Sun makes play for games market

Sun Microsystems hopes to open new frontiers for its Java technology by spinning off a division dedicated to pushing the programming language into computer and video games.

The company plans to announce Wednesday, in advance of its JavaOne conference, the formation of Game Technologies Group, which will focus on providing technology to run games--particularly online titles. Chris Melissinos, Sun's chief ambassador to the gaming community for several years, will lead the department under the new title of chief gaming officer.

The primary task of the group will be to promote Java, Sun's programming language for writing software that can run in multiple environments, as the best choice for creating games, said John Fowler, Sun's chief technology officer for software.

"There's a tremendous move to adapt games for an online environment," Fowler said. "With Java technologies being multi-platform, it's a natural place to develop for the network."

Java has already caught on as the dominant format for making games for mobile phones, but the language has yet to be widely used for PC-based games.

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