IBM still has big plans for Cell processor

IDG's wire service recently carried an interview with IBMer Jai Menon, CTO of Big Blue's Systems and Technology Group, in which he outlines plans for its Cell processor, which is at the heart of Sony's PS3.

Menon says iBM is working with both Sony and Nintendo to develop technologies for future gaming consoles. Both Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's XBox 360 use IBM chips but only The PS3 is based on the Cell architecture.

But with its chips in all three major consoles, its a win-win-win situation for Big Blue and hardly one it will give up in a hurry

"We want to stay in the business, we intend to stay in the business," Menon said. He was keen to point at the versatility of the Cell which uses a multi-core architecture based around IBM's Power processor.

Menon said the Cell should be viewed as a part of the Power roadmap, keen to stress its potential in areas beyond gaming. "But certainly, we're working with all of the game folks to provide our capabilities into those next-generation machines," he said.

What these future-generation consoles will look like remains a closely-guarded secret, of course, and Menon provided few real clues other than to insist that IBM retains a finger in all the pies.

He did suggest that the cloud will play a role in future console development. These days consoles are designed to connect to the Internet in a way players of the earliest gaming machines could have barely imagined

"Some of this consumer stuff is also a cloud play. There are giant servers out there that provide some of the gaming capability. Some of that will come through cloud-based offerings as well," he said.