Friday, September 01, 2006

What's the fuss over COMET

A friend of mine, who works at a gaming firm, and I were chatting about the recent buzzwords that we have been hearing about on the web.

I was describing COMET and how it differs from the behavior of the web as we know it today. As I was mentioning how COMET keeps a persistent connection between the browser and the server, he raised the fact that it's the case too for Massive Online Multi-Player games where the game client needs to keep a persistent connection with the game server to communicate game status, statistics and other game information.

This got me to think. COMET is not a new concept and yet there are many who think that the next "Holy Grail" of the web, the next killer web app is one that actually uses it and uses it well.

Then, it dawned on me. It's not the technology per se that has everybody hyped but rather where it is implemented.

It's all about the "universal client". The one software that you find pre-installed on any operating system on this planet. The one client that every computer user has access to and knows how to use. The Web Browser.

To play a game of Ragnarok, you need to download a client in the 5 to 10 MB range. You need to install it on your computer and configure it before you can use it. It's no surprise why gaming firms spend a lot in marketing. This marketing effort even includes giving away free CD's in promotions and tie ups.

Imagine if an MMORPG can someday run comfortably on a web browser using COMET. It will make the games ever more accessible to many more people at much less cost to gaming firms than ever before.

Maybe that day is not too far off.