the ball is VERY much in your court there - there are plenty of people around who could help, but you don't tap them.

Just because I have not tapped you or Cas does not mean that we have not used external help. We have tapped people in the industry to help us.  The business plan is not the main issue.

Quote
Anyone who needs to spend even $100 million to get java + games sorted is in cloud cuckoo land. That's not the way to do this kind of thing, and to sound off about how many "billions" it costs is merely to make specious arguments that quickly fall down under any sensible analysis. MS spends billions because it has billions *going to waste in a bank account*. They do that because it's the easiest way to get what they want: if they only had millions, they'd achieve similar ends but at greater difficulty and greater cost cutting elsewhere.

I don't believe I ever stated that it would take $100M to get Java and games sorted out. 

Quote
I mean, to be fair, when the subject of being charged to deploy a profiled Java distribution has been brought up, no one wants to pay for it.

If you were serious about this, you'd actually show people your estimates of what it would cost, and invite comment. The cry "it's really hard! (but I won't show you why)" is one usually used by people who don't *have* a concrete argument to back it up.

I don't mean to be offensive, but you and Jeff each have an apalling record of saying "I have figures I can share" and then spending years (literally in at least one case, IIRC 2 years ago first promised, still not divulged) failing to give them to any of many people you've promised them to.

I'm not offended, I just tell you what I can and can not share.  I have recommended that if someone wants to get the cost they should contact the Java licensing group. A quick and dirty estimate, without doing due dillegance, would be over $145K per profile per platform.  You would have to contact the Java group at Sun to confirm this.  WRT to sharing information that is promised, I would also suggest that you don't throw stones...

-Chris

Offline princec

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« Reply #28 - Posted 2005-07-27 16:07:37 »

ChrisM - sorry if that came across as insulting; I wasn't actually referring to you, as I know full well what your position is and how you're basically hobbled by the powers that be. I know what you'd do if you were allowed to but someone in the upper echelons isn't allowing it to happen in a timely fashion and I fear that there aren't any irons in the fire.

We're also all completely aware that you are totally unable to actually give us any useful information about anything in the pipeline on these forums for legal reasons and so the whole thread is completely one-sided and useless idle speculation Sad In fact reading back on it it just looks like Sun bashing which is not so good.

Cas Smiley


Offline Bombadil

Senior Devvie





« Reply #29 - Posted 2005-07-27 16:09:53 »

Note however that PS3 will be blue-ray compatable and the blue-ray spec requires a VM...

So if the PS3's going to have a Java VM included because of that blue-ray spec (*), doesn't this answer some of the questions?
Of course it depends on what the JVM looks like exactly. Allegedly (mentioned in the other thread) it means some kind of "Personal Basis Profile" based JVM, so no full blown J2SE 1.5 but still ...


(*) Also being discussed in the blue ray thread here...
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