PowerPlay (technology)

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For other uses, see Power play.
PowerPlay logo

PowerPlay was a technological initiative headed by Valve Software and Cisco Systems to decrease the latency for online computer games. Gabe Newell, the managing director of Valve Software, announced the project in January 2000 and after 12 months the project was quietly abandoned.

PowerPlay was described as a set of protocols and deployment standards at the router level to improve performance. It was claimed that a player with 1000 ms ping was able to play against another player on a LAN connection with no noticeable disadvantage.[1] Initially the protocol was to be released with PowerPlay 1.0 focusing on Quality of Service (QoS) and later a revision, PowerPlay 2.0 that would focus on functionality. Cisco and Valve intended to deliver a single dial-up service in Q1 2000 in the United States with a 30-day free trial with a bundled copy of Team Fortress modified to support PowerPlay.[2] Despite never deploying the dial-up plan featuring PowerPlay 1.0, Valve announced in January 2001 that the standard had indeed been finalized.[1]

The standard was to involve purchasing PowerPlay approved Cisco hardware and infrastructure that had adequate bandwidth and QoS standards that prioritise PowerPlay gaming packets at the expense of all others. Gabe Newell conceded that Internet service providers (ISPs) would bear the brunt of this expense:[3]

Company endorsement[edit]

At the time PowerPlay was proposed, many video game developers were eager to support the technology:[4]

Lead programmer of id Software John Carmack was hesitant in endorsing the technology made public via a post made to Slashdot shortly after PowerPlay was announced:[5]

Fantasy Football[edit]

Later in the decade, Powerplay became the name of a prominent fantasy football league among Valve employees.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "PowerPlay and interview". Planetfortress. 2000. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Voodoo Extreme". Archived from the original on 2000-08-17. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  3. ^ "PowerPlay Preview". EuroGamer. 2000-01-19. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  4. ^ "PowerPlay". Archived from the original on 2000-05-10. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  5. ^ "The 25 Dumbest Moments in Gaming - Gamespy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 

External links[edit]