Sony, Nintendo choose Akamai

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

If you're a gamer, a company you may never heard of — but probably already have a connection to — could soon become a lot more important to you.

Earlier today, a couple of announcements from Akamai Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. crossed my desk, stating the firm's Japanese arm has signed a deal with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and another with Nintendo Co. Ltd. to distribute content for their gaming networks.

The news came as no surprise since Akamai says it handles as much as 20 per cent of all Web traffic thanks to its 20,000 servers distributed in networks throughout 71 countries around the world. That capability prompts companies, governments and every branch of the U.S. military to pay Akamai big bucks to help smooth the flow of their data over the internet and avoid the digital equivalent of logjams.

Jeff Young, an Akamai spokesman, told me the company does not disclose contract details as a matter of policy, so no specifics about the scope and value of the agreements with Sony or Nintendo are forthcoming.

But he did say the networking company is ready to carry whatever traffic comes its way as PlayStation 3 owners start using the PlayStation Network and Nintendo starts streaming out content to Wii consoles while they sleep.

Akamai has previously disclosed — perhaps obviously — that it gets paid based on the amount of network traffic it handles. In 2005 it had $283.1 million US in revenues.

Knowing how much gamers love to go online, it's a safe bet that figure is set to jump dramatically.