I've broken this out as a separate FAQ/info topic because its distinct from the technical stuff in the base FAQ.What is sun's goal with Project Darkstar?
Our goal is a revolution in online game development that leads to a much broader selection of content and thus a much larger served market.
Today, according to leading industry Gurus, implementing the server side of a AAA MMO project costs a minimum of $20 million dollars. (cf Jessica Mulligan: http://www.gamasutra.com/e32006/news.php?story=9248
) This limits massively multi-player game development to people with deep pockets and limits the amount of risk those developers are willing to take. The result is a market of a bunch of "me too" nearly identical product and a playing field littered with the corpses of companies that didn't even get that far.
The goal of Project Darkstar is to drastically change those economics making it possible for small players to get into the game as well as lowering the risks for large ones. This, we believe, will result in a vastly expanded and far more vibrant market.What sort of business models are supported by Project Darkstar?
We see3 fundamental business models for developers using Project Darkstar, depending on their size, interests and appetite for risk:
Whats in it for Sun?
- The small/low risk developer
This sort of developer we see following the following development model:
1. Prove code correctness and test multiplayer up to approximately 50 simultaneous users online on the SDK server deployed to an available Wintel box.
2. Take the application to a Darkstar hosting provider to run your beta test. We are encouraging a model where the hosting provider provides this service free as an investment in the future of the product and are "putting our money where our mouth is" with the Sun Darkstar Playground. The Playground is the worlds first third party hosted Darkstar environment and available free to a limited number of developers at a time.
3. "Throw the switch" and start billing. The hosting provider takes a revenue cut from the fees billed to the users.
- The medium sized/medium risk developer
Like the small developer above but, at some point, after the game has built sufficient momentum, the developer builds out their own machine room and takes over hosting for themselves.
- The big developer
A few, VERY big companies we have talked with want to own their own infrastructure from day one. Those folks build a machine room to start with and do all their "hosting" in house.
Whether self-hosted or hosted by a provider, any serious commercial Darkstar installation will need computer systems to run on as well as professional support for those machines, their operating system, and the Darkstar stack. We believe that, as the originators of and experts on the technology, the majority of those machine room contracts will come back to Sun.