Chips Falling Into Place

If there’s one thing I find irritating about the new high-quality videogames it’s the slow load-up. Even with the newest hard drives and RAM, gamers still have to wait while all that information – the stuff that makes these virtual worlds increasingly realistic – gets loaded into memory. If there is to be a “Metaverse”, that alternate virtual reality described by Neal Stephenson in his book “Snow Crash”, it needs to be immediate; consumers won’t wait for it. And now they may not have to. Yahoo News yesterday posted this article on Dutch giant Philips Electronics’ development of a new memory technology using Antimony/Tellurium that’s cheap, fast, and doesn’t forget. If truly practical it could signal the end of both Flash and DRAM. It may also signal the beginning of new opportunities for cyberspace.
Even so, I expect there will still be “portals” that subdivide this virtual world into regions similar to how it’s done in most cases today. After all, gamers and consumers won’t be satisfied until everything looks/sounds/behaves like the real world (which actually kind of defeats some of the advantages of a virtual world). This of course means more and more content of increasingly higher quality, so somewhere a lot of information is going to need to be stored. Once upon a time holographic data storage sounded like the solution to these kinds of problems. But now New Scientist reports that IBM’s Zurich lab has developed a new high-density data storage chip called “Millipede”. Right now it’s a technology that went to the CeBIT prom alone so we’re left to wonder who will turn up as their dance partner for the next show.