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Game server maker expands to Taiwan

Zona, which provides software and services for running online games, signs a deal with Taiwan's biggest game service.

Zona, which provides software and services for running online games, announced that it has signed a deal with Taiwan's biggest game service.

The company will provide its Terrazona server software to Gamania Digital Entertainment, said Monte Singman, CEO of Redwood City, Calif.-based Zona. Gamania runs the Taiwan version of Lineage, the popular multiplayer online game, under a partnership with game developer NCsoft. Approximately 4 percent of the population of South Korea plays the game, according to various estimates, although the U.S. version has yet to attract a significant audience.

Terrazona makes more efficient use of server resources, Singman said, allowing more players to log in on a single server and providing support for "failover clustering," in which one server can instantly take over for another in case of equipment failure.

Singman said Zona is working closely with Gamania and other companies in Asia, where online gaming has taken off much more quickly than in other parts of the world, to prepare for an expected boom in the United States.

"We're learning a lot from user behaviors here and the operators' experience," he said. "A lot of the game operators there are very sophisticated."

Although online games such as Sony's "EverQuest" have attracted hundreds of thousands of paying subscribers, analysts say the phenomenon won't really catch on until mass-market games based on "The Sims" and "Star Wars" appear late this year.