Torc – Watch This Space – 2

Torc Interactive, based in Muff, Co. Donegal are currently hoping to release their new games engine towards the end of September.

Since January of last year things have really changed for Torc Interactive. They have grown from 8 to 14 full time people and they are working hard on a much anticipated new games engine which they hope to release towards the end of September. A demo of the games engine is expected sometime in July.

They have also just relaunched their website, see www.torcinteractive.com/

Gamedevelopers.ie have been promised screenshots and the inside story so watch this space over the summer!

New Centre For Computer Games Research – 2

The IT university of Denmark is located in Copenhagen and since its establishment in 1999 it has carved a unique role for itself through the creation of interdisciplinary departments, including its Department of Digital Aesthetics and Communication.

In Spring 2003 the university has brought together many well know academics from Scandinavia and Spain to form the ‘Centre for Computer Games Research.’

More info: http://game.itu.dk/itu_about.htmlgame.itu.dk/itu_about.html

Torc – Watch This Space

Torc Interactive, based in Muff, Co. Donegal are currently hoping to release their new games engine towards the end of September.

Since January of last year things have really changed for Torc Interactive. They have grown from 8 to 14 full time people and they are working hard on a much anticipated new games engine which they hope to release towards the end of September. A demo of the games engine is expected sometime in July.

They have also just relaunched their website, see www.torcinteractive.com/

Gamedevelopers.ie have been promised screenshots and the inside story so watch this space over the summer!

New Centre For Computer Games Research

The IT university of Denmark is located in Copenhagen and since its establishment in 1999 it has carved a unique role for itself through the creation of interdisciplinary departments, including its Department of Digital Aesthetics and Communication.

In Spring 2003 the university has brought together many well know academics from Scandinavia and Spain to form the ‘Centre for Computer Games Research.’

More info: http://game.itu.dk/itu_about.htmlgame.itu.dk/itu_about.html

Performance Engineering In Computer System

Time: 08.30 – 10.30 on Thursday 16th October 2003
Place: Rooms 6 & 7, Enterprise Ireland, Merrion Hall, Strand Rd., Sandymount, Dublin 4
Speaker: Dr Liam Murphy and Dr John Murphy, Department of Computer Science UCD and School of Electronic Engineering DCU

Performance Engineering in Computer Systems and Networks

The fourth in a series of breakfast events organised by Enterprise Ireland.

One elusive goal of software over the last 30 years has been reusability. There is now a real opportunity to achieve true software reusability through a marketplace for components. The optimum performance of component based middleware systems is an aspect of research being carried out in UCD and DCU, to enable developers of component based systems to optimise various design, deployment and runtime characteristics of their systems. The aim of this particular research is to prove that it is possible to develop a technology and vendor independent solution for performance optimisation in component based systems.

Registration:
htm/informatics/htm/informatics/

Havok In The Matrix Reloaded – 2

The Technology Section of the Sunday Business Post last weekend was graced with a large picture from the soon to be released film, Matrix Reloaded and the title ‘Matrix Boost for Dublin Software Maker.’

The Dublin software maker is Havok who seem to be unstoppable these days; not only are they in every game you care to mention but their software is now being used in films.

According to the SBP article Havok’s software is ‘used to give extra realism to fight scenes and other stunts’ in the forthcoming Matrix sequel which will be released on May the 23rd in Ireland.

When it comes to games Havok 2 is being used by the developers of the following forthcoming games: Half-Life 2, Max Payne 2, Deus Ex 2 and Thief 2, amongst others.

One wonders will they all be waiting for the development of Havok 3 before they release their third sequels? Keep up the good work…

Film In Focus

Film in Focus – Directions for Finance and Growth

Location: Radisson Hotel, Galway.

Register and more info:
http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/contentforum/main.asphttp://www.enterprise-ireland.com/contentforum/main.asp

Television In Focus

Location: Merrion Hall, Dublin.

EI and IBEC present a forum on television dealing with the following four themes:
· Television Sector – Independent or Dependent
· Rationalisation of TV Production
· Internationalising the Irish Industry
· Digital and Interactive TV

Speakers include:
Peter Coyle of EI,
John CuUmmins of Agtel,
Cathal Goan – Mananging Director of TV, RTE,
Irial Mac Murchu – producer of sport for TG4
Mary Shallman, Morrison & Foerster LLP, New York,
Joan Egan, Tyrone Productions.

