The ultimate video game advertising gimmick: Buy our system, help cure cancer.
Normally I'd have posted this quite awhile ago, but this isn't exactly a gamer forum. However, I find it ties into medical technology far too much to leave it alone. And the possibilities are rather astronomical.
Long story short, Sony has teamed up with Stanford University to run Stanford's Folding@home program on the PS3. For those who don't know about the project or the PS3's update allowing it to run; Folding@home is a program using a network of computers to try and decode protein folding and misfolding, which can be responsible for diseases ranging from Cancers to Alzheimers and more. Previously the program was running on about 200,000 PC's. The suggestion is that if even 10,000 PS3's are added to the network, the processing power will double. This is not an attempt by me to get you to go out and buy a PS3, this is Sony's attempt.
It does not impact gaming at all. The system only runs the program when the PS3 is left on and connected to the net. I will have to suspect that even now there are a couple of huge supporters who already have four or five PS3's plugged in and doing nothing but running the program.
Now I'm not personally recommending you go out and buy a PS3. In fact, as a hardcore gamer I recommend against it. Wait about a year and not only will the price drop, but the available library of games will be more than tripled. There will also be a great number of software updates and probably even a couple of hardware updates made in that time period.
But if Sony can make the PS3 succeed with even half of the PS2's success, then there is the potential for more than 500,000 PS3's running this program or another with similar potential within a 6 year period. When considering the processing power of the console on it's own, imagining 500,000 of them working in tandem alongside hundreds of thousands of PC's....you've got the most powerful supercomputer ever imagined, let alone designed. This could be one of the next revolutions in gaming. I suspect Microsoft will follow Sony's lead. Nintendo is a bit less likely, but still possible.
If you want to read about the program side of the project(and it's successes), then click here:
Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.