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Five Factors That Make Online Gaming Infrastructure Needs Unique

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Publishers often experience a large influx of players when launching their triple-A title or a game developed by a large studio. The inability to deliver a quality gaming experience due to insufficient infrastructure can cause a lack of adoption and damage to reputation. Conversely, daily active users (DAUs) can dramatically decline when the curiosity factor subsides and “tourists” leave. In the past, simply overbuilding infrastructure by as much as 25 percent or more was the typical strategy when preparing for the initial launch spike. However, competition has since intensified and game adoption rates have become harder to predict. Just using infrastructure overbuild as a strategy has therefore become prohibitively expensive for some firms.

Alternative Solutions:

  • On-demand services, like public cloud and bare-metal cloud services, can meet fluctuating demand because of their ability to be easily turned on or off with minimal ramp-up time.
  • Hybrid environments are ideal for scalability and cost-effective for games with persistent worlds where thousands of players interact at the same time.

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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