To register: http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/contentforum/main.asphttp://www.enterprise-ireland.com/contentforum/main.asp

Digital Technologies In Focus

Digital Technologies in Focus
Emerging Opportunities and Content Convergence

Location: Media Lab Europe, Dublin.

Organised by Enterprise Ireland and IBEC’s Audiovidual Federation

More info:
http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/contentforum/main.asphttp://www.enterprise-ireland.com/contentforum/main.asp

From Brain Signals To Shoeprints

Time: 08.30 – 10.30 on Thursday 11 December 2003
Place: Rooms 6 & 7, Enterprise Ireland, Merrion Hall, Strand Rd., Sandymount, Dublin 4
Speaker: Dr Richard Reilly, Department of Electronic Engineering UCD

From Brain Signals to Shoeprints: applying audio, video and biomedical signal processing for opportunities in digital media and m-commerce

The final event in a series organised by Enterprise Ireland.

Multimodal interfaces represent an emerging interdisciplinary research direction, involving spoken language understanding, natural language understanding, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition and experimental psychology. Research into multimodal interfaces aims at efficient, convenient and natural interaction between computers and human users.

This talk will overview what is multimodal interaction is about? Why is it important and what are the issues facing its development? Examples of the use of multimodal interaction in health monitoring and diagnosis, speech recognition and the area of biometrics will be covered.

Dr Richard Reilly is currently Guest Editor of the EURASIP Journal of Applied Signal Processing, responsible for multimedia human computer interfaces and Assistant Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Multimedia also responsible for Multimodal signal processing.

Registration:
htm/informatics/htm/informatics/

Quality Assurance For Interactive Animatio

Time: 08.30 – 10.30 on Thursday 20th November 2003
Place: Rooms 1 & 2, Enterprise Ireland, Merrion Hall, Strand Rd., Sandymount, Dublin 4
Speaker: Dr Carol O’Sullivan, Department of Computer Science Trinity College Dublin

Quality Assurance for Interactive Animation

The fifth in a series of breakfast events organised by Enterprise Ireland.

The Image Synthesis Group (ISG) was established in 1993 to pursue research in all aspects of Computer Graphics and Visual Computing. Headed up by Dr Carol O’Sullivan the group currently have 16 full-time researchers and have been extremely successful in securing research funding for projects since the group was founded, with particular areas of speciality being graphics and perception real-time computer animation, photo-realistic rendering and parallel graphics. Former members of the group have founded the Irish gaming software company havok.com. For further information: http://isg.cs.tcd.ie/http://isg.cs.tcd.ie/

Registration: htm/informatics/htm/informatics/

Securing Digital Media

Time: 08.30 – 10.30 on Thursday 11th September 2003
Place: Conference Theatre, Enterprise Ireland, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Speaker: Dr Guénolé Silvestre and Dr Neil Hurley, Department of Computer Science UCD

Securing Digital Media

The third event in a series of breakfast meetings organised by Enterprise Ireland and which will give academics a space to present their research findings to industry representatives.

With the recent success of the Internet and the widespread availability of low-cost digital consumer equipments, digital watermarking for multimedia documents has been the focus of attention of a number of people in search for solutions to copyright infringements. However, the scope of application for digital watermarking is much wider and also includes applications such as indexing, labelling or covert communications.

The Information Hiding Laboratory is a research group led by Dr Neil Hurley and Dr Guénolé Silvestre at University College Dublin. For more information http://www.ihl.ucd.iehttp://www.ihl.ucd.ie.

Registration:
htm/informatics/htm/informatics/

Smart Spatial Computing At Ucd

Time: 08.30 – 10.30 on Thursday 19th June 2003
Place: Rooms 6 & 7, Enterprise Ireland, Merrion Hall, Strand Rd., Sandymount, Dublin 4
Speaker: Dr. Michela Bertolotto and Dr. David Wilson, Smart Media Institute and Department of Computer Science, UCD

Smart Spatial Computing at UCD

The second is a series of breakfast events organised by Enterprise Ireland which provide a space for academics to present their research findings to industry representatives.

Two major issues facing organisations in the modern information age are the problem of information overload dealing with the fast-increasing amount and availability of potentially task-relevant information and the problem of spatial information modelling how to exploit spatially enabled information in an efficient and effective manner.

