Five Factors That Make Online Gaming Infrastructure Needs Unique

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Latency is one of the biggest areas of concern for online game companies because of its potential ongoing negative impact on subscriber churn and in-game transaction conversion rates. These issues can be divided into server-side and network-side components. Understanding where a game falls within the latency-sensitivity spectrum is a key component of infrastructure planning.

Infrastructure solutions used to minimize latency include:

Server-side:

  • The use of bare-metal hardware
  • High-speed network options like 10Gbps switching
  • Customized servers with specialty elements like high I/O disks

Network-side:

  • Overriding BGP routing decisions through multi-carrier optimization
  • Using UDP and TCP acceleration techniques
  • Leveraging edge caching for static file delivery, such as game patches

The video game market is estimated to reach $92.5 billion globally by 20141, due, in part, to the velocity of social media and mobile device adoption. As a result, gaming companies are facing complex decisions as they try to build gaming infrastructures that can cost-effectively support this growth while delivering peak performance for players.

The success of an online game depends on a variety of variables, including the target audience and engagement strategy, device platform choice, game play and logic, and monetization and analytics capabilities, to name just a few. However, underlying all of these elements is the IT infrastructure that supports the entire online gaming stack. While a public (or virtualized) cloud may be ideal in some cases, bare-metal cloud servers, managed hosting, private cloud or colocation may be better suited for others. It depends on the type of application, whether it’s a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), mobile, social, or casual game, as well as the use case, such as new game launches, trailer streaming, testing and development, or massive, on-demand scaling.

Online gaming is a progression of technological advances rather than a particular class of games, and it is important to consider these five key factors, identified by Internap, when building an online game infrastructure.

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[1] “The Video Gaming Industry Outlook 2011.” Business Insights. May 2011.

 

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