More on peer to peer. Recall that what’s cool about peer to peer is that it allows a publisher to reach a bizillion consumers while only expending a few units of bandwidth. He shifts the distribution costs onto the consumers. It makes for a wonderful example of the classic standards problem – “If everybody would just…”
One aspect of this that I’ve been playing with is how the publisher might frame the game to encourage the swarm to collaborate. The BitTorrent technique of this kind is to fragement the content and scatter it into the swarm.
At that point the publisher sits back and says “Oh boys, you sort it out.” It’s a variant of 52 card pickup. Coordinating the resulting card game is the trick. In BitTorrent an entity known as the tracker helps along that coordination. There is a lot of design space to search around how to orchestrate the coordination.
At the same time it’s a special class of market making and clearing house design. Part of the cost born by the consumers is the cost of keeping the market liquid. For example can you design the system so it welcomes and forgives poorly behaving swarm members while at the sametime holding onto the generous ones?