Research in the Smart Spatial Computing group at UCD is addressing these issues with a novel integration of techniques drawn from Information Retrieval, Artificial Intelligence, Database Systems, and Spatial Data Handling. The MaGIK project provides a plug-in component framework that allows for sketch-based retrieval of geo-spatial imagery (e.g., satellite and aerial photographs) and for capturing and managing task-based knowledge related to the use of such imagery for corporate knowledge management. The CoMPASS project provides an architecture for spatial services, including location-based personalized map services, spatial annotation and pro-active information search, and optimised delivery of map and other spatial information to mobile devices. This meeting will provide an overview of work in smart spatial computing at UCD, along with briefs on related research projects in the areas of mobile computing, bioinformatics, recommender systems, web-based GIS.

Register at
htm/informatics/htm/informatics/

The Ieee 802.11 Wireless Lan Standards:

Time: 08.30 – 10.30 on Thursday 15th May 2003
Place: Rooms 6 & 7, Enterprise Ireland, Merrion Hall, Strand Rd., Sandymount, Dublin 4
Speaker: Dr Mark Davis Department of Communications Engineering, DIT Kevin Street

The IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Standards:
Untangling the Spaghetti Soup!

The first is a series of breakfast events organised by Enterprise Ireland which provide a space for academics to present their research findings to industry representatives.

The IEEE 802.11 family of wireless LAN (WLAN) standards is by far the most popular and widely deployed WLAN technology today. Since the original IEEE 802.11 standard was first published in June 1997, there have been quite a number of extensions to the standard. However, somewhat confusingly all of these extensions have been designated by a letter of the alphabet, for example 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g etc. This presentation will attempt to untangle the "spaghetti soup" of IEEE 802.11 WLAN standards and will give an overview of the emerging trends, applications and the status of the WLAN industry.

Register online at htm/informatics/htm/informatics/

Edinburgh International Games Fest.

Edinburgh international games festival – The future of entertainment

17th and 18th August 2003

The oldest and largest cultural festival in the world is held in Edinburgh during the month of August and this year it will be the setting for the first ever festival celebrating computer and video games, alongside Theatre, TV, Books, and Cinema.

According to the info on the ELSPA website the festival aims to help the industry ‘to celebrate its evolution and creativity and it will provide a platform for the sharing of ideas, amongst developers, publishers and all parts of the industry and the public, feeding off the buzz and excitement this extraordinary event generates.

A key focus of inaugural 2 day event planned for August 17th -18th 2003 will be the interface between games and other media, in particular Film, TV and Music.

Planned sessions will also look at how the virtual reality world of games impact in the real lives of those who are featured in those games. No media is free from controversy and the festival will feature debates on the social and educational dimensions of games.

There will be a world view keynote address delivered by an iconic figure within the industry, There will be master classes from successful Creative Directors, and a series of ‘screenings’ will feature game play in some of the most acclaimed games.’

This Steering group behind the festival elected Tom Stone, Head of LEGO Interactive as its first Chair. It is proposed that the chair of the festival is elected by the steering committee every year. The Steering group is being supported by both the developer’s, and publisher’s trade bodies, Tiga and ELSPA, who will be responsible for its planning and implementation. If you are interested in finding out more about the EIGF please contact one of the following:

Tom Stone tel: 01753 495000 mailto:tom.stone@lego.com tom.stone@lego.com
Fred Hasson tel: 07788 563723 mailto:fred@tiga.org.ukfred@tiga.org.uk
Tamsin Aspinall tel: 07734 292521 mailto: tamsin.aspinall@elspa.com tamsin.aspinall@elspa.com

further info also www.elspa.com

Wireless Showcase

Location: The Grosvenor Suite, The Berkeley Court Hotel, Lansdowne
Rd., Dublin 4
Time: 6.30pm

Irish wireless companies will speak about key aspects of their
businesses and will outline their top objectives and challenges for the
coming year.

Showcase companies:

Alatto – John Whelan, Managing Director
Am-Beo – John Brady, CEO
Digiweb – Colm Piercy, Managing Director
HomeNet Communications – Frank Roche, Managing Director
Interfusion – Derek Daly, Managing Director
Orbo Technologies – Cormac Kelly, Director
Redkite – Lee Travers, Managing Director

Registration will be at the venue at 6pm and the event will commence at
6.30pm.

Admission: Euro 20
Food will be served after the event.

Havok In The Matrix Reloaded

The Technology Section of the Sunday Business Post last weekend was graced with a large picture from the soon to be released film, Matrix Reloaded and the title ‘Matrix Boost for Dublin Software Maker.’

The Dublin software maker is Havok who seem to be unstoppable these days; not only are they in every game you care to mention but their software is now being used in films.

According to the SBP article Havok’s software is ‘used to give extra realism to fight scenes and other stunts’ in the forthcoming Matrix sequel which will be released on May the 23rd in Ireland.

