The thing we are unclear on is “shards”. Shards is a term from the world of MMOG’s. These games are replicated in numerous servers and players are divided among them. BUT… players in shard-A on server #1 cannot see or interact with players in shard-B on server #2. This greatly reduces the update data that has to be sent. In some cases chat has a global feature that reaches across all shards/servers enabling you to find friends whatever shard they are in. But, getting together often requires a relog.
Will the Lab go with shards as we know them now or go with a scaling tech that will allow a thousand plus people in a single virtual area? That is unclear from what we know now. But, we do know that as more avatars enter an area the data needed to keep them all updated on what every avatar is doing increases exponentially.
Think about it. If avatar # and #2 have a stream from one to the other updating each other on what they are doing that is 2 channels. Add a third and that measn #1 and #2 have to update #3 and #2 update #1 & #2, so that is now 4 channels. When #4 enters each has 8 channels so this channel count can be described as the number avatars squared = N2.
So, there are known physical, technical limits. We just have no idea on how the Lab is going to handle them. Shards, to limit how many per server have to be kept updated or… server scaling to handle the data load?
Links to pages below…