Online gaming is a significant Internet market, and for many organizations around the globe, a revenue-generating business that continues to grow exponentially. With over 2.5 billion video gamers around the world, this industry is expected to be worth over 90 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. For game developers having infrastructure that can host their service while providing gamers with a superior experience is vital to their success. As their player base is effectively their revenue engine, gaming service providers need to ensure their infrastructure can scale and that there is very low latency from their service to every gamer’s device.
CDNs and Online Gaming – Better Speed and Performance
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a platform that is well-suited to provide developers the infrastructure and scalability they need for their online gaming services. In the world of Massive Multi-Player Online (MMO) games, lag times are a severe threat to the success of any platform. As players need rapid response times to win, they need their gaming experience to provide them with the best possible speed and performance.
As an online game effectively services a global playing audience, a CDN offers low latency by ensuring every player connects to the closest server in proximity to their physical location. As the CDN distributes the gaming content to its global network of service nodes, they can reduce ping times while increasing the gaming experience for players wherever they may be situated.
The Benefits of Leveraging a CDN for Online Gaming
Leveraging a CDN when deploying and maintaining an online gaming service offers developers a wide variety of commercial and technical benefits. As the CDN places gaming code as close to the user as possible, it improves the players experience by utilizing its inherent speed and performance advantages.
Downloads and Service Packs
In the past, players installed their favorite games by purchasing a CD or DVD and installing the software on their local gaming device. However, modern games use the Internet to deliver this software and typically involves downloading a large quantity of data from the developer’s service. A CDN vastly improves the download times for modern gaming engines as it places the content as close to the user as possible. As the user is effectively downloading the software from a local resource instead of a server situated in another part of the country or across the globe, the user can start playing the game much sooner. This benefit also allows the developer to begin earning revenue sooner and mitigates the risk of new users abandoning a service because the download takes too long.
In addition to ensuring the user’s first experience is a positive one, CDNs also give developers the added benefit of being able to deploy updates to their games on a regular and seamless basis. As the user does not need to deal with a long download and update process, developers can release and distribute features much sooner, retaining player loyalty.
Remove Infrastructure Complexity and Inefficiency
In addition to reducing lag times and improving the end user experience, a CDN also aids the online gaming provider by taking the guesswork out of infrastructure configuration and placement. Gaming platforms typically require a significant amount of computing and networking resources. Architecting these platforms can also be complicated as there are numerous unknowns when launching an online gaming service. For example, how many concurrent users will the platform need to service, and where are the players located? Trying to build an infrastructure that deals with these unknowns can be costly.
As online gamers are demanding and expect superior platform performance, developers need to build infrastructure that can service their needs during times of peak demand. Not only is this expensive, but it is also inefficient as during periods of low demand, expensive infrastructure runs idle and underutilized. Deploying a CDN resolves these issues. Not only does it result in the online gaming provider not needing to procure, install, and maintain redundant infrastructure, but it also allows seamless scalability as the gaming service is available on CDN servers across the globe simultaneously.
Enhanced Resiliency and Security
Online gaming providers need to ensure that their platform offers players a superior user experience. Not only do they need to ensure they have the appropriate technologies in place that provide the performance players demand, but they also need to take the proper steps to secure their service. High-availability is a vital requirement for online gaming. The commercial reality of providing such a platform is that any downtime equates to revenue loss and unhappy customers. Threats such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can result in substantial losses for online gaming providers. If the platform is unable to provide players with a service, it cannot generate income and can result in the erosion of the user base.
A CDN can help mitigate the devastating effects of a DDoS attack on a gaming service. Due to the distributed nature of a CDN’s architecture and their access to superior bandwidth, these platforms are better equipped to fend off an Internet-based attack. In addition to the DDoS mitigation benefit a CDN offers, it can also help build resiliency into a gaming platforms service. As a CDN distributes and replicates the gaming content to numerous nodes across its global network, should one part of the service lose availability for any reason, the other points of presence provide the critical redundancy needed.
A CDN Provides an Indispensable Service for Online Gaming
Online gaming is a lucrative market for many entertainment platform developers. The ability to distribute a product via the Internet to a global market while offering an immersive experience can provide a continuous revenue generating stream. However, players are a demanding market demographic, and platform providers need to ensure they offer their customers the speed and performance they demand.
A CDN should be an indispensable component in any online gaming infrastructure. Not only does this global platform provide players with the best possible performance experience, but it also helps developers save on infrastructure costs. In addition to these benefits, a CDN also offers other commercial and technical advantages. It gives platform providers the ability to distribute their software efficiently, helping them grow their market share, and takes the complexity out of managing a large-scale infrastructure. A CDN also offers increased security and resiliency, two components that are vital when providing an online service that needs high-availability. All these factors make a CDN an essential piece of any online gaming solution.