When it comes to games Havok 2 is being used by the developers of the following forthcoming games: Half-Life 2, Max Payne 2, Deus Ex 2 and Thief 2, amongst others.

One wonders will they all be waiting for the development of Havok 3 before they release their third sequels? Keep up the good work…

Challenges For Ireland’S Mobile Sector

Event: Association for Licensed Telecom Operators in Ireland (ALTO) half day conference on Challenges facing Ireland’s Mobile Sector.

When: 19th May

Location: The Conrad Hotel, Dublin.

Speakers:

John Doherty, Commissioner with ComReg,
Paul McSweeney, Chairman of the Telecommunications Users Group,
Joe Steel, Commercial Director, Virgin Mobile,
Stewart Sherriff, CEO, Meteor,
Roger Wilson, Managing Director of the European Competitive Telecommunications Association. Minister Dermot Ahern will deliver the closing address at the conference.

Cost: €150 which includes breakfast.

More info: newsfull.asp?ID=25www.alto.ie/newsfull.asp?ID=25

First Tues – Ireland & Competitiveness

Event: FirstTuesday/Investnet will be hosting an evening to discuss Ireland Inc. – Are we losing our competitiveness?

Location: The Burlington Hotel, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4.

Time: Registration 6-6.30pm

Speakers:
Joe Macri, General Manager – Microsoft Ireland
Dan O’Brien, Senior Editor – Economist Intelligence Unit
Joe Browne, General Manager – Xerox
Denis Molumby, Manager International services / Software – IDA Ireland
Brendan Butler, Director – IBEC and ICT Ireland

Chairperson: Greag Purcell – Investnet

Admission: Euro 15

More info: events/eventsa.htmlwww.firsttuesday.ie/events/eventsa.html

Intro To The World Of Digital Games

On the 23rd of May 2003 New Media Production and Development (NMPD.TV) and Eirplay Games will host a one day workshop on digital games in the Docklands Innovation Park.

The workshop is aimed at people working in PR, Marketing, Advertising, Production and Creative Development and who would like to explore how to incorporate games into their creative productions in order to win audience loyalty.

The morning session will be hosted by interactive writer and Creative Director of NMPD.TV Patrick Carpenter who will focus on the creative process behind the storytelling, with a particular slant on how art and technology can be combined to create competitive advantage.

The afternoon session will be facilitated by Peter Lynch, founder or Eirplay Games and game developer. Peter will focus on the practical application of games as a marketing tool.

Full event costs €275 per attendee which includes the workshop, lunch, refreshments and parking. Discounts are available if more than one person attends from a single company.

Further info and bookings contact Lorraine at 01-480 0533.

Event location: Docklands Innovation Park, 128 Eastwall Road (right behind the point depot – see map on contact page at http://www.nmpd.tv

www.nmpd.tv)

Developments In Online Gaming

It’s been a while in the making, but broadband seems to have finally made it to the digital hub of Europe for residential users and small companies. This opens up an array of opportunities for the consumer market as both Eircom and Esat BT hope that DSL will take off quickly. There has been a recent advertising push for consumer broadband, with Eircom’s residential iStream currently available, and Esat BT’s broadband home service launching through Ireland Online in the middle of May. It’s about time too, as Ireland may now have the chance to reclaim its position as a digital hub, a farcical statement to date given that most Irish people connecting to the net do so at under full-speed through under-performing dial-up connections.

Dreamcast’s brief appearance opened up the market for online gaming with Sega’s own Phantasy Star Online back in early 2001. This showed that even though it only allowed users to connect via standard connections, that an online console game can sell, and it did by the bucketload, as did Sega’s other online offering, Chu Chu Rocket. Since then things have grown up. The Xbox has a broadband adapter built in to support Xbox Live! This service is now available across much of Europe, with an Irish launch due in Winter 2002 given sufficient take-up of broadband in Ireland. The Playstation 2 also has room in its expansion bay for a hard drive/broadband modem but no details of the service being launched in Ireland were available at time of writing. Given recent developments in Japan, Gamecube also may be in there too, with high hopes from Nintendo that it can compete with the big boys as its own service launches in 2004, spearheaded by an updated Phantasy Star Online.

While Ireland is behind the times by about half a year in terms of broadband provision, this does allow some time for companies to consider future opportunities. One potential revenue generating services is to facilitate online gaming. Online gaming has taken off hugely among PC gamers, with first person strategy titles and MMORPG games leading the way with some subscription services boasting hundreds of thousands of users. The popularity of subscription titles such as the Electronic Arts Ultima Online series, as well as Sony’s hugely popular Everquest show that this subscription model can work for companies who get it right.

