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Will World of Warcraft drive ISP IPv6 adoption?

Whether IT networking boffins like it or not, one of the biggest drivers toward IPv6 adoption may turn out to be Blizzard's massively online multiplayer monolith, World of Warcraft (WoW).

Read more on IPv6 transition in Australia

The latest update to the all-consuming role playing game, Patch 4.10, includes the option for players to "Enable IPv6 when available".

It's a small, but not inconsequential inclusion, especially when one considers that the game has in the order of 12 million subscribers, and that the likes of the Internet Society of Australia (ISOC-AU) is placing heavy emphasis on content providers leading the way to wider IPv6 adoption and transition.

"We're asking that the content and service providers open their 'front doors' to IPv6," ISOC-AU vice president, Narelle Clark, told Computerworld Australia ahead of World IPv6 Day on 9 June.

Along with major internet service providers (ISPs) major content providers: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Akamai have also signed up for the IPv6 test-run day.

In the meantime between the mass migration to the new protocol Blizzard is also enabling WoW players to access faster game speeds via a new option to "Optimize network for speed".

The measure, Blizzard says, will be enabled by default under the new patch, and will send packets more frequently at the cost of higher bandwidth.

"The higher bandwidth may lead to disconnects for some players who have limited bandwidth," the company's patch notes warn. "Players getting disconnected frequently should try unchecking this box."

Not only will IPv6 present the potential for better performing networks, it'll also include Quality of Service (QoS) and security measures ensuring better game play.

So if demand from world's legion of WoW players isn't enough to convince ISPs to hurry up and get on the IPv6 bandwagon, don't be surprised if you see subscribers rage-quitting en-mass some time soon.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @Tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU


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