While I’ve published a few post here about 64-bit computing and its benefits for Server Based Computing, it’s fun to consider some of its additional potential benefits. For example, I recently ran across a report that “Blizzard apparently used signed integers for their World of Warcraft gold values as some people have recently hit the limit of 2^31″ (via Slashdot). When developing 32-bit applications 2^31 (for signed integers) and 2^32 (for unsigned integers) are natural limits. If WoW had been developed as a 64-bit application users would have been able to amass much more gold: 2^63 and 2^64 respectively.
Note: I’ve never played WoW so I don’t know if you can be in debt, i.e. have negative wealth. If not then Blizzard could have postponed the problem by using unsigned numbers. OTOH some programming languages, such as. Java, natively support only signed integers. This makes the processing of unsigned integers more difficult when developing in these languages.