However, for every successful online subscription service, there are dozens of ventures that either don’t make it to the light of day or just fail miserably. Balancing the mix of variables is always going to be difficult, and one title that comes to mind is Planaterion. Back in 2000 the game boasted tens of thousands of users by offering them a real time empire building game. The fan base grew for the game, which, simple as it was, became as addictive as any Championship Manager (Sports Interactive) game could ever be. Their main stumbling block came when they decided well into the gameplay to start charging users to continue their game, and a combination of short-notice, an awkward payment plan for users and an inability to process those payments turned a lot of people off. They eventually got their act together offering payment services across many European countries as well as online credit card services, but their user base had dramatically fallen. Instead of having a steady income flow they have lost users to the level of hugely investing in a service that has failed to grow outside of its dedicated hardcore fanbase.

In the Irish market though, Kapooki games are currently working on Lorgaine: The Black Standard. This 3D strategy title is set in a fantasy Erin, allowing you choose one of two Celtic races and battle for domination of our green isle. Mixing combat, trading systems and resource management, the game looks impressive and is set for a 2004 release. It will also be largely online, and according to Michael Griffin (CEO) they hope to launch a subscription service. We hope to provide more information on the title as development progresses.

The value of the online gaming in Europe alone is expected to pass €1 billion by 2006 according to a BBC report this year. Microsoft’s only flaw in relation to their service is that consumers will require a credit card to access the service, which may rule out many younger consumers. However, as consumers become more and more accustomed to using and paying for services over the net, the opportunities for broadband content and services, especially games, grow. Looking forward there are plenty of ways for companies to get involved in this. For Eircom to get broadband up and running in Ireland, it needs to bring consumers on board who are willing to pay the high costs of installation and running a broadband service. However, companies may be able to get involved in the creation of Irish broadband gaming services that may in time become revenue generators. Esat BT through Ireland Online are also launching a service to compete with Eircom’s iStream service. On the face of it, it looks like it gives more value for money, at €5 a month cheaper, a cheaper installation fee and they provide the DSL modem, while Eircom insist that you either buy your own or pay an inflated amount for one of their modems.

Another often-overlooked source of income in relation to online gaming comes from mobile services. Now that mobiles are coming into their own with the picture phones and future 3G services, gaming will surely follow. People are perfectly willing to pay for and download games onto their phones. It whittles away boring time commuting in the morning and evening. Everyone has played Snake, but what about if they could play snake head to head against a completely anonymous user somewhere else in Ireland? Vodaphone are also currently running an advertising campaign for their WAP services which allows consumers to download ringtones and games via their WAP service.

3G phones will allow this to go even further, as their high speed connections, advanced technology and features may potentially allow you to play everything you could play on your PC on your way to work. In the UK, mobile technology firm Masabi has made a version of id Software’s classic shooter Doom for the Nokia 7650 handset. 3G potentially allows you to go further with this. Imagine being able to sit down on the bus and deathmatch over Unreal Tournament on your phone. Or on your way home to battle in a real time strategy game. The development of titles such as these is surely in the pipeline, and there is nothing to say that Irish companies cannot get involved ahead of the bandwagon and give people a reason to take up new technologies such as 3G and broadband. You never know, we might become that digital hub thing that we were so hyped up to be once again.

Author Bio: Jamie McCormick is the former editor of the Irish Games website IrishPlayer.com, as well as a freelance writer for a number of magazines and sites around the country. He is currently studying Marketing in Dublin Institute of Technology.

Developments In Online Gaming – 2

It’s been a while in the making, but broadband seems to have finally made it to the digital hub of Europe for residential users and small companies. This opens up an array of opportunities for the consumer market as both Eircom and Esat BT hope that DSL will take off quickly. There has been a recent advertising push for consumer broadband, with Eircom’s residential iStream currently available, and Esat BT’s broadband home service launching through Ireland Online in the middle of May. It’s about time too, as Ireland may now have the chance to reclaim its position as a digital hub, a farcical statement to date given that most Irish people connecting to the net do so at under full-speed through under-performing dial-up connections.

Dreamcast’s brief appearance opened up the market for online gaming with Sega’s own Phantasy Star Online back in early 2001. This showed that even though it only allowed users to connect via standard connections, that an online console game can sell, and it did by the bucketload, as did Sega’s other online offering, Chu Chu Rocket. Since then things have grown up. The Xbox has a broadband adapter built in to support Xbox Live! This service is now available across much of Europe, with an Irish launch due in Winter 2002 given sufficient take-up of broadband in Ireland. The Playstation 2 also has room in its expansion bay for a hard drive/broadband modem but no details of the service being launched in Ireland were available at time of writing. Given recent developments in Japan, Gamecube also may be in there too, with high hopes from Nintendo that it can compete with the big boys as its own service launches in 2004, spearheaded by an updated Phantasy Star Online.

While Ireland is behind the times by about half a year in terms of broadband provision, this does allow some time for companies to consider future opportunities. One potential revenue generating services is to facilitate online gaming. Online gaming has taken off hugely among PC gamers, with first person strategy titles and MMORPG games leading the way with some subscription services boasting hundreds of thousands of users. The popularity of subscription titles such as the Electronic Arts Ultima Online series, as well as Sony’s hugely popular Everquest show that this subscription model can work for companies who get it right.

However, for every successful online subscription service, there are dozens of ventures that either don’t make it to the light of day or just fail miserably. Balancing the mix of variables is always going to be difficult, and one title that comes to mind is Planaterion. Back in 2000 the game boasted tens of thousands of users by offering them a real time empire building game. The fan base grew for the game, which, simple as it was, became as addictive as any Championship Manager (Sports Interactive) game could ever be. Their main stumbling block came when they decided well into the gameplay to start charging users to continue their game, and a combination of short-notice, an awkward payment plan for users and an inability to process those payments turned a lot of people off. They eventually got their act together offering payment services across many European countries as well as online credit card services, but their user base had dramatically fallen. Instead of having a steady income flow they have lost users to the level of hugely investing in a service that has failed to grow outside of its dedicated hardcore fanbase.

In the Irish market though, Kapooki games are currently working on Lorgaine: The Black Standard. This 3D strategy title is set in a fantasy Erin, allowing you choose one of two Celtic races and battle for domination of our green isle. Mixing combat, trading systems and resource management, the game looks impressive and is set for a 2004 release. It will also be largely online, and according to Michael Griffin (CEO) they hope to launch a subscription service. We hope to provide more information on the title as development progresses.

The value of the online gaming in Europe alone is expected to pass €1 billion by 2006 according to a BBC report this year. Microsoft’s only flaw in relation to their service is that consumers will require a credit card to access the service, which may rule out many younger consumers. However, as consumers become more and more accustomed to using and paying for services over the net, the opportunities for broadband content and services, especially games, grow. Looking forward there are plenty of ways for companies to get involved in this. For Eircom to get broadband up and running in Ireland, it needs to bring consumers on board who are willing to pay the high costs of installation and running a broadband service. However, companies may be able to get involved in the creation of Irish broadband gaming services that may in time become revenue generators. Esat BT through Ireland Online are also launching a service to compete with Eircom’s iStream service. On the face of it, it looks like it gives more value for money, at €5 a month cheaper, a cheaper installation fee and they provide the DSL modem, while Eircom insist that you either buy your own or pay an inflated amount for one of their modems.

Another often-overlooked source of income in relation to online gaming comes from mobile services. Now that mobiles are coming into their own with the picture phones and future 3G services, gaming will surely follow. People are perfectly willing to pay for and download games onto their phones. It whittles away boring time commuting in the morning and evening. Everyone has played Snake, but what about if they could play snake head to head against a completely anonymous user somewhere else in Ireland? Vodaphone are also currently running an advertising campaign for their WAP services which allows consumers to download ringtones and games via their WAP service.

3G phones will allow this to go even further, as their high speed connections, advanced technology and features may potentially allow you to play everything you could play on your PC on your way to work. In the UK, mobile technology firm Masabi has made a version of id Software’s classic shooter Doom for the Nokia 7650 handset. 3G potentially allows you to go further with this. Imagine being able to sit down on the bus and deathmatch over Unreal Tournament on your phone. Or on your way home to battle in a real time strategy game. The development of titles such as these is surely in the pipeline, and there is nothing to say that Irish companies cannot get involved ahead of the bandwagon and give people a reason to take up new technologies such as 3G and broadband. You never know, we might become that digital hub thing that we were so hyped up to be once again.

Author Bio: Jamie McCormick is the former editor of the Irish Games website IrishPlayer.com, as well as a freelance writer for a number of magazines and sites around the country. He is currently studying Marketing in Dublin Institute of Technology.